book review · passsener

Book Review: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Title: Passenger
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Publication Date: January 5th 2016
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Series: Book #1 of the Passenger duology

Rating:  3 stars

I received this arc unsolicited from Disney Hyperion.

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 who’s 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 with an 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 they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are playing, treacherous forces threatens to separate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home…forever.
I want to start off this review with a lengthy sigh because after two weeks I’ve f i n a l l y finished this book. The main reason it took me so long to read this novel is because this book is dense. Usually I can bang out a 464 page book in a few days no problem, but this book just took me forever. I believe it to be because the beginning was very slow going, they don’t even going on an adventure until about page 200, which made me consider putting this book down a few times.

I am a huge fan of Bracken’s Darkest Minds trilogy but sadly I just couldn’t really get into this book.

This novel essentially follows Etta Spencer, a unsuspecting violin prodigy, who inherits the ability to time travel from her mother.

My opinion of Etta as a character fluctuated for me. At times I really seemed to like her and others not so much. As the main character we didn’t really get to see in depth her character dynamic which was really disappointing. Etta felt very one-dimensional for me.

Nicholas was the total opposite. I adored his character throughout the novel. Also applauding the fact that he is a protagonist who is a person of color. It’s really disheartening to see that a majority of poc characters are just cast to side and used as standbys without having any real depth. Nicholas was really interesting to read about and is essentially what kept me reading.

For a story that is about time travel, you’d think this would be a face paced plot, but my initial thoughts couldn’t be more wrong. The whole first half on the novel with the recital and then the ship ride took entirely too much of the novel. By 150 pages we still were on the ship and haven’t even progressed to time traveling, which was being to gnaw on my patience.


Was this book bad? No, not at all. I still enjoyed Bracken’s writing as a whole, and plot is essentially something of my taste. To put it plainly, this book was just boring at times. With the drawn out scenes and recount of American history I just wasn’t interested in. Even when we get to part where the time travelling starts up again I just couldn’t find myself caring for the item they were searching for. It seemed very anti-climactic to me.
A major enjoyment of this novel would have to be actually traveling to different countries during various eras. I appreciated Bracken’s descriptions of the unique setting and Etta and Nicholas’ interaction with those around them. I only wish these scenes were longer and didn’t feel as if they were rushing from each passage to the next so quickly.
Another reason why this book lost another star for me was because the beginning may have been slow, but the end felt really rushed. They are essentially looking for an object that has been lost for years, only a trail of clues left by the traveler who hid the item, clues in fact that have stumped searches for years past, but for some reason Etta is able to breeze through their meaning abnormally fast. It felt really unrealistic to me, and if possible then why hasn’t anyone been able to find it all this time?
The ending of this essential treasure hunt was really anti-climatic. I’m not saying that that scene had to be some grandiose display of a thousand singing angels, but for a powerful long-lost object. it was procured from its spot with way too much ease, which was lacking on the writer’s part.
I did for the most part enjoy Nicholas’ and Etta’s relationship. Of them looking out for each other, and periodically solved the clues together. I do have to say that the romance in this novel did get slightly insta-lovey, but not overall unbearable.
This book as a whole was at times confusing. Especially near the end I was very lost as to what was happening, which is something that rarely happens to me when I read. There were some minor plot holes, and some aspects of traveling weren’t generally conveyed/explained as whole, which really brought down my rating.
This brings me back to my initial question: Was this book bad? Not at all. I can see why people are giving this a higher rating than my three stars, but I can also see why some are rating this lower. The story line is quite interesting, I mean time travelling is an awesome ability, like who wouldn’t want to read about that. But the overall execution is why this book was just okay for me. I still definitely recommend you check out her Darkest Minds trilogy, because it’s one of my favorites. Will I be reading, Wayfarer, the sequel in this duology? Yes. I definitely am still going to check it out, because I’m intrigued to see how see how this story progresses from where it left off, but I will not hold very high expectations for it as I did with this book.
*inserts random repertoire of ocean gifs*

May all your reading adventures be a delight.
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One thought on “Book Review: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

  1. I totally agree with your review! I think the pacing was pretty awkward and uneven, but throughout the novel, I kept reading because I LOVE NICHOLAS! I'm actually anticipating the next novel, because I still want to know what happens, even if the end of Passenger was rushed and confusing. Your pictures are absolutely LOVELY. The Passenger notebook looks so cute!

    Like

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