Book review – Passenger by Alexandra Bracken


‘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’ (Goodreads) (496 pages, January 5th, 2016, Disney-Hyperion)

I started this book just a few days before I got the flu and I was just sick for days and I kept reading because I liked it, but now I can’t seem to remember quite what happened or why I liked it so much. I can, however, tell you what I liked about the second half of the book, because then I was better and finally got the flu off my back.

The first part of this book we find Etta figuring out what happens to her and why she’s suddenly on a ship in the middle of the sea. She has no idea that she could travel through time, she has no idea what her family history is. She doesn’t know anything and is just thrust into everything without any explanation. She gets some information from the girl who took her, but it’s Nicholas who gives the rest of the explanation. Etta and Nicholas have this connection, which is (luckily) not instantaneous, but it does grow rather quickly. I’m not saying anything more because I don’t want to spoil anything, but I liked how Alexandra Bracken let them grow toward each other and then apart again. It just felt really natural and it was refreshing to me to read a story like this one who also looked at the differences in their upbringings.

What bothered me a little bit, was that it took almost the first half of the book before Etta set off on her own and before we got to travel with them through time. I understand that she first had to get information on the Ironwoods and to get a reason to actually go travel after that stolen object, but it was a bit slow for me. From the moment we get in a different time and in a different place, this book picked up its pace and I flew through the second half like it was nothing. I loved every minute of it. I loved their chemistry. I loved their friendship, their partnership as they call it.

But what I liked most of all, was the amount of research that had to get into this book. It was all so detailed and perfectly described. You can’t actually know how it was in those different times, but they all felt different to me. They all felt distinctive to me and recognisable. It was just such a joy to find out with the characters in which era and in which place we found ourselves with each portal.

The entire story just took me by surprise and I didn’t see half of what happened coming, and I can’t wait to see what Alexandra Bracken has in store for us next. (and I mean that ending! I need the second book right now!)

out of 5 stars




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