Review: Passenger-Alexandra Bracken

Book 1
Young Adult, time travel
Rating : 3.0 

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Violin prodigy Etta Spencer had big plans for her future, but a tragedy has put her once-bright career at risk. Closely tied to her musical skill, however, is a mysterious power she doesn't even know she has. When her two talents collide during a stressful performance, Etta is drawn back hundreds of years through time. 


Etta wakes, confused and terrified, in 1776, in the midst a fierce sea battle. Nicholas Carter, the handsome young prize master of a privateering ship, has been hired to retrieve Etta and deliver her unharmed to the Ironwoods, a powerful family in the Colonies--the very same one that orchestrated her jump back, and one Nicholas himself has ties to. But discovering she can time travel is nothing compared to the shock of discovering the true reason the Ironwoods have ensnared her in their web. 


Another traveler has stolen an object of untold value from them, and, if Etta can find it, they will return her to her own time. Out of options, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the mysterious traveler. But as they draw closer to each other and the end of their search, the true nature of the object, and the dangerous game the Ironwoods are playing, comes to light--threatening to separate her not only from Nicholas, but her path home... forever.


“It's our choices that matter in the end. Not wishes, not words, not promises.” 

I don't know why it took me so long to pick this one up from my shelf. Maybe it was because of the hype-everyone was into it and they all raved about the story and cover (okay, who wouldn't? It's beautiful!)-and that kind of swayed me from reading. Alas, finally, I had chosen to read this book despite my initial hesitation.

I'm all for time travel type books, my favorite being The Missing series by Margaret Peterson Haddix, and look forward to their explanation of time travel and how it's physically possible. Most books have the same idea, they touch an item (a stone, necklace, etc) and are sent into the past. So I knew going it this would probably be the same but I still had hopes.

Etta plays the violin, and she's amazing at it. Her long time teacher, Alice is more of a family friend, and I loved how she played a part in this book. Her mom comes off mysterious and you instantly wonder about her.

The beginning of this was boring. I mean, so boring. I wanted to nap after finishing it. The narrative was dull and lacked complexity and warmth. I don't know if its because this is third person narrative or if Bracken always writes this way, but it made it more of a job to get through than enjoyment. I found it hard to relate to Etta and get into her mind. This book seemed to be 154 pages too long, as it was drawn out for no reason. A lot of scenes were not needed. The only reason I kept reading in the beginning was the fact that the main male interest was African American, something seldom done.

I did enjoy the actual time travel parts. It's neat to have them go to different era's and see what it was like. I do wish those were the parts more drawn out because it would have been neat to read about them in those times more.

Many parts were long and drawn out paragraphs about the clothes a character was wearing, or a description of a violin for example. I don't need to know the needle that made a jacket, or the paint put on the violin. It was very easy to set this book down, yet I forced myself to read because it's our monthly read and review book. Nothing exciting happened till about half way through the book and even then it was iffy.

This book just seemed to be more of a filler than actual story.

“I've never slapped anyone before,” she admitted.
“How did you find the experience?”
“It would have been more satisfying if he'd gone flying out of his seat like I imagined.”

 And Etta is quite unremarkable. Okay, you're strong, brave, independent, good kisser, blah, blah, blah. Oh, and she plays violin, but does it actually matter? No, because she barely plays. I was so disappointed about that. She's this major player and it happens twice in the book. Like...Okay? And there was nothing special about her or put her out there from other characters.

Etta doesn't seem to be a teenager. I dislike when writers do this. She is sixteen (or whatever), she doesn't speak like a woman from the 18th century. She can like The Vampire Diaries. 

The romance between Etta and Nicholas wasn't instant, which I liked, but it was also off. I couldn't feel the chemistry between them, didn't understand it or feel connected. I love them together, but they act more like distant love interests than actual lovers. There's a ship on this cover, but there was nothing to ship. #Ouch.

“In the whole course of history, war had always fallen on the shoulders of the young.” 

The book sorta picked up in places, and I would get excited, only for it to get dull again pages later with unnecessary information or description. I did love the explanation of time travel and how it all connects. I think it's interesting to hear about the different families and how they're all tied in. The mission Etta has was forced upon her but I think she took it all pretty well, yet it took about 200+ pages before she even knew what her reason for being in time was for. Like, hello. Shouldn't you have tried harder to figure that out from the second you got there? I mean, come on.

I did finish this book, though. The book finally picked up in the last eight or seven chapters, leaving a cliffhanger that actually makes me want to read the next one. I will do so, anyway, it's February's read of the month.

If you love slow historical books, dull and tedious paragraphs, and bland characters, here you go.