Friday, 1 July 2016

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken Book Review

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.


Knowing about the hype this book had, I went into reading it with utterly high expectations. I had requested it specifically because I had heard how much everyone loved it and were recommending it. Unfortunately it did not have the same effect for me and I think having those expectations too high at the start may have been the reason I expected too much from it. Aside from the fact, it was a good book and I did want to keep reading. Maybe reading Desolation prior to this put me in a reading slump so maybe that's why I didn't seem to enjoy this book as much as I wanted to.

The main character, Etta Spencer, seemed like a typical girl who had a passion for a musical instrument, just like anyone else would. I loved how all she wanted to do was be the best she could be and how she found the beauty in playing - the way she could lose herself in the music and forget about the audience. As lovely as it is to see a character enjoy a normal hobby, this was definitely short-lived due to the unfortunate event of her being thrust into this new world without knowledge and then finding out later that it was her instrument that kick-started the action. I felt like she didn't have an amazing character development and the fact that she let herself be distracted by her love interest when she is meant to be trying to save the world (a constant trope that seems to be never-ending) was a bit of an annoying thing while reading. Yeah, the romance was cute and might have kept the storyline alive a little bit more, but that was what bothered me. I was hoping to see more action left with way more dramatic cliff-hangers and deaths (Sarah J Maas has seemingly set my bar way too high). Nicholas seemed like a real person, the way he spoke, acted and made decisions. He was more focused on the idea of getting what he wanted in terms of being free and that seemed to enhance the plot thankfully. I had really high hopes for Sophia but she just ruined her chances of being a likeable character - however she could possibly redeem herself in the next book.

I really loved the way the plot was laid out and the idea of time-travel through portals. There aren't many books like this and that's what I did like out of everything. I feel like time-travel is a difficult thing to write about without being too unrealistic or illogical and Alexandra did a on-point job of making it feel like it could be something that would make sense in the real world. However I had a hard time picturing what certain objects looked like, maybe because I was skipping through the book due to my inability to focus or maybe because it just wasn't really described that well. I have to say that I did enjoy it to a point which helped me continue reading and left me feeling like I wanted to see how the story continues in the next instalment. Having different families being against each other and wanting revenge sort of reminded me of the Game of Thrones series (bear in mind I have only seen the TV show but am planning on reading the books at some point). I haven't read Alexandra's other series, The Darkest Minds but I do want to try it out at some point.

My overall opinion of Passenger is that I did like it, but not enough to consider it one of my favourites. I'm hoping the sequel is better because that might be the turning point of the series and determine whether or not I might actually feel like fully recommending the series. Etta wasn't the type of heroine I was really rooting for and for me that's a big thing when it comes to enjoying a book. I feel like everyone is different and personally I am quite fussy with what I read. A LOT of people did love it and I think that you should just pick up the book and see if it suits your personal preference of literature. I gave this book a 2.5 out of 5 stars!

Things I loved about Passenger!:

* The chemistry between Etta and Nicholas was really cute! However the fact that there was a major instalove trope made me feel a bit off about the whole relationship.

* The book is all about time-travel with the pro's and con's that come with it. The way it was explained was really well done and I think it could potentially have an amazing sequel if written well, if not better!

* Etta has a hobby of playing the violin which weaves in with the main plot which I absolutely love! It has a purpose and isn't left to be something that is put to the side because of the character's quest and responsibilities.

Thank you HarperCollins New Zealand for the review copy! Go like their Facebook page here:

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