January 10, 2016

Review: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Passenger (Passenger #1)
Alexandra Bracken
496 pages
Published January 5th 2016 by Disney-Hyperion
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.
Oh gosh. I am honestly so so sad to be writing this review. I in no way tend to bash Passenger in this review, so I am sorry if any of what I say comes across as harsh, but I honestly just did not like this book. I wasn't fond of the characters, plot, or settings and felt very confused while reading. Alexandra Bracken's Darkest Minds series was one of my favorites. I was in love with her TDM characters and every book was so fast paced and kept me on edge, I reread them all multiple times and could clearly picture every character and every setting in my head. This is, most likely, why this book fell short for me. I had very high expectations that stemmed from the Darkest Minds and I just felt let down. 

I'll start with my problems with the characters. The first big issue for me was that I couldn't picture them. I kept trying and even when I thought I had a inkling of something it never seemed right, like the picture just didn't fit with the character I was reading. I thought Nicholas and Etta's relationship was very cute but things did seem to move a little fast. Also, Nicholas was a "pirate" but he was not anything like your stereotypical pirate (which I guess made him very unique). I mean, he was literally a legal pirate, which was so not what I was expecting (but I sort of got over that). 

Now, maybe I'm just dumb, but I was so confused with the whole ship (not romantic ship, but literal ships) situation. Like, one ship was shooting at another ship but then the ship was fine, but then the mast was falling or something and something was sinking but everyone was fine? I was honestly so lost no matter how many times I reread it. The ship fighting wasn't the only thing I was confused about. I kept getting lost in the entire Ironwood family tree and I just didn't have it in me to go back and remind myself of who these people were. 

What I did appreciate about this book was Etta's deep love for Alice and her determination to do anything for her. I also liked how flawlessly time travel was explained. I thought the time travel in this book was unique because you had to travel to the exact day it currently was, so although you could go back years if you wanted to interfere with something that happened in August but it was currently November you would have to wait almost a year. Since this is the first time travel book I've read I don't really know if this is the norm for time traveling but to me it felt new.  

I'm not a fan of historical fiction or time travel, I dislike boats, and I can't enjoy a book when I'm confused. Passenger was obviously not a book for me. I mean, it's literally historical fiction and time travel, possibly my two least favorite "genres", but I was hoping since it was Alexandra Bracken she would do something that made me enjoy it tons, and I just didn't feel that. Maybe if you like time travel and historical fiction you'll love this. Maybe it was an "it's not you, it's me" thing, since so many others love this book. I don't know. All I do know is that I really was not a fan of this book. 

I'd love to hear anyone else's thoughts of Passenger! Were you disappointed? Did you love it? Link me to your reviews as well & thanks for reading! 


  1. I'm sorry to see that you didn't like this one all that much. :/ I think I will still give it a try though I'm a bit worried about all the hype.
    Krystianna @ Downright Dystopian

  2. It's such a shame that this book disappointed you. Hype and expectations can really bring s book rating down. And I think that the fact that you dislike time travel and historical fiction could really be the major source for your disappointment with this book. I'm definitely like that with mysteries or thrillers and crime novels.

  3. It sounds like you gave this one a fair go but it just wasn't for you! I like the concept of the time travel but it's refreshing to read from your perspective cos this is so hyped. Awesome review!

    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence

  4. I like that you started the review by trying to not bash the book. I have a hard time not just talking about all the bad things in a book when it was actually okay.

  5. That's sad you didn't like this book. It's hyped indeed. I can't say if it's over-hyped because I didn't read it. (This is basically just me passing by. I actually read this review the minute it was published mouahahahah. Don't ask I really don't know why I made an evil laugh. Remember that I love you <3)

  6. It always stinks to have a "it's me, not you" feeling about a book. :/ I totally feel you though - not every book can be something you adore. I'm definitely going to still give this a try since I'm a huge fan of time travel, but I might lower my expectations a little. Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! ♥

  7. I've been hearing a lot of similar sentiments about this book, which sucks because I was really looking forward to it. It's always disappointing when a book you want to love so much falls a bit flat. Thank you for your honest review!

    Aentee at Read at Midnight

  8. Passenger is one of my most anticipated books of this year, but I've been seeing some mixed reviews about it and now I'm terrified. I'm really sorry you didn't like it!


    Ely @ Tea & Titles

  9. I'm so sorry you didn't like it. I know how disappointing it is to dislike a book you've been waiting for. I thought you really did the review justice though. You were clear about your issues.

  10. Hmm, I've been looking forward to this one, but I haven't heard many great things about it. I personally love historical fiction and time travel, so it sounded like something I might like. Thanks for giving such an honest review! Super helpful. :)

  11. I've been thinking of picking this book up because of all the hype though I've seen a lot of mixed reviews. Some people seem to love it and others, like you, were disappointed. I guess that's what can happen with hyped books, they can fall short of expectations. Characters play a huge role in novels (obviously), but I particularly appreciate developed characters that I can really imagine so that fact that you found this difficult does put me off a bit.
    This was a really insightful review, thank you! : )

  12. I'm happy to see that you enjoyed some aspects of it!

    I've been hearing a lot of similar complaints. I actually didn't finish this because I too was confused. I loved the writing but that's about it. Yeah Etta's character was pretty cool! I also did not like her mother. I felt like her mother was the one pulling all the strings. I had a feeling that the romance would progress quickly. Right from when they meet.

    Great review :)

  13. I really liked Passenger but I didn't all out love it, or even think it was amazing, like I did with TDM. I just thought it was... good. Really good. (Is this making any sense?) The main part I liked is that I could actually really connect with Etta because of her whole singular drive to achieve one thing, and because she was a musician. There were little things in Passenger that did confuse me, but overall I feel like I understood the plot.

    I'm sorry that this one disappointed you! :(

  14. I still have yet to pick up my arc, but you aren't the first person to say they were disappointed with the story. I think people loved The Darkest Minds trilogy (like you mentioned) so they're expectations were a bit high, which led to disappointment. I am really excited to see what I think about it, you'll definitely see my thoughts soon. Sorry you didn't like this one!

  15. Ah, it's such a shame you didn't love this - it's always so painful when you love the author's other work and this one doesn't quite live up to it :( I've never read TDM, but I have it sitting on my shelf and can't wait to get in to it. I was quite interested by Passenger, although I was dying to get my hands on it... I will eventually read it though x) Great review!

  16. I love the cover, and I am most definitely intrigued. Great pick! Have a wonderful day.

  17. Mmm, is it bad to feel glad you didn't like this book as well?? I'm in the middle of reading it, and it's actually on an indefinite hiatus with me - I'm not connecting to ANYTHING at all!
    Thanks for the review - I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who hasn't fully enjoyed Passenger!

  18. I haven't read any Alexandra Bracken (though I SERIOUSLY need to - the joys of being broke and not cool enough to get ARCs), so I think I might enjoy this book more than the average seasoned Bracken fan! I like your honesty - you've got one more follower!


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