A Book Review: Passenger, by Alexandra Bracken

Passenger, by Alexandra Bracken

3.5 Stars


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.


Publishing Company: Disney-Hyperion

Published on: 5th January 2016

Pages: 486 (Hardcover)

Series: Passenger #1

Find it on…

Amazon / Goodreads / B&N


In all honesty, Passenger was a “meh” for me.

Passenger is a story about time travel (one of my favouuurite themes). I actually really liked this aspect because I thought Alexandra Bracken presented the idea of time travel in a very nice way. For example, time travellers in this book keep a log about their travels so that they don’t run into themselves, which is an idea that definitely makes sense and was unique to Passenger. Thinking about it now, I have never read a time travel novel that actually addresses this problem.

Also, there are passageways that travellers have to take to go back/forth in time, which meant that time travellers don’t actually possess that much power. If these passageways didn’t exist, they would be stuck in their own time regardless if they could travel or not. This idea is also something I have never encountered before. Pretty interesting, right?

For the time travelling aspect, Bracken incorporated a variety of dates and places/societies which was intriguing. Through Passenger, I was able to learn about old/recent civilisations which I didn’t actually recognise (such as Damascus- I didn’t know this was an actual city in the past!).

All of that is why I was initially enjoying the book a lot. However……..

I didn’t the like the characters much. Etta was interesting enough, but I feel like her character could be developed more. At the moment, she isn’t exactly memorable for me. There is nothing unique about her personality that pops out since I’ve seen many different versions of her personality in other books: the “I-don’t-know-anything-about-this-new-world-I’ve-been-thrust-into-and-I-cbb-to-completely-understand-it-bc-I-only-want-to-save-a-relative-or-friend” person.

Her love interest really annoyed me because he elongated a period of needless romantic angst. I’m fine with his personality and his over-protectiveness, but good gracious! This dude made the romance- which is a pretty big aspect in this novel- so unbearable. As a result, I stopped reading this novel for a while.


He would not surrender to the disaster of loving her.
In time, the pain would pass.
But… he would regret the loss. The simplicity.

Oh my goodness. STaHp.

The plot was well paced but it was not spectacular. There weren’t many twists and turns, so there was no thrill but it was easy to follow. Etta and her partner’s journey to obtain an important object was so smooth that it became a little unbelievable. Despite that, the plot was better than the romance and her love interest.

Passenger was a cool novel, but I think it just wasn’t for me. If you liked it/want to read it, please don’t be put off/offended by my review! This review only includes my personal thoughts.




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