Review: Passenger by Alex Bracken

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Title: Passenger (#1)

Author: Alexandra Bracken

Release Date: January 5th, 2016

Publisher: Disney Hyperion

Source: Barnes and Noble

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy




Goodreads Synopsis: 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.

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.

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Review: I’d only read one previous book by Alexandra Bracken before “Passenger” and I only mildly enjoyed it so I wasn’t sure what to expect from this one. But I was immediately hooked by the prologue, and I knew right that I’d be swept away in story and the characters from then on out!

I loved the way our main character, Etta, was introduced in the first chapter; eager to ace her violin recital and chase her dream. I could feel the passion she felt for music her determination not to let anything stop her from achieving it. There was something compelling about this introduction that made the book impossible for me to put down, as I was interested to see how she’d change once she was suddenly thrust into a world of time traveling across the centuries. She finds herself questioning what she’s always wanted for herself, wondering if her dream will ever be possible now that she knows of the lies her mother had been keeping from her about her past.

The chapters alternate between points of view; Etta as well as Nickolas, who may know a bit about time travel himself, whom she first meets when she finds herself aboard a ship in the 17th century. With Nicholas being black, the topic of race came up a lot, and although Nicholas had grown to tolerate it, Etta struggled as she experienced first hand being a twenty first century girl thrust into a decade when racism and sexism was at its worst. She didn’t hesitate to stand up to those who expressed disdain towards Nicholas, despite how unexpected it was of anyone during that time period.

Despite the vast differences between their worlds and experiences-him being a black sailor in the 17th century, her being a white violinist who’d only ever known privilege-they fell for each other as they raced through different times and places, and I loved how the racism of the 1500’s didn’t come in between their growing relationship; the only times race came up were realistic for that era, and in no way took over the entire story or budding romance. It was about so much more than that-It was a story of love and family, a time travel adventure told by two amazing characters both trying to outrun their past and find a better future, hopefully with each other, even as they run for their lives, trying to workout the trail of clues leading them towards the ancient object they’ve been tasked with chasing down.

While it was a bit on the slower side in terms of action, I didn’t see that as a bad thing-it allowed me to grow more connected to the characters in between the mystery and suspense, all the way up to the cliffhanger ending that left me desperate for “Wayfarer” which is out in early 2017-way too far away!! I hope you guys enjoy this one as much as I do, it is definitely one of my favorites of 2016 so far.

Rating: 5 Saturns



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