Book Review: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Alexandra-Bracken-PassengerIn 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, his passenger, can find. In order to protect her, Nick 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.

In a book about time travel, an impossible love, and even privilege, the most important quote is this, “But she wondered if, in moving outside the natural flow of time, they had forgotten the most crucial part of life – that is wasn’t meant to be lived for the past, or even the future, but for each present moment.” I legitimately had to stop reading for a moment and just take that in.

Nicholas and Etta’s sexual tension and angst is 100% my jam. I am so here for all of that. I love a good angst-filled romance and Alex Bracken wrote theirs perfectly. I was always on edge with them, especially when they were dancing around each other (which, really, was almost always).

These two characters are forced together to complete an impossible task through time-traveling, and in turn they learn so much about the other and themselves. While Nicholas learns what it could be like to love someone, someone like Etta, out of his time, he learns that he is not truly the heartless man that he claims to be. Etta, on the other hand, has lived a life of privilege and is forced to realize that she never once considered how life would be for Nicholas, a freed slave, in his own time. What I’ve noticed, not just in Passenger, but in so many YA novels recently, is that the stories are becoming more than just about romance and adventure and finding yourself, but also learning something about the rest of the world around you. In our society, representation is so important, yet sometimes so hard to find, so I can really appreciate when authors take their own leaps out of what they know to educate their readers.

Definitely loved this one, even if it ended on a cliffhanger, and I can’t wait for the next one. Keep an eye out for the reading playlist I made to go along with this book tomorrow! Four and a half bards.

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