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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Book Stats:  

Reading level: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Hardcover : 496 pages
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release date: January 5th, 2016

Series:  Passenger #1


Reviewed by: 

Order: Amazon | Book Depository

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.

I was a huge fan of The Darkest Minds series and thought it was one of the best, most underrated dystopians since it didn't get as much hype as The Hunger Games or Divergent. When I saw she was coming out with something new, I knew I had to wait a bit before beginning it because I'd probably want to read everything at once!

I loved the uniqueness of this book! It was not what I was expecting at all, not that I had much of an idea to begin with. However, let's start with the cover. It's absolutely beautiful. First glance shows a glass bottle with modern day New York inside, and underneath a second faded glass bottle with an eighteenth century ship. It's so understated and yet shows a quick glimpse of the book. Great job, Disney Hyperion Marketing and Design departments!

At first, I had a bit of a hard time getting into it because I was trying to grasp all the details of time travel, how it's possible, and how it relates to Etta. Because Etta is largely in the dark about...well...mostly everything, so is the reader. That got a bit frustrating because we have to wait until Etta meets Cyrus Ironwood to get a little more insight. The two characters closest to Etta, Sophie and Nicholas, are themselves similarly fairly powerless in the scheme of things: Sophie is a girl who can't inherit and is thought to possess frailties due to gender and also is actually a bit of a rebel despite being Ironwood's granddaughter while Nicholas is Cyrus's grandson and a bastard, his mother having been a slave who was assaulted by Cyrus's tyrant son, and remember, during the eighteenth century, anyone black or having mixed blood was still considered of lower status in the American colonies.

Etta, with her modern way of thinking, does not recognize these social norms of the day, and when Sophie and Cyrus treat Nicholas like a servant or furniture rather than blood, Etta rather views him as a partner and her equal, a relationship he's never had before and never known was possible. Etta too is constantly underestimated for being female and merely a pawn for Cyrus Ironwood, though she at least knows what possibilities exist in the modern world. These themes of sexism and racism are explored and Etta herself confronts them when she acknowledges what a privilege it is not to worry about the color of your skin and how that affects various aspects of your life especially if you lived in these periods.

I found the glimpses of historic time periods and exotic locales to be fascinating. From rainforests and temples near Thailand to Egypt to eighteenth century New York and London during WWII...the fun way they skip about history is a gem to discover, especially if you research it at the same time they're flitting about. It gives a fuller picture of the settings.

Overall, I really liked this book despite how it took me about 25% of the book to get into, which other reviewers have pointed out. This is not your usual fast-paced YA because Bracken takes time to really develop the feeling of confusion and the unknown for Etta. Once I was in, though, I was hooked, and was totally caught off-guard by the typical Bracken doozy of a cliffhanger at the end. Absolutely had to get my hands on Wayfarer asap! Look for that review soon as there'll be more about the romance and other secret plot developments!

Tynga is a 32 years old mom of two, from Montreal, working as a lab technician in an hospital specialized in heart disease. In her free time, she enjoys reading all things Paranormal and photography.

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