Book Review | Passenger by Alexandra Bracken


Passenger | Amazon

  • Series: Passenger
  • Publisher: Quercus Children’s Books
  • Publication Date: 07 April, 2016
  • Genre: Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Teens & YA

NetGalley Description

Fans of Outlander and Red Queen will be swept away by this epic New York Times bestselling story of love, adventure and deceit.

In one devastating night, 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 travelled not just miles but years from home.

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 he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, his passenger, can find.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveller who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to their target, treacherous forces threaten to separate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home forever.

First of all I would like to state that I have recieved a free review copy of Passenger by Alexandra Bracken from NetGalley in exchange of an honest review.

Passenger is one of those books where the synopsis holds a lot of promises and the story delivers. For me books like these are hard to come by. Yes books has a lot of potential and a great premise for the storyline, however it is rare that they deliver or exceed the reader’s expectations.

I have been seeing Passenger all over bookstagram since the beginning of this year and I have been intrigued as to what the story was about if it was highly regarded by bibliophiles such as myself! It was fortunate that I received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange of an honest review.

One of my favourite aspects of the book is the fact that it delves into issues of familial issues, race and identity in different timelines.

The book started quite slow for me, it is not to say that it was boring – just that I couldn’t get myself around to connect with the characters immediately, but I could appreciate what was happening in the first few chapters of the book and understand why it took me a while to get into the plot of the story.

However, once I hit where everything seems to move at a faster rate I couldn’t put the book down and was captivated by every single word that was written in the paper. This world that Bracken has constructed that delves into history and time travel presents an intriguing prose that takes you on a wonderful adventure across different timelines. It is clear that Bracken has taken the time to study the different time periods that she has thrown her characters in and has taken her time to create a detailed explanation as to how the time travelling works. And that is something that any reader cold appreciate – that is because there is nothing more frustrating than not completely understanding a concept that is clearly vital to the plot of the book you are reading.

Our main protagonist, Etta, is a strong female character. Strong willed, compassionate and stubborn – she is the depiction of a 21st century woman who will not let society bend her will in order conform to their rules, no, instead she fights the norms and does her own thing no matter what era she is in – which I believe is an important message to women, especially young girls now, to not let society bring them down and to fight if you feel like you are being oppressed. Of course, all I am saying is that young girls need stronger female role models, especially in books – it isn’t always good to have a female lead that plays the ‘damsel in distress’ because we are women and we are capable of helping ourselves! As is what Etta shows us throughout the novel. Her background is something that the story focuses on and it’s quite interesting to watch it unfold before your eyes as to what her history was. I love background in music, and I can totally relate to her in that sense – as I myself play the piano and at one point learnt to play the violin.

Nicholas is our male lead character and is a very guarded character, and even till the end of the novel he is still quite a mysterious character – even with Bracken’s alternating narrative Nicholas is still guarded in his emotions even when in his narrative. I guess what I am trying to say is that Bracken could have given more information about Nicholas to her audience, in order for us to understand him more. But that is just an opinion, either way, it works well with his background of being the son of a slave and her master – and within his era/timeline racism is very prominent and it is understandable as to why his character is well guarded and closed off towards the characters within the book.

Carrying on with the topic of characters, I found that Cyrus Ironwood – the main antagonist, only appears in a small part of the novel, and is mentioned throughout, however, we don’t really get a strong sense of his character apart from what is being told between characters. At this stage, it seems like he is only a background character that exists to impose a sense of threat in order to move the plot forward. His character is bound to unravel more in the next book along with the rest of the characters (I Hope!).

I can appreciate the detail Bracken goes into when writing her descriptions, however I fear that in some instances it feels like the story is being dragged on by thick descriptions where it may not be necessary – and this is where my main problem was with the book, as I mentioned I found the first few chapters to have dragged and was a bit slow. But nevertheless, it was well written and the descriptions most of the time were appreciated. Another thing that I would like to highlight is that it would have been better if the book ended a chapter earlier, of course this is only my opinion – but sometimes I quite like a cliff-hanger where I literally I have to go crazy trying to figure out what will happen next or try to figure out what just happened. And I felt like the last chapter took away the element of surprise which I kind of wanted how the next novel would have started. It felt rushed and seemed like Bracken tried to tie loose ends in the last minute cramming in as much information in the last pages to answer questions we may have… which I felt was a little anti-climactic!

The romantic element of the story, for me, felt a little bit rushed. I can appreciated that it wasn’t insta love, and that although there might have been instant attraction between the characters that their feelings for each other had the time to develop before they admit their feelings for each other – however, it felt forced. Like Bracken just couldn’t wait to keep the characters apart any longer. However, it was quite nice reading about the moments between Nicholas and Etta! So I do ship them!!

Overall, I think that the novel was an amazing read. I mean there’s time travel, history and pirates! Apart from the romance and the mysterious antagonists, I think that this book was brilliantly written and that I cannot wait for the second book to come out!

I give this book a rating of…


I feel like as been too long since I have written a book review, and this has been long overdue!

But, I will be uploading more book reviews in the coming weeks since I have been meaning to write quite a few from last month but I haven’t had the time to write any of them!

See you on my next post,

Nielle xxx



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