Title: Passenger (Passenger #1)
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Publication Date: January 5th, 2016
Summary: 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.
Sigh… I’m sorry to be that person but seriously, this book was such a huge disappointment. If you’re like me and expected an epic adventure of time travel and treasure hunting and a well developed romance, don’t even bother with this one. Really, just don’t. To put it pretty bluntly, a single episode of Doctor Who has more time travel, more heart, more character development and a better story line.
I have to address the biggest issue I had with this book which was it’s romance that just completely overshadowed all other elements of the story. While I didn’t hate both characters, I grew to despise them for their constant musing over each other and sighing wistfully as they stared into the distance, wondering how they ended up with someone so perfect. This is a story where the heroes have only a few days to find this treasure and WAY too much time was spent on them cuddling in the dark or stopping to talk about their feelings. Not to mention it was one of the biggest cases of insta-love that I’ve had the misfortune of reading in a long time. It was unrealistic, overly mushy, rushed and to be honest, so frustrating at times.
Since a majority of the time was spent on the romance between Etta and Nicholas, that means that the adventure was at the bottom of the priority list and you could tell. It wasn’t even much of an adventure, it was more just the two of them walking through one passage, ending up in a new time for a chapter so they could make out in some secluded place, then they would move on to the next passage. Nothing really felt difficult, it was one of those books where it felt like all of the answers were handed to them. And all of the places they went to felt so one dimensional, like you were given a description of how it looked but never quite got the actual feel of the place.
And the fluff in this book, holy-…. Okay, I seriously think that this book could have been half as long as it was. A ridiculous amount of it was Etta or Nicholas constantly pondering or sitting in the dark thinking deep thoughts and overly describing everything. It got to the point where I would just skim read whole chunks of pages because nothing important was happening, just more endless feeling sorry for themselves and internal conflict over every little thing.
The one thing that saved this book was that Nicholas and Etta weren’t the worst. Etta was okay at best, she had so much potential as a genuinely strong heroine but that was ruined with the stupid romance and constant drooling over her companion. Nicholas obviously had the same issue but I liked him a little more as a conflicted character and because we got to see how horribly people treated him because he’s African American. The lack of diverse characters in YA is something we all know about and it was really refreshing to read about someone who struggles with inequality through all of these different time periods they travel to. It was sad and upsetting to read about but also added a layer of depth to his character, to see how much he struggled with letting his race and the limitations of it throughout time periods define and control him.
I know I’m probably in the minority here but for the life of me, I can’t understand why so many people are going crazy over this book. It was a big confusing mess at the beginning, so slow and unnecessarily long, and the romance wasn’t well written and took away from all the things that could have actually made this book good. It ended up being nothing like I had hoped, with generic bad guys, forced insta-love and one dimensional settings. Take my advice and skip this one.