Author: Alexandra Bracken
Genre: Historical, Sci-fi/Fantasy
Source: NetGalley Ebook
Passenger is a stunning novel that brings legal pirates together with an up-and-coming concert violinist, intertwining them with a race against time and, well, time travel.
In this book, Etta is a brilliant violinist just about to take her first steps into a future of playing and performing. Unfortunately for her, others have different plans and Etta gets pushed into a thrilling adventure across time which reveals secrets about her, her mother and the very nature of time. Luckily, however, she also finds herself stumbling across the path of Nicholas Carter who might just be able to help.
I thought this plot was really well handled. The pacing, while off in a couple of places, was on the whole very good – I was hooked and the book would not let me go. Time travel always has the danger of turning into something really confusing, but Passenger does not fall into that trap. The time travel here works in sync with the characters’ development and the various plots: over-arching and sub-plots. The actual mission that Etta and Nicholas end up on is a quest where they are guided only by clues and I really liked that aspect of it as it helped explain why no-one else has been able to succeed while also adding an extra layer of difficulty. It does end on a cliffhanger which is both cruel and a relief but that only makes me more excited to see what happens in the next book and how this story continues.
I loved both Etta and Nicholas. As the two point of view characters, they were perfect in capturing both the world they were in and bringing out the emotion in the reader. In terms of favourites, Nicholas just about surpassed Etta for me, but only just. They complemented each other well and they were probably my favourite parts of the book.
The secondary characters are also very well developed. From the beginning, I really got a sense of the other character’s personalities, even if they were only seen for a page or so. Cyrus and Rose are probably the most intriguing to me as I get the sense there is more to them than meets the eye and I am very much looking forward to finding out what it is.
The time travel in this book is done phenomenally well. I thought the rules were explained very clearly, but not in a way that felt forced. I really like the idea of time being re-written and the fact that the time travel can only be done by certain people through certain passages – this really adds to the adventure and increases the suspense a little as it isn’t so easy to just pop over to a specific time and place in history.
Which brings me to another thing I really enjoyed about this book. The variety of times and places the reader gets to see is delightful, especially those we get to spend some time in. Bracken builds them up beautifully, bring them to life in the reader’s head. I really felt like the travelling made sense and didn’t seem like just a means to an end (with the exception of one location), which it could have very easily fallen into. The only gripe that I had was the fact that, for the most part, everyone understood each other and the dialogue remained very similar no matter the time or place. It was only in the final location that a language barrier really seemed to take effect, which came across as rather convenient.
This is a fantastic novel and one I am really glad I got the chance to read. While it wasn’t perfect, I found myself caught up in the world the Bracken has created. I do still have a number of questions which I really want answered but that only makes me want to read the next book more. I do wish we got to explore some of the places Etta travelled to a bit more, but on the whole I really loved Passenger and would definitely recommend it to anyone who loves sci-fi and/or a touch of historical fiction.
Passenger is out now, while the sequel, Wayfarer will be released January 2017 (much too far away!)
The Book Depository: http://www.bookdepository.com/Passenger/9781786540003/?a_aid=rosienreads