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I Belong

Review: The Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

PassengerTitle: Passenger

Author: Alexandra Bracken

Genre: YA Fantasy/Time Travel

Series: Passenger (Book #1)

Publication Date: January 5, 2016

Format: Hardcover, 496 Pages

ISBN-10: 1484715772 (Disney-Hyperion)

ISBN-13: 978-1484715772 (Disney-Hyperion)

Reviewed by: Zed


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, his passenger, can find. In order to protect her, Nick 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.

Quick & Dirty: A brilliant mix of time travel and fantasy.

Opening Sentence: 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.

Excerpt: No

The Review:

This has been on my ‘TBR’ list for several months and I’m glad to have finally gotten round to reading it. Initially, I found it a little difficult to get into but once Etta met Nicholas, things began to get interesting.

Etta is forced into the world of time travelling where she literally falls into a time where women have very few rights and are meek and subservient. This doesn’t go down well with outspoken Etta so when she almost gets into a fist fight over Nicholas’s honour on a ship full of pirates, you know she’s a bad ass!

“If you can believe it, that’s actually an improvement in her mood,” Etta whispered. “This morning she threw half of her trunk at me when I came in to wake her up.”
“Ah, the Ironwood charm,” Nicholas said. “I suppose she then made you pick it all up for her as well?”
“Actually, I threw the water from the basin on her to cool her off.” A dark look passed over Etta’s face as they watched the carriage rock with the force of Sophia’s entry. “Should have grabbed the chamber pot instead.”

I loved the idea of time traveling through the secret ‘passages’ and though the rules often confused me, it reminded me of the time turners used in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, thereby making it more realistic in my mind.

As the first book in the series, there was bound to be a lot of world building but I didn’t find it as tiresome as some other first books. However, what did annoy me was Etta’s not-so-dear mother! I understand why Etta wanted to go back and save Alice, but saving her own mother frankly felt like a waste of time. Especially since Rose had kept sooo many secrets from Etta and always appeared to have a chilly persona. The entire time-travelling world was unknown to Etta but Rose expected her to save the world, how does that work?

“I wish you had gone a little easier on him,” she said.
“He came in here thrashing a sword around. Was I supposed to stand idly by and do nothing?” he huffed.
“Well, you weren’t supposed to try to rearrange his face with your fist.”
“I wasn’t,” Nicholas protested. “He lunged up into it several times. I was only in the way.”

An important issue explored in Passenger was the discrimination of different races and the occurrence of slavery. Nicholas’s entire life story was incredibly sad so I was so glad that he met someone like Etta. It’s clear from the very first moment they meet that they have an undeniable chemistry.

“If you can travel anywhere…to any time, for the most part,” she began, “why do you stay here? In an era where there are men like Wren, who treat you that way?”
“You presume I have a choice,” he said. “Good night, Miss Spencer. Rest well.”

If you’re not a fan of cliffhangers then you clearly shouldn’t be reading any series, especially this one. I, however, loved the suspense at the end and eagerly anticipate book two!

Notable Scene:

Hasan gave one last gentle pat to her hand, continuing, “It is blasphemous, I know; it goes against our teachings and beliefs, but I accept their choices. I cherish them in my heart. I cannot help but think, it matters not who you love, but only the quality of such a love. And so what I wish to say to you is…a flower is no less beautiful because it does not bloom in the expected form. Because it lasts an hour, and not days.”

Passenger Series:

1. Passenger

2. Wayfarer (January 3, 2017)


FTC Advisory: Disney-Hyperion provided me with a copy of Passenger. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.


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