Passenger by Alexandra Bracken



Author: Alexandra Bracken

Published on: 5 January 2016

Genre: Young Adult, Sci-fi, Historical Fiction, Fantasy

Pages: 486

Format: Hardcover

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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.

Passenger is different from other science fiction novels I had read in that time traveling is one-dimensional – going back to the past or into the future. Whereas other science fiction novels I had read involve time traveling across alternate dimensions. As such, the world building in such novels is more intricate and sophisticated. However, I wouldn’t say that the world building in Passenger sucks since I did have a blast reading about the different time periods and their characteristics.

The only character that I actually like is Etta’s mother. But, only for how witty and smart she actually is (since I didn’t expect her to be so smart initially) and hate her for being heartless. The mystery about the hidden object was the aspect that kept me reading the novel. I love Etta’s mother riddles. They are so well-crafted and indirect that they piqued my curiosity in wanting to know the answers to those riddles. However, there are instances when the answers to the riddles are revealed, and my only thought was ‘That’s it?’. Naturally, to me, when I come across such a well-crafted riddle, I will expect the answer to the riddle to be mindblowing or something I would have never expected it to be. So, I was rather disappointed when I got the common answers to some of the riddles.

Another aspect which I found pretty interesting is that the male lead is an African American. However, it is disheartening to read about the prejudice people in the past have to go through just because they are of a different skin tone.

On the whole, other than the riddles and mystery of the hidden object which urged me to read the book, the rest of it felt rather flat to me. There aren’t spectacular world building, Etta and Nicholas’s characters didn’t pique my interest and the plot on the whole just felt ‘meh’ to me. The romance between Etta and Nicholas is totally love at first sight. What I couldn’t stand was how in one instance, there is this sudden attraction when both of them yearned for each other. And, in other instances, they are doubtful and tried to avoid contact with one another. I don’t really enjoy reading novels with such occurrence because I tend to get frustrated reading it.

I was intrigued for the first half of the book before I felt the plot started going downhill for the second half. Passenger is a rather slow-paced book and it does get boring in some parts.

Written by: Joanne


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