Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Review: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

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I received this book for free from Disney Book Group in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Passenger by Alexandra BrackenPassenger by Alexandra Bracken
Series: Passenger #1
Published by Disney Hyperion on January 5th, 2016
Genres: Historical, Time-Travel, YA
Source: Disney Book Group
Buy on Amazon

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

Passenger AKA the much awaited, highly anticipated time travel romance. I had hoped it would be everything I wanted, I had hoped I would swoon and die because cuteness, but unfortunately that didn’t happen. Passenger was by no means a bad book, I just had a hard time relating to the character and getting behind the romance (which is kind of a big deal given that it is a time-travel romance.)

Etta is really my biggest problem with the book. It isn’t that she is fundamentally flawed, I just couldn’t get behind her as a character. Her privilege, growing up the way she did and in the century she did, is so blatant and her ignorance of it really bothered me. Being with Nicholas did make her realize that she was a 100x better off but sometimes she’d say something that didn’t sound genuine. Like at one point, she mentioned that things weren’t that much better in her century because as we all know, the 21st century isn’t perfect but it didn’t seem like SHE felt that way but rather she was saying it because it’s the truth. She seemed to be parroting all the right things as she underwent character development but these revelations didn’t –to me– imply she had grown as a character.

The romance could be amazing. Time-travel romances are some of my favorites and have the ability to make me swoon but this one wasn’t everything I wanted. I didn’t hate it. I just had a problem with the fast progression. The first day (or the second) they meet, someone tells Nicholas that he and Etta are soul mates (simply by observing one conversation they had.) That, to me, was weird. Then they fall in love over the course of a week and that didn’t work either. I will say that given the situation, the development is actually pretty decent but I didn’t buy into their love. I would have liked if they had developed strong feelings for each other but hadn’t yet fallen in love since I believe that would have been more realistic, but alas.

So, those two issues out of the way, I loved the world building in this book. Bracken did such a fantastic job with it and I love the details she made sure to account for. I love the idea of passages and I love the way she explains ripples in timelines and how she builds a hierarchy within the world of time-travellers. The dynamics between these groups of people is so important and it is so interesting to see the way their interactions can affect an entire timeline. ALSO THE WARS. THE HISTORY. YAAS. It was also really cool travelling to different places in time and it was clear that Bracken had done her research. Side note: When ‘we’ were in 18th century New York, I really hoped Hamilton would show up and then everyone could hang out and be BFFs.

The plot-line of this book is also engaging, although I do think the book got to be a little longer than it needed to be. At almost 500 pages, it was almost a pain to read sometimes because so many scenes could have been cut, and I wanted the fun stuff to start already.

The book ended on a very exciting note and honestly, my problems with the book aside, I am ready for the sequel given the cliffhanger. So…the book has a cliffhanger and this is the kind of cliffhanger I know will bother some people. I was mostly okay with it because I am–at the moment–optimistic about the future but you never know what could change.

So read the book, for it’s pretty cover if nothing else. Or don’t if you don’t want to. Who am I to tell you what to do with your life? 


3 Hot Espressos

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Rashika has been tired since 2013. There are very few things that spark joy for her besides a nice cup of tea, warm, baked goods, good books and good TV shows. She is here to pile onto your giant TBRs and to-watch lists. Offer her a cookie and she might be nice to you.

9 Responses to “Review: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken”

  1. Annette

    I also thought this book dragged a bit. It needed a bit of a quicker pace. Also, I thought the world building could have been more…they jumped from spot to spot sometimes so quickly — I wanted to feel more of the atmosphere of the places they visited. The cliffhanger ticked me off (as they usually do) but I’m planning on reading the sequel. Great review.

  2. Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews

    Wow, the reviews for this one have really been all over the place. I’ve seen some glowing ones, some middling ones and some less-than-impressive ones. Regardless I’m still going to give it a chance – but I’ll make sure I’m in the right mood for it before going in, to give me better chances of success. I’m sorry that the MC and the romance just didn’t cut it for you Rashika – we were SO excited about this one! We’ll have to chat once I read it too and compare notes 🙂

  3. Jen @ The Bookavid

    See, this is why I love your blog. You’re never scared to be honest. This is the first negative-ish review I’ve read about Passenger. I’ve only read five star reviews so far and I’m having a hard time belkieving all those people. Your issues sound believable and I assume I’d probably feel the same way about this book. I love time travel, but insta-love makes me want to quit every book on the spot. :/

  4. Katie @ ShelfishlyAddicted

    I have admittedly been avoiding Passenger because it has been SO hyped by the blogosphere. I go all squinty-eyed when I see that a review has been posted, because until now, they’ve all been rave reviews. I’m happy to see a more balanced review, and it actually makes me want to read the book now!

    I know what you mean when you mention that Etta _says_ the right things, but isn’t convincing. Heck, I know people like that in real life! Hopefully her character develops more honestly in the second book.

    Thanks for the review, Rashika!

  5. SERIESous Book Reviews

    I really enjoyed this one myself but I understand why you felt the way you did. I definitely agree that it could have been shorter and the romance was a little two quick for me (which was by far the worst part because I really liked the two of them together). But I had so much fun reading this! I felt like it was always building and I’m really excited to see what is going to happen next.

  6. Jeann @ Happy Indulgence

    Thanks for your review Rashika! Most of the ones I’ve read have been 100% raving about it, so it’s good to hear your thoughts on the character. It kind of sound like as a privileged character, everything was kind of beneath her and even time travelling should have had a bigger impact on it – but it didn’t really? The world building of it and all the timelines sounds absolutely fantastic though. Lovely review Rashika! <3

  7. Ali

    I was so disappointed with this book. The pacing was so slow and I couldn’t get into it at all. I ended up setting it aside and might go back to it later. The world building wasn’t really there either and I think that’s the main reason I sat it aside. (Might have to DNF it though if I try again and can’t get into it.)