Review: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken



by Alexandra Bracken
Series: Passenger, #1

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.


"These were people who overcame the impossible, they figured out a way to break every law of science. They opened up whole worlds within their own. Maybe they saw themselves as explorers, or scholars. Or maybe they saw it as a kind of calling to find out what lay ahead and make adjustments."
Be warned… this is going to be a long review. Passenger is such a beautiful and detailed time travel book, and there's going to be a lot of words flowing because I just simply LOVED IT.

Passenger is the first novel by Alexandra Bracken that I have read and I am so beyond surprised and amazed. I truly feel as though I have taken a trip through time. Her writing is so descriptive and enchanting and even though I have so much going through my mind, I'm at a loss for words at how to describe how lovely this book is.
“As they ascended, retreating farther from the winding trains that marked the way to nearby villages, the world opened to him in its purest form: silent, ancient, mysterious. Deadly.”
I was captivated with that one sentence, from the very beginning. The entire story is one big journey: traveling into passages that take you through distant places in time, over rolling seas and hot deserts, through thick jungles, across ancient and war-torn cities; a journey in which our two main characters discover themselves and their true paths.

It was such a magnificently woven story with such intricate details. I truly cannot fathom how she kept up with it all. Especially the concepts of time travel. While I've always been intrigued by the idea of time travel and the complexity and difficulty of writing about it, I have never for one second, even in my days of studying, ever thought I would be able to fully understand how to weave such a tale and keep up with it at that. I have come to the conclusion that Alexandra Bracken must be a time-traveler herself, for that is the only way I can possibly explain how she is such an expert in the matter.

I can only imagine the amount of research she put into writing this story to get so many details on the places and times that our main characters travel to-the customs, the clothing, the landscapes and buildings, the formalities. It all puts you directly into the story itself.

I absolutely love that Alexandra Bracken delved into the gritty and at times awful parts of our history. She was brave to place a young black man named Nicholas into 1776 colonial America. It brought our racial injustices right to the surface and consistently reminds you of just how far we have come from that time by bringing in vile characters who shove their privilege and distaste for the color of his skin down his throat and weaving a love story in with our other protagonist, a white violinist named Etta.
"I can't help but think, it matters not who you love, but only the quality of such a love."
I also love that she put Nicholas and Etta right in the center of ancient Syria, giving us a small glimpse into a bright and lively time of the past, reminding us of the place it once was and could possibly be again.

I'm just simply in awe of this story and how everything wove together in the end, how the characters and places in time jumped off the page with life. I can't wait to continue on with Wayfarer. I may not make it without knowing what happens next. It's going to be very interesting, and I can only guess, more complicated as more timelines and characters lives are intermingled. If you're looking for a great time travel book, this is it!