Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
Genre: Time Travel, Romance
Published by: Disney-Hyperion
Format: ARC e-book
Note: We received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Passenger was one of Sarah‘s most anticipated releases. We couldn’t really say the same, as it’s no secret we didn’t enjoy The Darkest Minds. Nevertheless, this book had a lot of hype in the BookTube community (it’s been floating round on the internet since BEA 2015!) and the premise sounded super fun. Unfortunately, we weren’t too impressed with the execution of the idea, so let’s talk about it!
P L O T
Mia from If I Stay gets captured by time-travelling pirates and thrust into a world that her mother, Jocelyn from City of Bones, has kept secret from her all her life. She becomes Gwen from Ruby Red, and quickly falls in love with Arin from The Winner’s Curse, and goes on a quest to find something like she’s in Percy Jackson.
So, really, it’s Etta’s story, but it’s got a lot elements from other really popular series and that’s a huge plus, because if you liked any of the above mentioned things, you’re going to like something about Passenger!
C H A R A C T E R S
Etta – She is the most inconsistent female protagonist we’ve come across. In some scenes, she’s represented as this hard-core lady type, who’ll do whatever she can to save her family, and she can be really feisty towards the brutish male pirates. But in other scenes, she’s wimpy, and too blinded by insta-love to be of any use. We couldn’t connect with her character, and while we understand character’s can react differently to different situations, that’s not an excuse to give a character multiple personalities.
Nicholas – He was Etta’s pirate love interest, and time travel companion. The strength of his feeling towards Etta was ridiculous! They’d known each other for all of five minutes, and already some guy was asking Nick if he’d staked his claim over her. Also, Nicholas lives in an eighteenth-nineteenth century world, when holding hands was like the equivalent of marriage. With Etta, he can’t seem to keep his hands off her, and this seemed out of character for the time period he was born into.
Sophia – There always has to be a girl like this in novel’s like this. She was the equivalent of Gwen’s cousin in Ruby Red, probably jealous of the role Etta got to play in the quest to find the astrolabe (which I’m not even sure I understand.)
P A C I N G
Just so poor. We looked at other reviews before we read this, to gauge what the popular opinion was. It seems you can either give this book five stars, or two stars, depending on how you thought the plot progressed. For the first half of the book, nothing too dramatic happens. It’s very slow and the quest hasn’t reared its head. By 30%, we were already wondering if it was worth continuing. After you reach the halfway point, things start to look up, but it’s moving at a very slow pace. Really, the crux of the plot only occurs at 90%. Knowing that this book was the start of a series gave us no hope of closure. But, the last 10% was extremely choc-a-block with development, so the second book Wayfarer is in a much better position to be what we expected from this book.
V E R D I C T
So, there’s a lot of problems with Passenger. The romance is the most insta-love thing ever, the plot was just boring for the first 250 pages, and Etta was as changeable as the seasons, which is probably a metaphor Alexandra Bracken would use.
That was our second biggest issue, that the writing style was over the top, and too fond of the triplet structure. It felt, a lot of the time, like words for the sake of words, without giving more plot. It got to the point where I would skim over description and just read the speech, because it was moving at a much faster pace.
Overall, we give Passenger 2 stars, but look forward to the potential of the sequel that sounds extremely interesting!