Book Review: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

August 29, 2016 Book review 15 ★★

I had very high expectations for Passenger by Alexandra Bracken.  The gorgeous cover, the cool sounding blurb and my love of time travel as a theme in books set my expectations sky-high. Sadly by the end of the first few chapters, my love for the book had sailed away and I was left with shattered hopes.

Book Review: Passenger by Alexandra BrackenPassenger (Passenger, #1) by Alexandra Bracken
Published by Quercus Children's Books on April 7th 2016
Genres: Sci Fi, Time Travel, YA
Pages: 496
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased

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 that 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.

cliffhanger! Fail SciFi Young Adult

First Line of Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

“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.”

My thoughts on Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

I’m disappointed and deflated, as I really believed this book would tick all my boxes. Sadly, I thought Passenger chugged along too sluggishly and the time travel lacked excitement and momentum.  They just travelled, did nothing, travelled on again, more nothing, and repeat.  I had heard the book had a slow build, and so I stuck with it.  I grimly read through the first 200 pages, wishing for action.

Thankfully after that mark, it did pick up and the time travel kicked off properly.  But it just wasn’t exciting enough for me.  The romance evolved out of nothing as far as I was concerned and it got too much book time.  I’d rather have had some cool time travel conundrums to tease my brain with, instead of the lack lustre romance.

The high point of the book was how it handled diversity and different cultures.  I appreciated the themes of racism and feminism and how the different eras affected that. That was an interesting plotline and the bit I connected most with.

But it wasn’t enough to haul the slow-moving, information-ladden plot into an entertaining read. Also I’m very character driven, but I feel a bit indifferent to the characters.  In a few months, I doubt that I will remember much about them.

So with a slow-moving plot, dull characters and a romance a didn’t care about, this just wasn’t the book for me.


Rating Report
Did I feel it?
Overall: two-stars


Who should read Passenger by Alexandra Bracken?

I love time travel books but this wasn’t for me.  And to be honest, I’m stumped, as I don’t really know who to recommend it to.  However some people loved this book, so maybe check Goodreads for some other reviews, and they might convince you otherwise.


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15 Responses to “Book Review: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken”

    • trish

      I’m disappointed! But I know some people love it Maureen, so maybe you still might like it. If you aren’t in to slow build though, definitely put it on hold for the time being.

  1. Berls

    Bummer! I’ve had this one on my TBR for many for the reasons you picked it up. But it sounds like maybe I need to at least push it down the list, if not kick it completely. I expect a time travel book to be pumping with action and I’m also a character driven reader so that’s disappointing too. Thanks for the great review!
    Berls recently posted…Sunday Post | Things are looking good!

    • trish

      I feel like that too, I want the action to burst through the pages in time travel and have all sorts of time conundrums to mess with my head. But I just didn’t feel that 🙁

  2. Bookworm Brandee

    I’m disappointed too, Trish. I had thought this book looked marvelous. I’m happy you found a few, if a very few, things that made the read worth your time. I like the thought that racism and feminism were handled well. It’s just unfortunate that the things you expected to be done well – time travel especially – weren’t. I hope your current read is impressing you. 😀
    Bookworm Brandee recently posted…2016 Bookish Resolutions Challenge Update ~ August

  3. Amy S.

    I definitely agree about the romance! So unnecessary and not at all compelling. It’s just like, “here’s a boy and a girl, I’m gonna force them to make out.” And I have to say I was actually most intrigued by the book at the beginning and completely over it by the end. I thought Ella’s passion for violin was interesting, and then when she was first on the boat it seemed like we were going to see some action, then everything just lagged and stalled for me. And by the time something “actiony” happened way late in the book I didn’t care at all. I just never truly cared about the characters and I don’t care about what happens to Etta after the cliffhanger we were left with.
    Amy S. recently posted…Movie Thoughts: Star Trek Beyond & Jason Bourne

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