Review: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Published: January 5th 2016 by Disney-Hyperion

Series: Passenger #1

Pages: 486

Genre: YA, Sci-fi, Time Travel, Historical, Romance

How I Obtained this Book: I read a hardcover copy of this book that I got from my local library. I have not been asked to review this book and all thoughts are my own.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

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 -Goodreads

I found out about this book because of the hype surrounding it through booktube and bookstagram. I love time travel stories, and with a bit of romance thrown in, this one sounded very intriguing. However, I ended up finding the book to be a chore to read through even from the very beginning.

The prologue and first chapter were very confusing to me because of the way the characters were introduced. They were first spoken of as if we should already know who they are. I ended up reading several paragraphs and sentences a few times thinking I may have missed something, but I had not. I considered putting the book down after I had finished the prologue but I wanted to give it more of a chance than that.

The first half of the book was a lot of information being given all at once, and while I found the information to be interesting, the way it was presented was not. It consisted of the characters sitting together and giving out paragraphs of information.

It wasn't until about the 50% mark that I started to find the story becoming more interesting because at this point things started to actually happen. However, it was still a chore for me to push through the story. It wasn't until the last chapter that I found the story to be really interesting. Although, some of the explanations given did not make sense to me. All through out the book it was made apparent that Etta and Etta alone was meant to do something, but why? Why her? Why not her mother for example? I'm still not entirely sure.

Love was selfish, wasn't it? It made honest men want things they had no right to. It cocooned one from the rest of the world, erased time itself, knocked away reason. It made you live in defiance of the inevitable. It made you want another's mind, body; it made you feel as if you deserved to own their heart, and carve out a place in it.

As several other reviewers have pointed out, there is large case of insta love in this book. But I actually found the relationship between Etta and Nicholas to be my favorite part of the book (And I mean their relationship as it developed in the second half of the book). I allow myself to have a bit of understanding when it comes to insta love in fiction. After all fiction is not real life and there usually is only so much time in a story for characters to fall in love. This doesn't mean that I always like insta love stories. Sometimes I find myself rolling my eyes over how fast characters fall so in love that they're willing to sacrifice everything to be with someone they've only just laid eyes on.

While she would't take orders from the other girl, Etta couldn't bring herself to ignore Nicholas's wishes.
For example, the above quote is Etta deciding to put all of her trust in Nicholas when she nor he has barely said two words to one another and they've only just briefly met. It's true he did something noble for her, however, she does not know his true intentions on doing it in the first place.

I have to agree with some of the reviews I've read, in that, Etta's character is a bit wishy washy. She is a person who has spent the majority of her life doing nothing else but practicing her violin.

She could admit it; this violinist ... Etta looked down at the program she had picked up. Evan Parker. Right. She'd heard him play at a few competitions. She could admit that he was decent enough. Maybe even a little good.
But, Etta thought, satisfaction slinking through her, not as good as me.
Her whole entire life is playing the violin and focusing on being the best she can be. She even dumps her boyfriend so that she can focus more on violin playing. Yet when she is thrust into this new world of survival, she is convinced that she can do no wrong. That she doesn't need anyone to protect her because she can take care of herself. She can brave dangerous situations because she's skillful enough to do so. It's great for her to be confident in herself and to have the desire not to rely on a man to do all the work for her, but I find it hard to believe that a city girl who's done nothing but play violin would have the skill sets to brave all of the dangerous situations she gets pushed into.

I found the writing style to be a little hard to read through and some of the words I'm guessing were just there to add words, not sure. But when a piece of jewelry is described in detail at the beginning of the story, mentioned a few times throughout the story, and then turns out to be nothing but a piece of jewelry, I get a bit disappointed. What was the point of mentioning it at all? All the time I was reading I thought it may have something important to do with the plot but alas no.

Even though the book was hard for me to get through, I did still enjoy parts of it. The romance may have been insta love but I personally liked it. I also loved the trek through time and all of the history that came with it. The author definitely did her research and it showed through her writing. It is easy to see that she is a skilled writer. I haven't read any of her other books but I hope to try them out in the future. I'm also looking forward to the hope that the sequel to this book will be a great read!

I gave Passenger three stars on Goodreads but I'd say it's closer to a two and half star rating.

Have you read Passenger? What did you think? I'd love to hear other prospectives on this!


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