Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

20983362passage, 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

I read Alexandra Bracken’s Darkest Minds and enjoyed it well enough — but this has definitely become my favorite Bracken read. I’ll admit — the initial buzz around it had me nervous because I was worried that it raised my expectations, but in lived up to the buzz.

The POV alternates between Etta and Nicholas (third person). It gives us a well-rounded view of the emotions and what’s going on. It also got me completely attached to both characters.

Etta is from our era. She’s a violinist, and has no idea she’s a traveler until a series of events unfold to hurtle her back through time. Nicholas is an eighteenth-century sailor, who is also a traveler. Fate (and a common cause) brings them together.

The worldbuilding was great, and bits of it were fed instead of being completely dumped. I loved how the entire book was filled with different times and places. It also made me think about how the timeline would work, and what would happen if a wrinkle were to occur. Bracken did a great job at explaining how passages work and how time traveling works.

The characters were fantastic. Etta was sweet, tough and likeable—definitely a strong female lead who cares about the world and what the astrolabe means to it. Nicholas was a complete gentleman and so sweet, despite how people treat him based on the color of his skin. I felt for him immediately and hated the Ironwoods more and more as he shared his story.

The romance was also great. It wasn’t exactly instalove, but it did bloom quickly. If you’re not a fan of romance, this book probably isn’t for you. The romance was just as prevalent as the primary plot.

My only gripe with the book is Bracken’s writing. Her writing is beautiful, but I do feel that her writing is very fluffy—the book is 500-ish pages, but I feel that it could have been pared down to 350-ish. There were many long, flowery paragraphs that didn’t add much to the story but prose. Because of this, it felt very slow in parts of the story.

The ending was also terrible — only because it’s a major cliffhanger and you have no choice but to impatiently wait until the second book is released.

In all, I rated this book a 4/5 and highly recommend it!


Thank you NetGalley and Disney-Hyperion for the opportunity to read this in exchange for an honest review!


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