Book Review of Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

passengerTitle:  Passenger

Author: Alexandra Bracken

Genre:  Young Adult Fantasy/Historical Fiction

Release Date:  January 5th, 2016

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.

-Summary from

My Review:  I have been in a book slump for a while, not really finding anything I liked, until now. I will say that the first 50 pages did drag a little, which I later realized were setup for everything that was going to happen later, but I did have to really push to get through the first few chapters to get to the meat of the story. Once I got there though, I could not put this book down. I was reading and listening to it on audiobook on the way to work because I had to know what was going to happen next.

Passenger explores the idea of time travel, no not a Doc Brown kind of way, in a way that actually sounds pretty plausible. There are wrinkles in the timeline scattered throughout the world that “travelers” can use to be transported to a different time. That is just a basic quick summary, Bracken does an excellent job of spelling it out much more clearly in the book so it makes complete sense. I found the whole concept very intriguing and better than many of the time travel books that I have read in the past.

As for the characters, we switch POV between Etta and Nicholas as the story progresses which I loved. I always enjoy getting into multiple characters heads because I think it tells a more well-rounded story. Poor Etta, has no idea what is going on half the time and is playing catch up with this new world, but she takes it in stride and was a strong character. Nicholas, was an interesting puzzle to put together, his life has not been easy, but he has come out of it resilient and with a good moral compass. I loved both of them, especially the slow burn of the romance that blossomed between them that was not rushed and was extremely sweet.

The action and suspenseful elements were also fantastic and I was flipping pages and reading frantically to find out what was going to happen next. Passenger is one of those books that while it is categorized as YA, it would appeal to older audiences as well I think. It has a little bit of everything, is very well written and will keep you reading well into the night to finish it.

The ending is not really a cliffhanger, but it does leave a lot of questions that you are going to want answers too. I am eagerly awaiting the sequel which I think comes out in January. I will also be looking into Bracken’s other books as well since I love her writing style. Overall, fantastic book that I loved so much, I know it will be one I will be re-reading in the future just so I can go back and visit this world again and again.

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