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, his passenger, can find. In order to protect her, Nick 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.
Etta was such a great MC, she’s sassy, fierce and passionate but what I loved most about her by far was her quick-fire nature, don’t get me wrong Etta is clearly a well educated girl but she’s not afraid to speak whatever comes to her mind – there was literally a scene were I screamed fuck yeah! – and she usually says what I internally scream at the book.
Bracken’s writing has completely changed since her earlier series and it’s for the better. I would have loved some more dialogue; Bracken’s writing makes quick and vivid details of all the time travelling places Etta visits but her ability to expertly write witty exchanges between characters is flawless and I just wanted more and more of it.
Passenger is a great start to what’s sure to be an enchanting series, I would definitely recommend it but I would say that you may want to take your time with it – the first hundred pages or so are slow, it may take a while to fully get to grips with the story but you will get there trust me. You can immediately tell that a lot of time and research had gone in to making this book and shows it in bucket loads, lovers of history will enjoy the details shown in the different era’s when Etta time travels. I only wished for more action or more progression with the plot but as this is a duo-logy I'm sure to get that in Wayfarer!
I'm a big fan of Bracken's THE DARKEST MINDS series; even though she's said PASSENGER is a very different book, it was still one of my most anticipated 2016 releases. PASSENGER is a completely different story, but I loved it just as much.
The story takes off right away and doesn't slow its pace throughout the novel. The heroine, Etta Spencer, finds herself reeling from a tragedy and completely unmoored when she falls into the past. I loved how she handled such a crazy situation; even though she's confused and upset, she keeps a level head and charges full-steam ahead to do what she has must to get back to her own time. Etta is a heroine full of agency.
Her counterpart, Nick, is the same way. Controlled and demeaned for years by the powerful and terrifying Ironwood family, Nick hasn't let them destroy his humanity. When he realizes the trouble Etta is in, he does everything in his power to help her. I loved their growing romance, which despite the short timeline, felt natural.
The magic system, called traveling, is very well done. There are rules that must be followed when it comes to time travel. The best world-building both has rules and sticks to them, and that's definitely the case in this story.
What Left Me Wanting More:
The story ends with a mystery as to what will happen next, so of course, I can't wait to get my hands on the next installment. I also enjoyed all of the different locations and time periods so much that I hope there's more travel in the next book as well!
The Final Verdict:
Filled with heart-stopping adventures through time and a swoony romance, PASSENGER is sure to be a hit with readers everywhere.
What Left Me Wanting More
Where do I start? This book was so much work to read. I had to literally push myself to pick it up. The story was that incredibly slow.
The first half had very little action in it. It was filled with information dumps. The second part picked up a bit but was still super slow.
Also, except for maybe Nicholas, I really didn’t connect with the characters at all. Etta was not a typical teenager and she came across as being somewhat arrogant. I also didn’t get Sophia. She was mean one minute and thoughtful the next.
Next, the time traveling. The method and rules of the time traveling were super complicated and very hard for me to follow. In fact there was more explanation of time traveling ‘rules’ and back story than real-time traveling.
Another one of the things that really got to me in this book was the repetition in the dialog . For example Alice, Etta’s music teacher, was mentioned on almost every page. (I read this book on my Kindle and when I queried the character of Alice, she was mentioned over two hundred times.)
Some things just didn’t make any sense to me. For example, Etta is in a foreign time and in a foreign place with no basic necessities. She also fears for her life and her mother’s life. Despite all these issues she spends a great deal of time thinking about how much she loves Nicholas.
Finally, the length of this book was way too long. It is over 500 pages. It could have easily been edited down 150 pages or so and not affected the story. It reminded me of ‘The Goldfinch’, in that there was so much of the story line that stretched out way longer then it needed to be.
My Final Verdict
‘Passenger’ was just not what I wanted it to be. The story is just incredibly slow. The main plot and characters were interesting but that just wasn’t enough. I do want to find out what happens next but most likely will not read the next book in the series.
What I Loved.
I will start by saying I love time travel books. I pink puffy heart love them. Ever since I saw ‘Somewhere in Time’ as a kid I have been obsessed with time travel.
I found the locations very interesting (a ship during the American Revolution, Paris in the ninth century, war-time London, Cambodia, the middle east in the fifteenth century). I also did like Nicholas as a character.
This was one of my most anticipated novels for 2016 so when I received an ARC, I was extremely excited and couldn’t stop myself from starting it as soon as I could. I loved Alexandra Bracken’s series The Darkest Minds and time travel books so this seemed like it could be a perfect book for me. And it was. I extremely enjoyed my time reading it.
Etta was a fantastic character. There was a quiet strength and fierce determination in her without it turning into her being an instant expert at everything she tried. All she wanted to do was survive and find a way to save the people she loved. She was learning about time travel along with the reader so when she would do something rash or say something out of place, I could forgive her because she was as green as anyone else who’d never believed in time travel. She has a very fiery personality that resulted in some great comebacks and one-liners, and a huge heart that just wanted to save everyone she could.
Nicholas was just as great as Etta. The bastard child of the Ironwood family who was always looked down on and just wanted to live his own life, but he got dragged back into the life he didn’t want no matter how much he protested. He had big dreams but those dreams also made it easy to manipulate him. He was extremely loyal to those who had earned it and had a necessary chip on his shoulders but was really sweet once he let his walls down.
There were so many interesting dynamics between the characters, not just the two main ones. I did love the relationship that developed between Etta and Nicholas. It was slow and complicated and, for the most part, growing in the background while the time travel plot was on the forefront. My favourite relationships, other than the one between Etta and Nicholas, were the ones between Etta and her violin teacher and Nicholas and his half-brother Julian. They were less present than a lot of the other relationships but they had a big impact on me.
The pacing of the book was slow but without feeling like it was dragging. I was never bored. Instead I was completely absorbed into the story, reading every line, and letting the writing paint very vivid pictures of the scenes happening around the main characters. I appreciated the detail because it added so much to the historical aspect of the book. The time travel aspect combined with the Godfather-like Ironwood family and the historical settings made for such an interesting read that I couldn’t put it down until I was finished. And then I wanted more immediately.