Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
Release Date: January 2016
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Plot: 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.
So, until recently, Alexandra Bracken was one of my favourite authors. It’s a sad sentence, and I hate to demote authors from ‘faves’ to ‘really like’, but after reading In The Afterlight and now Passenger, I feel like I can’t call Bracken a fave when I’ve started to give her books four stars instead of five.
I love stories about time travel, particularly stories that visit multiple eras, rather than just going back to one time, like Outlander. So when I saw Passenger just sat on the shelf at work, I thought I just had to. I loved The Darkest Minds and Never Fade. And, while I didn’t enjoy the third book so much, I can still safely say that the series is one I will cherish forever.
But Passenger falls under that awful umbrella term of average.
Etta and Nicholas are very interesting characters with stark different upbringings and personality, and are thrust together on an adventure that spans time. But while exploring that further, instead of understanding how these individuals can actually time travel, we’re given, yep, you guessed, it a romance plot line.
I don’t know whether that’s a spoiler or not, since there’s no romance tag for it on Goodreads (oh no wait, yes there is), but honestly, what did you expect? I was not at all surprised, but I was disappointed. We have this fantastic aspect of time travel, of portals and pieces of technology that can bend and create tears in time, but instead we go on a wild goose chase which in the end, is pointless, and watch two people who don’t know each other and are from different times and cultures automatically fall in love.
But I gave it four stars, because I still loved the idea. I still loved the delicacy of time travel and changing the course of history by one single act, and that was clearly shown. And I mean, while the story was bogged down by insta-love, I can’t say I didn’t ‘Aww’ a few times.
I’m hoping for much more action and peril in Wayfarer, which is set to be released in January 2017, and hopefully more well-rounded side characters too.