Passenger // Alexandra Bracken
rating : ★★★★☆
genre : historical fiction/fantasy
pages : 486
publisher : hyperion
❝ passage, n.
i. A brief section of music composed of a series of notes and flourishes.
ii. A journey by water; a voyage.
iii. The transition from one place to another, across space and time. ❞
– Passenger, Alexandra Bracken
In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.
Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them— whether she wants to or not.
Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are playing, treacherous forces threaten to separate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home . . . forever.
Passenger is one of the hyped-up reads of January, as it released on fifth. Alexandra Bracken is also well-known for writing The Darkest Minds trilogy, a dystopian tale and altogether quite different from her latest novel. I saw way too many pictures of this beautiful book on Instagram (seriously, man, there was one every other picture) and was taken by the beauty of it and the raves on Goodreads. When I found it at Costco (aka my favorite non-bookstore store), I couldn’t resist buying it! Indeed, the cover and the inside cover is all so fudging aesthetically-pleasing, but my expectations for Passenger were set a little too high above the bar. There is no doubt that Bracken did a brilliant job cultivating a world and plot along with the characters to go along with it, yet this book didn’t “blow my mind” away. In fact, if it wasn’t for certain factors, I might’ve just gave a rating no higher than a three out of five stars. However, there are many things I loved about Passenger, so let us wait no longer and dive into it!
The plot was good. Amazingly good for a book dealing with the concept of time travel. Usually, most time-travelling books can end up being confusing; the author either elaborates too much or too little. Bracken did a good job gradually building the reader’s knowledge of time travel. What I really liked was that we were learning it along side Etta, the main character. It didn’t leave us readers in a whirlwind of confusion, which I appreciated. As she switches back and forth from Etta and Nicholas’ perspectives, the story is stitched perfectly together in a pattern of ups and downs, developing all the way to the climax.
I loved all the characters (except for that Sophie girl… she’s just an annoying brat). Etta was very relatable to me. She explains how she is constantly comparing herself to other violinists. Even though it’s not a competition, it definitely is for Etta since she wants to be the best. She’s a perfect blend of sassy, kindness, and bravery. Nicholas reminds me of Kaz Brekker from Six of Crows, except maybe not as cunning and cruel. While Etta is from the 21st century, Nicholas is a “freed” black from the 1770s, just as America is on the edge of revolution. His character was interesting to read from. I don’t particularly love him, but seeing him together with Etta makes my heart happy.
Something I felt iffy about was the romance between Nicholas and Etta. Yeah, their lovey-dovey moments are cute and all, but it was way to rushed for me. Yes, I ship #netta. Yet what kind of relationship is formed within the matter of a week? It wasn’t realistic. I mean, guys, they had their first kiss before the midpoint of the book. It was obvious that Bracken wanted to write cutesy scenes with her characters as soon as possible. I would rather wait another book, build up my anticipation, and have a realistic relationship.
Bracken wrote from third-person. This, at times, worked, but sometimes slowed the book down. Her writing style was alright. I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it either. Again, for some scenes, Bracken’s writing suited it perfectly, whereas at others it became dull. Maybe it’s just me, and you may love the way Passenger is written! Don’t fully base your opinion on mine.
That’s all of my thoughts for Passenger! Did you guys like it? Do you think #netta’s relationship was a little to rushed, too? Tell me down below in the comments. 🙂
Signing off after the beep,