Sunday, 24 January 2016

A long wait for an incredible world-building and adventure | Passenger

Passenger (Passenger #1) by Alexandra Bracken

Published: January 5th 2016 by Disney Hyperion
Genre: Young Adult, Time Travel

Goodreads summary: 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


There was a lot of hype around this book and like many of us, I was anticipating this book like a crazy person, since I first heard of it when it didn't even have a synopsis, and hadn't read the Darkest Minds trilogy yet. I was scared I wasn't going to love it, because it wouldn't be as good as what I expected, but I was wrong, even though I had a few issues with the book.


So, let's start with what bothered me throughout this book… The pacing. This book had one of the most uneven pacing ever and it irritated me. At first, I thought the story would move forward very quickly, because we stayed in modern day New York for one chapter before Etta travelled for the first time and went to 1776. I thought that after that, we would have some big revelations and then her adventure would start. Alas, I was wrong.

In fact, we stayed in 1776 until page 200 I believe? At first, Etta was on the ship -where she met Nicholas- and if you know me, I love when books involve ships. It's like, my favourite thing ever. I wasn't disappointed, being on a ship was so amazing, really. But I felt like they stayed too long on there, and then in New York. I thought we would get more time traveling during those first two hundred pages, but nope. Also, because there is a ship on the cover, I wanted to get back into the ship after, but that wasn't possible. I NEEEEEEED SHIPS, OKAY?

I totally understand why this book took its time, don't get me wrong, guys. While Etta was on the ship, she still learned a lot about time travelling, but her knowledge was also completed by Cyrus Ironwood, the villain of this story. But actually, the fact that his name is Ironwood makes him a villain because "iron"? It sounds creepy, right? Anyway, Etta starts to learn a lot more about her family past and it was really interesting, and then, she's sent on a scavenger hunt to find an object. That aspect reminded me so much of the quest in Percy Jackson, because she even had a deadline, it was kind of funny. Well, not for her, but for me.

When Etta and Nicholas finally started their quest, the book moved so much faster and I couldn't help but turn pages and read as fast as I could, because I needed to know what was happening.


It was an AMAZING part of this book. First of all, Bracken managed to make the concept of time travel easy to follow and realistic. Sometimes, it feels so complicated and is really oriented toward science-fiction, but it wasn't the case at all! I didn't get a headache after the explanation, that's a good point!

Moreover, getting into different cities and time periods was AMAZING. I totally thought the author had done her research, because it actually felt like I was there and I was so excited to discover each location through the characters' eyes. However, I'm sad we only saw some locations only during one chapter -like Angkor- when we went to other locations for a hundred pages. It's an issue that relates to the pacing, I wished we had seen more of those places and less of others, like the long beginning in 1776.

I enjoyed the 'hierarchy' in this world. At first, the travellers were four different families but because of conflicts, Ironwood is the only one remaining and they basically rule the world. The fact it was organized behind a patriarch and that the travellers have to go back to his time reminded me SO MUCH of the Ruby Red trilogy, which I loved. Moreover, there is also a "rebellious" group, the Thorns, and I can't wait to learn more about them, because they were almost just mentioned in this book.


In The Darkest Minds, the story was told through Ruby's point of view and was written in first person. Here, the author choose to do something different, indeed we had the points of view of both Etta and Nicholas. I thought it worked so well, because being of two different time periods, they didn't have the same views, it was interesting. However, because she writes long chapters, sometimes I just wanted to continue being in the head of the same character and didn't want to wait thirty pages for that.

 I was really interested in having Nicholas' perspective, because he had to get through so many things, because he was a person of colour. I found it really important that Bracken talked about those issues, because in each time period he travelled to… He was judged because of his skin colour and well, it was the time were slavery was common *sigh*. Of course, as a person of the 21th century, it was infuriating and Etta was so mad about it (that scene on the ship was hilarious)! I really liked that Bracken took the time to talk about this issue, because it's not completely resolved today either… But I just want Nicholas to settle down in the 21th century so it'll be way better for him.

I enjoyed both main characters, but I wished we had more secondary characters. In TDM, the secondary characters made the story so much better, but here, it was missing. Some of the characters we saw on the ship were really interesting and I wished I could have gotten to know them more.


Some people might say it was a little instalove-y… And I won't deny it, tbh. But, the fact that we had both characters' perspective made it so much more buyable. From the beginning, those characters had some swoony-worthy moments and I couldn't help but ship them together. It was also a really interesting relationship, because Nicholas was from the 18th century while Etta was from the 21th and it doesn't work the same way. Like, Nicholas was so worried about Etta's reputation, that was fun! I had so many feels about this ship, so really, I don't even care if it had instalove. Those ones are definitely OTP!


The ending was so fast-paced and full of emotions, this book deserved to be a 4.5 stars just because of that. It's funny how an ending can totally change my view on a book. While I was reading the last chapters, I couldn't stop reading because EVERYTHING was happening. When I finished chapter 21 I was so upset! Luckily there was chapter 22 who offered a little bit more of a closure, it totally felt like the characters were trying to plot something but well… We'll see… It ended on a BIG cliff-hanger, but Bracken is a queen at doing that, so who is even surprised? Seriously, I need Wayfarer NOW.


This book took some time to start, but once it picked up, it was a gripping read until the very last pages, which ended on a cliff-hanger (I. NEED. MORE). The world-building was well-detailed, which made me feel like I was in those places with the characters. Speaking of which, our two main characters were really interesting and had a lot of chemistry, as well as a swoony-worthy romance, even though her relationship progressed a little bit too quickly. I wished we had seen more of the secondary characters, but I think it'll happen in the next one. Basically, this book is a must-read, even if I had some issues with it.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it?


  1. Ahh I'm so happy you enjoyed this! I've been at the start of the book for a while, but I'm glad to hear that it'll pick up later on! Motivates me to keep reading it haha xD

    1. I had been warned of that problem by other reviews, so I was prepared! It'll be worth it ;) After all, there is a reason it's on the NYT bestselling list, right? :)