Author: Alexandra Bracken
Release Date: 7th April 2016
Time travel seems to be massively in vogue these days. Not two weeks ago I read another book with a massively similarly concept, also out this year. Now Passenger comes along – a hotly anticipated new work from Darkest Minds author Alexandra Bracken.
At first,, I was massively into this book. The whole concept – girl gets stranded in other time and is given some kind of destiny to fulfill – sounds, whilst not original, a whole lot of fun.
However fun is something that Passenger often seems to lack. Often I feel like the book spent so long explaining various relationships, time travel concepts, historical inaccuracies etc. that I could feel my interest wane to, at times, virtually nothing. Several times I’ve had to put Passenger down, coming back when I’m more in the mood to slog through the dull to reach the good.
Because there is some good here. At times the plot takes twists which are really unexpected, and the time periods visited are interesting and well realized. Etta is a fine character, but her relationship with Nicholas (who is mixed race, which is a nice change from the stereotypical all white protagonist boy I’m used to reading about) felt more than a little forced to me. I just didn’t buy into the extreme animal magnetism which Bracken was trying to describe between the two. However I did like Nicholas as a character and would like to see more of him on his own in the future., as well as learn more of his past.
Whilst I would say I enjoyed about 40-50% of this, my main issue was the length. This book is way too long – unnecessarily stretched out with reams of exposition. I think a really good edit would have condensed this down to make it feel more immediate and less “tell don’t show” – as previously stated, there’s a whole lost of explanation. I would have appreciated a more inventive approach to getting points and backstory across that lecture like dialogue.
Overall, I would probably check out the sequel to this, as I think there’s some interesting stuff here. However there needs to be some serious attention paid to what elements of the plot receive what amount of page space – and more importantly a lot less exposition.