Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Review (+ Giveaway!): Passenger

Passenger #1
Alexandra Bracken
Young Adult/Time Travel
464 pages
Available Now
Source: ARC from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
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 a stunning first installment, tackling the tricky topic of time travel in an easily understandable and emotionally challenging way as we consider both the “what if” questions our characters face as well as the ones we ask ourselves as we read.

Etta is a true gem of a heroine, coming face to face with an ability she never fathomed possible and shouldering the weight of a world-changing responsibility with only days to acclimate herself to her new circumstances. She doesn't panic, curl into the fetal position or otherwise rail at the enormity of what's being asked of her, instead she keeps a level head, treats everyone around her with respect (even those who frankly don't deserve it) and charges forward with more determination than know-how (through no fault of her own), while at the same time acknowledging just how far out of her depth she really is.

Her quiet romance with fellow Traveler Nicholas is everything we could hope for in a young adult relationship, the two of them finding moments in the sudden chaos of their lives to learn about one another; the attraction between them starting at surface level and slowly deepening until their feelings for one another come across as nothing other than completely genuine. Both are keeping secrets from the other with regard to their shared mission, but just as we start to feel the kiss of anxiety in the final quarter of the book–dreading the moment the truth will come to light–both opt for honesty and come clean to our ever-lasting relief.

We're left with what some may consider a cliffhanger, but it feels more (to me) like a simple pause in the action; a logical place to stop before a new kind of journey starts in the next installment. The fate of some characters is of course up in the air as is the ultimate outcome of Etta and Nicholas's time-hopping search, but we are treated to a number of answers about the villain's motivations, the basics of time travel as well as a brief history of the Traveling Families and their overall purpose, leaving us content with what we do know even as we look forward to discovering all that we don't as the series progresses.

Rating: 4/5

Buy Passenger:


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Alexandra Bracken was born and raised in Arizona, but moved east to study at the College of William & Mary in Virginia. She now writes full time and can be found hard at work on her next novel in a charming apartment overflowing with books. You can visit her online at or on Twitter (@alexbracken).

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Three lucky winners will each receive a finished copy of Passenger! To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Giveaway is open to US address only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Don't forget to check out the other stops on the tours for more reviews, interviews and guest posts!

12/28/2015- Novel NoviceReview  
12/29/2015- FiktshunInterview  
12/30/2015- Mundie MomsReview  
12/31/2015- Me My Shelf And IGuest Post  
1/1/2016- Page Turners BlogReview
1/4/2016- Dark Faerie TalesInterview
1/5/2016- FangirlishGuest Post   
1/6/2016- Supernatural SnarkReview  
1/7/2016- Magical Urban Fantasy ReadsInterview  
1/8/2016- The Book CellarReview


  1. I'm glad that this was a winner for you too, Jenny! :)
    I started it but found myself struggling so I ended up just setting aside. I think it's more of a me issue because time travel and I just don't mesh well together. I was sad because I was really excited about it, but I guess not every book is for everyone?
    I'm glad the ending wasn't too bad either! It's only a 2-books series but some of these cliffhangers can be a pain!
    Lovely review, Jenny! :)

  2. Great review, Jenny. Overall, I enjoyed this one as well, but I think you may have liked it a little bit more than me. I had a hard time with he instal-love between Etta and Nicholas, but I did enjoy the time travel....that kept me on the edge of my seat. I'm glad you liked this one!

  3. Eeeeep! This sounds SO GOOD, Jenny! And I'm totally infatuated with that gorgeous cover. So happy to see how much you enjoyed it - I have a feeling I'm going to love it too!

  4. Fantastic review Jenny^^ This one is coming up for me but the early reviews have me very optimistic! I'm a huge fan of Time-Travel so it's a relief to see that it's handled well here. The characters, plot and romance sound incredibly promising too :D

  5. I'm so glad you enjoyed this one! I can't wait to read it.

  6. I don't normally like time travel stories but I've heard so many good things about this book I'm going to give it a try.

    Karen @For What It's Worth

  7. I'm reading this right now Jenny and loving it! I agree, everything so far is handles so well and believably!

  8. So happy to hear that you loved this one and that the time travel part was well done. I have been eyeing this one, and I am thinking I need to read it soon.

  9. I totally agree about the ending..for me it felt like the right place and while I want to know what happens, it made sense.

  10. I've just started on Passenger this afternoon! After Alex Bracken PULVERIZED my heart in In The Afterlight, I'm cautious. And scared. And hesitant. Because I know it'll be lovely and I'll get attached and be reduced to a puddle of WHYYY. But it must be done! And you've just sold me on it all over again, Jenny.

    I'm glad it doesn't cut off in the middle of a sentence. (ANYTHING is considered a cliffhanger in fantasy, so I understand completely what you mean by that. I don't treat those as cliffhangers. I treat them just as you do - as logical places to stop.) And I'm glad that what I've seen of Etta and her lack of woe-is-me seems to continue throughout the rest of the book, based on your review.

    Off to read more. Must. Learn. All.

    - Lexie

  11. I love the concept behind this book! I think, based on Alexandra's other books, that it will be intense and so so great! I've heard nothing but amazing things in all the reviews I've read [your's included ;)] and I cannot wait to get my grubby hands on a copy!

    Great review!

  12. I think describing it as a 'pause' is a good description of the end. It made sense for the book. I'm glad you enjoyed this one as well!

  13. I've been eagerly anticipating this book for some time and I love all the wonderful things you have to say about it. I'm happy that you don't think the ending was a completely cliffhanger--but rather a pause. It definitely makes me feel better going into this one. Lovely review!

  14. I really need to read this one. That sounds like a book I would so enjoy. I'm also intrigued... you didn't see it quite as a cliffie. Man I do need to read this one. You have me already wanting the next! You are bad for my budget. :)

  15. I've always been an 'iffy' reader when it comes to time travel, and since I've yet to enjoy a book by this author, I'm just not so sure about this one. Glad you enjoyed it!

  16. Ahhh I want to read this so much! It's not in my usual field, but I love the author. Glad you liked it, Jenny!

  17. I can't wait!! I love her Darkest Minds series!
    Mary G Loki

  18. I'm so excited for this read - love the concept of time travel in it. I like the pause of action rather than cliffie as well. I'm so happy you enjoyed Passenger and I'm hoping I love it as much. Can I just stare at the cover a while longer?? :)

  19. YAY! So glad to hear you also loved this one! I'm so eagerly awaiting my finished copy of this one to read and see how it compares with the ARC I read (and loved!).

  20. Some bloggers have commented the slow pace of this book in the beginning, but it doesn't seem you had that issue. I haven't read anything by this author but I think this premise sounds really fun. I'm also really happy that you don't consider the ending as a cliffhanger which a really nice bonus. I'll have to read this one soon.

  21. I absolutely can't wait to read the Passenger! I love the sound of Etta's determination in her character as well as the quiet slow burn romance. And of course, the time travel concept!

  22. One of my favorite reads! Glad you loved this!