Saturday, January 30, 2016

Review: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Passenger Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Summary: 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


Well, unfortunately this was a bit of a 'blah' book for me.

I really wanted to love this book, I really did. The concept sounds absolutely fascinating - I've always wanted to travel through time, and shows like Road To Avonlea and books like The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle just helped to fuel that fascination with past eras and what it would be like to live in them.

Unfortunately this book just didn't really have much of a spark for me. It didn't hold my attention. I found myself skimming much of the book because I just wanted it to get *on* with it already, which unfortunately is not so good in a book that is the start of a series.

It felt like much of this book was spent moving towards one goal, and that can get a bit tiresome unless you're reading a book that is well plotted and has rich characterization. In theory I should have been very interested in what was going on, because there was a lot of time spent on the run, escaping from other people, going into other times. Yet I just found it a bit lackluster.

The book also suffers from a rather heavy info-dump towards the beginning of the novel. This is trouble that a lot of authors run into when introducing a new world or a new concept - trying to convey all of the details without sort of dumping it all on you. Too little information and readers will be confused, too much information and you get an info-dump where it's pretty obvious that the author is just trying to give you the low-down on this world they're trying to immerse you in.

Unfortunately, the latter is what happened in this book and I found it a bit tiresome. I think with some further drafts and tweaking of the plot this could have been avoided, so it stood out to me as evidence of the writing not being quite as polished as it could have been.

I actually found the main male character - Nicholas - to be far more interesting than Etta. His past is interesting, his motivations are conflicted, he's obviously had to get used to thinking on his feet and taking care of himself. It's just too bad that he ended up overshadowing the main character we're supposed to be rooting for.

In addition to him overshadowing Etta, I also didn't really care all that much for the burgeoning romance between the two of them. I knew it was going to be there, it proceeded as expected, and that was about it, really. There was nothing that moved me, nothing that made my heart surge or even lift a little. It was just your standard YA romance, to be honest.

Now, that's not to say that this book is all bad - it's definitely not. It has a lot of fascinating settings, and the concept is unique and quite engaging. There is a lot of potential here for future books, so I think I'd probably check out a sequel to see if there's been some improvement. This one is just solidly in the 'okay' category, however.

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