Monday, November 30, 2015

Title: Passenger
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Series: Passenger, book #1
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: January 5, 2016
Source: ARC received from publisher/Big Honcho Media
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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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.

Passenger is everything I'm looking for in a time travel book. For one, there's actually quite a bit of travelling going on...not just one jump but several from one time to another and from one locale to another. This is only the first book, so the origin of the particular method of time travel in this story is still relatively unclear, but it's not confusing either.

There's an evil madman, hell-bent on making time travel his bitch, with total world domination likely on the agenda. There are chase scenes and gun fights and pirates and all manner of action sequences. Plus, there's a bit of romance. And it's a multi-racial one that breaks ALL THE RULES. In other words, I don't think there's anyone who won't like this book to some degree.

Etta's life has been one big deception. She doesn't even know she can travel through time until she's being dragged through a passage into Nassau in 1776. But this girl is tough as nails and not to be underestimated. Though she doesn't know it yet, her mother has given her everything she needs to surmount every obstacle she encounters.

The fiercely protective Nicholas has his own plans, but he'll die before he sees any harm come to Etta. Theirs is not a love-at-first-sight type of romance, but it is one of immediate mutual respect. And it only grew from there. I didn't feel any deep connection to these characters until nearly halfway through the story, but once that connection was made, there was no turning back. But that probably stems from the fact that the main characters themselves are so guarded up until that point that they weren't even sure they were connected.

All of the characters in this story are so full of surprises. At every turn, I'd think I knew what to expect, and then my theories would be completely turned upside down with their antics. I love a story that can constantly keep me guessing, and that's exactly what I got with Passenger. Even the ending was shocking in a way I hadn't expected. I know from experience that Bracken can create an intricate world and make me believe in it completely, but she's really outdone herself with this book. I've only read this first book and I'm already completely invested in Etta and Nicholas's future.

And I love that Bracken didn't skimp on the racial injustices or the societal expectations when representing previous centuries. Nicholas, having been born in the 18th century, knows about limits and expectations better than anyone, but for Etta, it all comes as a bit of culture shock. It was honestly hard to read the gritty depictions of how Nicholas was treated and viewed at times, but it also fired up my inner feminist when it came to how Etta was expected to behave. It also intensely fueled my hope that both would end up in the 21st century where things aren't exactly perfect but are still better.

I've already added Wayfarer to my TBR, and I'm ardently waiting for its release. Like, if I had a magic book genie, that book would be the first I'd ask for. If you're a fan of time travel, pirates, and have a healthy sense of adventure, this series should definitely be in your future.

GIF it to me straight:

About the author:

I’m Alex. I write about telekinetic teens and floppy-haired wizards. I love Star Wars, classic rock, and 18th century gentlemen. When I’m not up at 4 AM writing, you can find me running around the DC area, where I now live and write full time..

Find Alex:

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