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
“The only way out is through.”
My expectation for this book was very high. I mean, I have declared Alex Bracken as my favorite YA author because the Darkest Minds books. So when I started reading this book and didn’t have that gripping feeling of finishing it as soon as I could, I was slightly disappointed. But as I said, my expectations were unnaturally high and that doesn’t in any way mean Passenger was a bad book. It’s a good book. It just isn’t the masterpiece I was expecting it to be. Which, again, isn’t very fair to expect anyway.
It took me a while to get into the book. The first half of the book is mostly world-building and character development, which is great don’t get me wrong, but it’s also dull. I was left confused for the first hundred pages or so and kept wondering what was going on. Now, even though I did have to sludge on through a few chapters because of the heavy description, it’s a known fact that Alex Bracken is a fantastic writer. (Well…known to me at-least). Once I got past the first few chapters, it got A LOT better. I loved reading about the different time periods they traveled to.
Passenger is written in two perspectives: Etta and Nicholas. Etta is a violin prodigy with an eccentric mother who has a very strange ways of showing affection. She has no other family, her mother never talks about Etta’s father. The only other present person in her life beside her mother is her violin instructor: an elderly woman named Alice. Etta is your typical YA female protagonist: smart, stubborn, doesn’t take no for an answer, determined, doesn’t listen to authority figures, prideful and thinks she can do anything alone, etc. But as far as protagonists go, she’s actually pretty cool. She’s confident but isn’t ashamed of accepting help when she needs it.
Nicholas is a black man (or boy, I guess. He’s about 20ish) living in the very racist society of the 1770s. The two perspectives actually sounded like two different people which is a rarity in YA fiction. Nicholas grew up as a slave and his freedom was later bought by a captain of a ship. Coming from a society that judged him openly for his skin color, all Nicholas wanted was complete independence and a ship that he could own.
Their relationship is gradual and doesn’t overpower the plot which is a huge bonus for Bracken. And sadly, Nicholas is one of the only African-American main love interests I’ve encountered in YA so far.
It might seem boring at first, but it does get better. Read it! And if you haven’t already, pick up The Darkest Minds books which are also by Alexandra Bracken.