Review: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

2016-01-21-1453387933-9318712-819udJxxCmLTitle: Passenger

Author: Alexandra Bracken

Genre: YA, Sci-Fi, Historical Fiction, Paranormal, Romance

Published: 5th January 2016

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Pages: 486

My Rating: ★★★★1/2

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

 Synopsis from Goodreads:

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.

First Line: 

“As they ascended, retreating farther from the winding trails that marked the way to nearby villages, the world opened to him in its purest form: silent, ancient, mysterious.


General Thoughts (non-spoiler)

This is the first book I’ve read by Alexandra Bracken and I have to say, I was pretty much blown away! I know she’s a popular author and a lot of people love her books but this one was seriously wonderful. The characters are so 3D and real to me, which made me get attached to them super quickly (there may also have been streams of tears falling from my eyes at some points too). In summary, this is an action packed and fast paced read with a lot of substance, adventure and excitement. I definitely would suggest that you check this one out! 🙂

Review (contains spoilers)

From the very first line I knew this book would be exciting and interesting and dangerous. And it certainly was! Not going to lie though, at first I was a little bit confused because we are thrust into this crazy world where people can time travel and rupture whole timelines with the smallest of changes. Saying that, I soon caught up as our protagonist, Etta, found her way and began picking things up. 

Speaking of Etta, I think she’s a great character. I love how passionate she is about the violin and how determined she is to succeed that she stopped hanging out with her friends to stay focused on improving. That determination is how I knew she’d be able to cope with what she had to face throughout this book, and find the Astrolabe. Also, her musical ability came in damn handy since time passages need to be found with playing a G note (which is a nice little twist). Although Etta doesn’t have many friends, she’s strong and can be so sassy at times, which I appreciated throughout the novel.

Another character I absolutely adore is Nicholas. One of the reasons I love him so much is because he’s originally from the 1700s, so he’s quite formal and has societal ideals which seem so ludicrous to us future dwellers. He is a complete gentleman and deals with the stuff he has to endure in his life so well, he’s commendable.

In all honesty, I wasn’t expecting to become emotional attached to this book because everyone else who has talked about it hasn’t mentioned that it has seriously upset or affected them at any points. However, I TOTALLY DISAGREE. I found myself getting so angry and upset over all of the racial digs Nicholas had to endure and how he felt about himself because of his skin colour. I absolutely hate racism and discrimination, which is why I think I got so rilled up about these aspects of this book. I just wanted everyone to back off and leave him alone. There’s this one part in the novel I remember crying profusely at; you know that scene where Nick thinks he’s going to die and asks Etta about what life’s like in her time? Ugh, I’ll just quote it right here:

“Do you remember… that couple in London, in the station?”

“The ones who were dancing?” she asked. “What about them?”

“Would we… be able to dance… that way?” he said, finding it harder to breath. “In your time?”

AW MAN. HOWLING. Are you crying???? If not then why?!!?!?!?!11?! Jeeze, this just highlights how far and more progressive we have become over the years. Heartbreaking, utterly heartbreaking.


Anyway, I digress. I enjoyed the other supporting characters throughout this story as well. Although Sophie was a pain in the ass for most of the book, and a total bitch right at the end, I still feel bad for her because she is treated like trash by her grandfather. Ah… Cyrus Ironwood. What a controlling asshat. Saying that, I can completely understand his motivations behind wanting the Astrolabe. Love can blind us after all, and lead us to do crazy things. I wonder if he’ll actually end up with the device in the end, and how that will result for everyone else.

Moving on to Rose… yup, I’m not fond. I can’t comprehend why she would put her daughter through the things she has. I presume we’ll find out in the next book why, but as of right now, she’s not in my good graces. I hate that she mapped out Etta’s whole life for her in order to do something she could have done herself years ago. Oh my god, when I found out that she was the one who had killed Alice I just couldn’t believe it – she really is doing everything for the greater good, even though I don’t see why Alice needed to die. She didn’t even seem upset about what she had done, which I find even more crazy. I mean, Alice had been in her life for so long, protected and loved her daughter… I just can’t believe how cold and heartless she is.

And finally, there’s one more supporting character I’d like to mention real quick – Captain Hall. I love him to pieces and wish that we got more than just a few scenes with him. The man is incredibly hilarious. Please observe; 

“Where’s Philips?” he demanded. “Or this ship’s surgeon?”

“Philips went below to tend to the men there. Their surgeon is no longer in possession of the lower half of his body. I believe he is presently indisposed with the business of dying.” (Captain Hall)

So, moving on to the actual plot of the story. I’ve not read too many time travel novels but this one definitely peaked my interest because the rules of time travel are so different in this world. Not being able to travel to places where you have been before, to avoid any “seeing yourself” incidents, seems so obvious even though I’ve never heard it mentioned in other books of the same sort. Even the musical aspect to the passages is such a unique idea. Saying all of this, having four main family houses with tree symbols all felt a little Harry Potter to me at first, but I don’t mind that at all now. Having this whole world so built up makes the premise of this story even more exciting and tense, especially with a man like Cyrus trying to create the ultimate and most powerful traveller family.

Even the time periods we were transported to didn’t disappoint. It is clear that the author put in a hell of a lot of time and effort into researching the past because every place felt real to me. I could vividly imagine both Etta and Nick in the places mentioned and adored each different time period more than the last.

One thing I had a little bit of a problem with was how insta-lovey Etta and Nick’s relationship felt, even though it was pretty much justified by the time constraint of the story’s timeline. I do love the idea of them as a couple though, especially since he almost can’t comprehend that Etta would actually like him due to his skin colour.


So, after all that craziness with the time travel and scavenger hunt for the Astrolabe, what happens at the end? Oh yeah, Sophie runs off with the Thorns and Etta’s explodes into a puff of gold dust. I kind of thought that Etta’s dad being the leader of the Thorns was slightly predictable, but I don’t know where this storyline will lead because we have no idea what Henry is like yet. I’ll need to keep a watchful eye out for him in the future.

The scene where Etta “dies” was absolutely crazy but I knew that she couldn’t possibly be dead. I mean, there’s a whole other book and she’s the main character! Once I figured out that Etta couldn’t be dead, I put the pieces together with Julian… it’s going to be very interesting seeing where this whole storyline leads in Wayfarer. I genuinely am ecstatic about the next and last instalment of this series because I have so many questions! I feel like we’re only just scratching the surface with this world and am itching to find out more.

If you haven’t watched the book trailer for Passenger yet then I’d definitely suggest it, I quite like it (and it’s far superior to some other book trailers I’ve seen):

originalExtra Ratings
  • Characters: ★★★★☆
  • Plot: ★★★★1/2
  • Ending: ★★★★1/2
  • Originality: ★★★★★
  • Cover: ★★★★★

Favourite Quote

“A flower is no less beautiful because it does not bloom in the expected form. Because it lasts an hour, and not days.”


I found this little collage/aesthetic on Google images and don’t actually know where it originally came from. I wish I did though, because it’s absolutely gorgeous and so relevant!

Thank you guys so much for being patient with this blog’s posts since there hasn’t been much going up, it means a lot 🙂 But woohoo, I’ve finally written another review! Have any of you read Passenger before? What are you reading now??



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12 thoughts on “Review: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

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