Passenger: A Book Review

Society is always the same, regardless of the era. There are rules and standards, with seemingly no purpose. It’s a hateful, elaborate charade, equal parts flirtation and perceived naïveté. To men we have the minds of children.

Book: Passenger (Passenger #1)

Author: Alexandra Bracken

Passenger (Passenger, #1)Blurb:

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

My thoughts:

I love Alexandra Bracken’s books (The Darkest Minds, Brightly Woven) and so this automatically went on my TBR list. I had some trouble acquiring it, but I persevered because you know- Alexandra Bracken!

This book combines 2 of my favorite themes: Time travel and strong female characters. Etta is not traditionally strong- she’s a pale, thin muscled musician- but she has an inner strength that’s probably more fun to write about. She’s determined to protect the people that she cares for, she’s willing to constantly learn and she sticks to her guns.

What a privilege it was to never feel like you had to take stock of your surroundings, or gauge everyone’s reactions to the color of your skin.

After a while, it got somewhat annoying to listen to her judge people from the past with her modern set of ethics and principles, but you have to admire a girl who stands up for women’s rights and equality at all times (I mean that very literally).

How do you fight against a mountain? How do you move it when you don’t even have a shovel?
Maybe you don’t have to move it. Maybe you have to climb it.

Let’s talk about time travel. One of the worst things that can happen to a time-travel book is having it over-explained and super-analyzed until the average reader has no idea what is going on. It’s even worse when the world-building acts as a noose around the plots neck, strangling it slowly by way of flaws and plotholes which are immediately obvious to anyone with a basic understanding of physics.  This book does not fall prey to these major tropes. Ms. Bracken keeps it simple (and mysterious). I hope she keeps it that way for the rest of the series.

Never. Never again would he allow any other man to define him, set his course.

Moving on to Nicholas Carter. I’m sorry to use this phrase- but he is adorable! (see, I used an exclamation point). First and foremost, he is a sailor who aspires to captaincy. However, he’s born at a cruel time when slavery is still an acceptable practice and African-Americans are considered sub-human. These are very real obstacles that keep him from recognizing his talents. It also leads to a very flawed self-image and idea of sel-worth. Nicholas Carter is the guy you would feel for because he is sometimes heartbreakingly uncertain. However, he doesn’t let you feel pity for long because (be warned- I will use the exclamation point again), he is awesome!

Things that I want to complain about: This book has a very anti-adult feel to it. The adults all seem to be hiding secrets and ulterior motives. <spoiler alert> Yes, all of them. <spoiler over>. It;s a theme that was in the Darkest Minds, but there it made sense. Here, it really doesn’t.

You cannot fathom the distance I would travel for you.

I’d wholeheartedly recommend this book if you want something light about time travel or if you want a book with powerful characters. Alexandra Bracken is an amazing writer, and this book was not a disappointment.

Overall Rating: 3.5/5

Books you might want to read: Parallel, Darkest Minds

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