February 7, 2016

Review: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken




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Gabby-2013I’ve read almost all of Alexandra Bracken’s Darkest Minds novels (I still need to get around to reading In The Afterlight) and I’ll openly admit that I’ve been conflicted about them. But my feelings on The Darkest Minds trilogy are irrelevant to this review. I was a bit hesitant to read Passenger, but I decided to jump right in to a novel whose cover and premise were too perfect to pass up. I can admit in hindsight that Passenger definitely wasn’t what I expected, but was still a fun read nonetheless.

              Aspiring violin prodigy Etta Spencer has her entire world ripped away after a performance gone wrong. Stumbling across the fresh corpse of a close friend, Etta finds herself whisked away from modern-day North America to a foreign world by a stranger whose intentions just might verge on nefarious. Eager to figure out how she’s ended up somewhere in history, Etta is allied with the sailor Nicholas Carter who is determined to keep her, his passenger, safe. Together, both Etta and Nicholas find themselves caught within the claws of the powerful and wicked Ironwood family who are certain that Etta has something they want. Etta and Nicholas’s dangerous adventure through time leads them toward an inexplicable truth that neither of them are able to anticipate.

              I found Passenger to be a read that started off with a bang. Right from the very beginning, with an opening scene set at sea, filled with perilous fortune, I had a feeling that Passenger was going to be a novel that started off strong and maintained that vibe. The first quarter of the novel was nothing but action and discovery and the kind of quick-witted pacing that left me on the edge of my seat and eager for more. However, soon afterward, I found that the novel was beginning to lose its initial flame and that the pacing grew choppy in places. I attribute this to the romance between Nicholas and Etta. Don’t get me wrong, I found it adorable and heart-warming, but certain scenes felt misplaced and slowed down the exciting roll that the novel was on.

              Out of both Nicholas and Etta’s characters, I found myself falling in love with Nicholas and not as a love interest. His character was, to me, far more intriguing than Etta’s. Born a bastard and condemned by the Ironwood family, everything about Nicholas made my heart ache. He was a character that I grew invested in very quickly. I wanted to see him succeed. I cheered Nicholas on throughout the entire novel through thick and thin. He was, by far, my favorite character.

              That isn’t to say that the cast of the novel isn’t equally great. The cast of characters are all unique and definitely all have something to contribute. Passenger is the kind of novel where I believe readers can find a character they can relate to and take an interest in from the very beginning.

              The time-travelling aspect of the novel was executed very well. The way that Bracken introduces readers to her time-travelling families and the impending danger of the Ironwood family was fantastic. It created immediate tension and thrilled me to the core as a reader. It definitely helped to keep the story interesting and kept me turning pages.

              I would recommend Passenger to readers who want a novel that has some Outlander vibes to it in a YA setting. Any readers who want a novel that is a great mix of romance and historical fiction should also give Passenger a read. Fans of Bracken’s previous works will also eat Passenger right up.


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  1. LeKeisha

    Great review! I really enjoyed this one.

  2. Ari

    I bougt this book yesterday and am soooo excited to read it!! Great review xx

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