Passenger by Alexandra Bracken (A YA Book Review)


Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Passenger is the story of Etta, a violin prodigy. She has a distant relationship with her elusive mother, but that all gets turned on its head when Etta finds out that she is a Traveler. Travelers have a different gene code that allows them to travel through passages in time from year-to-year. Soon, she finds herself on a deadly mission orchestrated by Grandfather, Cyrus Ironwood, to retrieve a device called an astrolabe. Accompanying her on this journey is Nicholas Carter, a biracial descendent of the Ironwoods who remains in 1776 working as a legal ship pirate, and who is looking to free himself from the invisible chains that still bind him to the destructive family.

I wanted to love this book so badly. I love the concept of time travel, including the lineage of the various families and the astrolabe. I also loved Etta and Nick who seem to be soulmates trapped in different times (starcrossed lovers, anyone?), but the writing style was just so difficult for me and hindered my ability to enjoy reading this book. The balance between narration and dialogue is a fine one, you do not want too much of one or the other. However, I found this book full of diatribes, introspection, and rhetorical thinking. At times it bordered on preachiness for pages at a time, and at almost 500 pages this is a rather big book. I gave it 3 out of 5 stars and, even though it ended in a cliffhanger, am not sure I will read the next book, Wayfarer, despite wanting to know how Etta and Nick’s story turns out. If the book is about 200 pages shorter and less superfluous I will be more likely read it. Great concept and characters, but for me, poor execution.

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