Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
Series: Passenger #1
Publisher: Quercus (7th Apr 2016)
New York City, present day
In one night, Etta Spencer is wrenched from everything she knows and loves. Thrown into an unfamiliar world, she can be certain of only one thing: she has travelled not just miles, but years from home.
The Atlantic, 1776
Captain Nicholas Carter is tasked with delivering Etta to the dangerous Ironwood family. They are searching for something – a stolen object they believe only she can reclaim. But Nicholas is drawn to his mysterious passenger, and the closer he gets to her, the further he is from freedom.
The Edges of the World
Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by a desperate thief. But as Etta plays deeper into the Ironwoods’ game, treacherous forces threaten to separate her not only from Nicholas, but from her path home – forever.
There, I’ve read a book by Alexandra Bracken and it was her latest book, Passenger which is the first book of her new duology. I’ve heard mixed reviews for Passenger so I had a feeling that I’d have to go into it with low expectations and I am so glad that I did because it made me enjoy it more than I expected!
“It’s our choices that matter in the end. Not wishes, not words, not promises.”
Passenger is basically a story about people who have the gift of travelling through time and it spans from the Atlantic Ocean in the 1770s to London in the 1940s. Henrietta “Etta” Spencer didn’t have a clue that a world existed outside of her life as a famed violinist in New York, but after a disastrous performance, not only does she finds herself thousands of miles away from home but a few centuries behind too.
“You cannot fathom the distance I would travel for you.”
I’m going to put it bluntly. Passenger was a slow burn and it took me quite a while to get into the story because Alexandra Bracken wrote the book with such enriching prose, creating a slow lull for the readers to fall into the story slowly and all at once. The first 200 pages were rather slow for my liking. Even though it’s the introduction to the world and Alexandra Bracken wanted to build the world in the book but there were some chapters that made the story really draggy.
What I liked about the book was the travelling component where the travellers are only allowed to travel to a certain period of time but not a specific date, instead they travel to a place at a specific year. The entire concept of travelling was well-executed and there were some limitations to it which made the story more complex. Another plus point about Passenger was that Alexandra Bracken took the opportunity to explore diverse cultures and weave each element of the different cultures featured in the book with one another. From the vibrant and bustling London to the lush beauty that is Damascus, Alexandra Bracken provides readers with an escapism that is both unforgettable and exciting.
I hate to admit this, but reading Passenger was hard work because of its length but that is probably the only issue I have with the book. It was a bit too lengthy and at some points, I really wanted to skim the pages until the story picked up. The ending of the book was a clever surprise and it definitely got me invested enough to read the sequel, Wayfarer which will be out next spring.
“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 for a moment to look.”
The whole switch and pull thing with the romance between Etta and Nicholas was mediocre at best for me. What I didn’t appreciate was the insta-love which was quite cliched. But what upset me most was the lack of kissing! UGH. There should be a minimum amount of kissing in a book, guys. I didn’t really like Nicholas until I reached the half mark of the book because he was such a bundle of traits that I found him confusing at times. On the other hand, I like that Nicholas was of a diverse culture and it was such so clever of Alexandra Bracken to write about a coloured character’s point of view and the struggles he had to endure for having a darker shade of skin.
“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.”
Other than these slight issues, I did enjoy Passenger because I am a sucker for books on time travel. The entire concept of time travel was well-written and Passenger is definitely a solid first instalment and I look forward to reading more about Etta and Nicholas’s adventures in Wayfarer. Despite the slow start, it was a tantalising, enrapturing read which stayed with me after I finished it.
I’d like to thank Pansing Singapore for sending me a copy for review.