Saturday, February 13, 2016

[Review] Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
Series: Passenger #1
Version: Hardcover FC
Rating: 3 stars
Published: January 5th 2016

Did I like this book? Yes.
Did I love this book? No. Even as I write this review I'm still unsure as to if this book deserves a 3 or 3.5. 

Here is why. 

Passenger tells the story of a skilled violinist who discovers one day that she has the power to time travel, and with her powers to time travel, she must venture across various moments in time in order to save her mother from what I like to call, the Mafia of Time Travel. The Ironwoods really did remind me of the mob.
What Grandpa Ironwood is
Anyhow, accompanying her is a handsome 1700s sailor who originally just wanted the riches, but eventually falls for our willful heroine. Complications arise and romance blooms in this tale of detailed proportions.

I say detailed because if there is one thing this book is not lacking, it's lines upon lines of detail. It's no GRRM book, but for YA, it took me a long time to digest everything. I couldn't digest everything at once. This book needs to be appreciated slowly, and for me, I could only read 50 - 60 pages a day. Any more and I would have been overwhelmed with how much detail it contains. Is this a good thing? There were times, like a GRRM book, where I felt that some passages could have been shortened (this being the romance because it was too much for me), but the attention to detail supported the story nicely, for the most part. 

Onto the romance, because that's a major deal breaker for me. Although I will try to be more understanding about this, after a discussion about romance and time travel with my friend. He believes that the time travel gives a misconception for love, especially with teenagers. What may seem like days to us normal folk will be years and centuries for time travelers, allowing them to bond and potentially fall in love and make strange decisions we don't understand. So I'm trying to rationalize the romance aspect of it, but I will be critical at the same time. I don't think I'm really a fan of lines like:

Her hands hovered above the warm, smooth skin of his strong forearms, and for a moment she wondered what it would be like to touch him there, to ease some softness into the rigid lines... She couldn't think of his jawline, the scars and nicks in his skin, his lips as they parted, the way the fabric of his shirt would feel between her fingers...

"What is there to explain? You will go home. I will go home. And that will be the end of it. Think about this, Etta. You scarcely know me -"
"I know you," she interrupted. "I know you, Nicholas Carter. And it doesn't have to be that way."

Gurl. Nicholas is right. You only knew him for a week, or less? Do you know his favorite color or what music he listens to? Bach or Beethoven? 

Without the romance, it was an alright story. The time travel explanation and creation of a Mafia-esque business around it was another unique spin on the genre. And the metaphorical/literal ship that's jumping through time... nice symbolism!

The characters became more fleshed out over time. Since the middle consisted of the Nicholas/Etta icky romance, I much preferred them at the beginning and end, when Etta was defying social norms and Nicholas was being chivalrous. Although, Sophia is my favorite character for being so openly conniving and wicked about what she wants. If she wants power, she's gonna get it! 
Basically Sophia
What really redeemed this story for me was the ending. That certainly took a turn, and I wonder what turn it'll lead to in the sequel, Wayfarer. It opens up a lot more doors, and more interesting facts about time travel. So overall, the story, sans the romance, while wordy and may be too much for some readers, was an okay read. 


  1. I'm getting this book soon, and I'm really excited to read it. I'm glad you thought it was okay; great review!

  2. This pretty much has been the concenus of readers. Even though I've loved the cover for Passenger for some reason I've never been driven to read it and the constant middle of the road reviews haven't exactly motivated me. I'm sorry the romance didn't work for you and overall left you confusion what to rate it. I hate when that happens. Great review though!