ARC Review: Passenger (Passenger #1) by Alexandra Bracken


Series: Passenger #1
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Published April 7th 2016 by Quercus Children's Books

Goodreads Synopsis
In one devastating night, 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 travelled not just miles but years from home.

 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. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, his passenger, can find.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveller who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods' grasp. But as they get closer to their target, treacherous forces threaten to separate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home forever.

I received an Advance Reader Copy via NetGalley. This in no way impacted on my view.

I first heard about Passenger around Christmas time last year, not long before it US release. I'd never read anything by Bracken before, but had her previous series on my bookshelves. When I heard that Quercus were publishing the book in the UK, I immediately request an ARC, and preordered it. Because of uni, I wasn't able to read the book as quick as I'd hope, but when I finally did, it lived up to all my expectations.

In Passenger, Henrietta 'Etta' Spencer is a violin prodigy, set to perform at the Met in New York. During her performance, she is dragged through a time portal, as she is the missing link to discover a lost artifact to create new time portals. Etta discovers that her life is irrevocably intertwined with this new world, as her mother was the one who stole and hid the artifact in question. Everyone is out to get her, simply because of her family history, except for Nicholas, a PoC captain, who is dealing with the prejudices that come with living in the 18th century. He has his own connection to the powerful Ironwood family, whom basically control all the portals, and have spies in every era of history. Etta and Nicholas have to travel space and time to retrieve the artifact, while also having their own goals. As the journey becomes more perilous, Etta realises that she might not just fail, but she might also be separated from her own times zone, and family, forever.

I loved the settings of this book. I've read a few time travel books, most particularly the Firebird series, and love seeing all the different eras in one book. Etta and Nicholas visit so many different places, and times, that it was just a rush. My favourite was definitely WW2 era London, especially the way Bracken perfectly described how the Blitz was, down in the shelters. 

One thing that was a definite plus for this book was the alternating PoVs of Etta and Nicholas. They had such different experiences and opinions, that it wouldn't have been enough to just have one or the other. As they worked together more and more, their feelings for each other grew, and I loved the romance. It was slow burning, and each had their own reservations about it all, especially due to the social norms of the different periods they were in, and of those they grew up in.

The book, be warned, does end with quite the cliffhanger. I was kept on the edge of my seat right to the last line, and nearly cried when I realised there was no more. It wasn't helped by the fact I'd been sat on the tarmac, on a delayed plane, for a few hours either.

I haven't read any of Bracken's other books, but do have her Darkest Minds series on my shelves. Now that I've seen how wonderful her writing and stories are, I'll be getting to those books as soon as I have time. I can't wait to get my hands on Wayfarer, especially after that cliffhanger, and to see how Etta's story ends.

Dates Read:
June 23-26, 2016

4 Stars

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