Review:: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves in Passenger. 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. (via Goodreads)


Passenger by Alexandra Bracken is a brand new book, published on January 5, 2016 by Disney-Hyperion. Alexandra Bracken is fairly well known for her The Darkest Minds series, which I have never read. Passenger is the first book in a duology. The second half, Wayfarer, is due to be published in 2017.

I read this book as a part of the #readwomen group on Goodreads. It was the book that was voted on for this month, so if you want to see more reviews, please go check the group out!

I bought a Nook copy of this book, and looking at the cover, I wish I’d bought the hardback, because it’s stunning. Seriously, Disney-Hyperion’s team did an amazing job on making this beautiful. The typography is great, the image is awesome, and I love the way that the title goes slightly off the edge of the cover. It’s a really great piece of design work.

I had no idea what this book was about when I started reading it. This book revolves around two characters and their family drama, which happens to be their time traveling powers. That’s right, time travel. Much like our heroine, Etta, it took me a while to really understand what was going on and get into the right mindset to enjoy this, but once I did, I loved it. The rules that all of the time travelers had to follow made so much sense. The tunnels only traveling to specific years was a nifty way to make everybody’s lives harder and make the tunnels sort of realistic.

Etta really took to time travel in a way that I didn’t expect, especially given how much action they ended up in, but I got as caught up in the mystery as she did. This action-packed novel sucked me in just like the tunnels did, taking me from my room to the Atlantic Ocean in 1776 to Cambodia and back.

“This was the danger, the seduction of time travel, she realized – it was the opportunity, the freedom of a thousand possibilities of where to live and how to start over. It was the beauty open to you in your life if you only stopped a moment to look.”

I loved Nicholas and Etta, and I enjoyed the relationship that grew between them throughout the novel. It was a little bit of insta-love, but it took long enough to really grow that it worked for me. I also liked Sophie as a character, because I can’t not love someone that power-hungry and self-serving, especially when that’s exactly who they needed to be to get what they need in life.

The writing in this novel was great, and I loved that Bracken noted the huge differences in Nicholas and Etta’s perspectives, since they are very different characters. Nicholas is a black sailor from revolutionary America, and Etta is a white violin prodigy from 21st century New York. As their relationship grows, both characters make note of the fact that in Nicholas’s “natural time,” they would not be able to be together, but outside of it, they would be hard-pressed to be able to sail the way he loves to.  It’s a dilemma that will definitely come back in Wayfarer. 

I find myself looking forward to meeting Etta’s father and figuring out what the Thorn’s really want from the world, other than the destruction of the Ironwoods. I also can’t wait to see what happened to Etta, and where the story leads from here.

I’m rating this one 5 stars, because it kept me enthralled the whole way through, and I have no real complaints. I can’t wait to read Wayfarer! 

Five stars

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