*This book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This is no way swayed my opinions.*
Passenger by Alexandra Bracken was my most anticipated ARC at BEA (and I managed to get it!) but after finding out there was an updated draft I made an executive decision to wait until the finished copy… until, an updated ARC was printed. I was lucky enough to receive one and the moment it appeared in my mailbox I was so ready to dive in! I’m very happy to say that Passenger did not disappoint. The story is full of time travel and pirates (two instant selling points for myself) and it follows Etta and Nicholas who embark on a journey through time to recover an artifact that could destroy the time stream completely if it falls into the wrong hands. From the moment I started reading until the moment I finished I was completely enthralled with the story and the characters. Passenger is a truly gripping read. You still have time to enter my Passenger giveaway too!
A big part of why I loved Passenger so much is because Alexandra Bracken’s imagery made me feel like I was time traveling along with the Etta and Nicholas. I found it took me longer to read Passenger than it has to read other books of a similar size and I think it’s because I was so overtaken by the story. I felt like I had to read at a slower pace to absorb each and every detail. Time travel stories can often feel confusing or convoluded but when they’re done correctly, like Passenger,they’re one of my favorite types of stories. The way in which all of the rules of the world were described made complete sense and makes the story approachable to those who aren’t accustomed to reading science fiction. The story is complicated in the best kind of way and I already began planning a re-read before I finished the first time. The race for this mysterious artifact had me HOOKED.
I love both Etta and Nicholas separately and together I ship them so much! Etta is a violinist from modern day New York set to debut at The Met when she’s thrust into this life that her mother never explained to her yet she manages to take everything in stride and quickly adapt to her situation. She’s driven by love and the desire to do what’s right and she won’t let any male or female get in her way despite the century she happens to be in. Etta challenges social issues from earlier times that she doesn’t agree with and I love her quick wit. Nicholas’s polite and calm demeanor balances out Etta’s impulsive whims. I particularly love his way of fighting back civilly during the Voltaire conversation despite the other character not deserving any of Nicholas’ time or attention. He’s a man who’s always been dealt an unfair hand due solely to his race and I want nothing more than for him to move to the current century with Etta and live happily ever after but that ending remains to be seen. I really need the second book in the duology, Wayfarer, as soon as possible. I also really enjoyed learning about Ironwood and the way he has been controlling time traveling families for years. He is a prime example of someone whose had a taste of power and will never be satisfied. He is out for his best interest despite how the consequences will effect anyone else.
Final Thoughts: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken is the first book in a time travel duology that is a must read for anyone with a penchant for pirates and / or historical fiction. The world that Bracken has built is an enchanting and enhanced version of our own. The main characters Etta (from present day) and Nicholas (from the past) are the perfect pair to recover the astrolabe before our villain gets his hands on it and destroys the time stream for his own benefit. I ship them together so much (and I especially love using that phrase in regard to Passenger because pirates). It was so hard to keep this review spoiler free because I want to talk about every story element of it with everyone! Please read this book!
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. (via Goodreads)