A shippy, time-traveling adventure you don’t want to miss.

I received this book for free from Disney Hyperion. This in no way affected my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

A shippy, time-traveling adventure you don’t want to miss.
Passenger #1

Written by: Alexandra Bracken
Published by: Disney Hyperion
Release date: January 5th 2016
Genres: Historical Fiction, Romance, Sci-Fi, Young Adult
Pages: 464
Source: Publisher
Buy: B&N, Amazon, Book Depository
Add on: Goodreads
Also by this author: The Darkest Minds, Never Fade

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.


If there are two things (well, technically three) whose combination can get me immediately interested in a book, they’re time travel and ships — both the nautical and relationship kind. 😉 So if you’re like me, and you think Passenger‘s synopsis sounds like something up your alley… you definitely need to pick up this book.

Beyond ships and time travel, though, what I need in a book is great characters, and I loved the characters in Passenger — they’re so believable, and so easy to relate to and empathize with. Etta, a violin prodigy, is whisked back in time against her will, and is told she has to find a certain powerful artifact . . . or else. Nicholas wants nothing more than a life at sea and freedom from his ‘family’, but he gets pulled into Etta’s search regardless. The two of them form an immediate bond, and their relationship makes perfect sense, despite their different home-time-periods. Nicholas’s upbringing has shaped him in a way that he doesn’t see Etta’s ‘futuristic’ sensibilities as odd or sensational, but as admirable and right, which I adored. The two of them have a lot in common personality-wise, and their attraction, while quick, made complete sense. And not only that, but hello chemistry. 😍 The two of them have a fantastic connection, and I loved them together.

Passenger‘s pacing was quick and twisty and exciting, and the plot was a whole lot of fun, despite dealing with some more serious topics (which I’ll mention below). Time travel is one of my favorite things, and I thought Passenger utilized it really well. The plot carried on like a timey-wimey scavenger hunt, which I had my reservations about… It could’ve turned into a go here, figure out clue, repeat pattern, but Bracken’s engaging characters and their journey through different time periods, each painted so vividly, made this book completely unputdownable. I had no problem flying through its pages.

Etta’s and Nicholas’s partnership, and the bounce-to-different-time-periods nature of the plot, also made it necessary to explore what it was like for women and people of color in these different time periods. Wherever and whenever they go, Etta and Nicholas always have to be aware of what would stick out as anachronistic in their behavior. Bracken doesn’t shy away from the realities of the different times, and it was really eye-opening and (rightly) sometimes upsetting to see some of the attitudes of the past portrayed. Major props to Bracken for dealing with these important topics.

In conclusion…

Passenger is a fantastic start to this series! Super solid, super fun, majorly swoony — pretty much exactly what I wanted it to be. In true Alex Bracken fashion, it does end on a bit of a cliffhanger (or at least a “no why would you end it there?!?!” moment), but that’s no reason to wait to pick this up. If you’re a fan of time travel and romance, you really cannot miss this one.

And as an extra incentive — I usually don’t care one way or the other about book trailers, but this one is so understated and lovely and just yes. So here, have a trailer:

18 thoughts on “A shippy, time-traveling adventure you don’t want to miss.

  1. Even more excited to read this now. I love a time travelling scavenger hunt but the fact that it’s not just “easily find clue then leave” is exciting. And I like the fact that it has more historical elements like how the characters would be viewed and what it was like at the time. *wills preorder to arrive faster* Great review!

    • YESSSS. All the different locations/times were so well done; even though there was a bit of a pattern to it, it never felt boring. I really really, enjoyed it! Hurry up, Cassi’s preorder!!!

  2. Oh, I LOVED Passenger. I absolutely LOVED it! I thought Alex did an incredible job talking about time travel, and with her characters, and I can’t wait for more!

  3. When time travel is done well and the characters and plot are engaging, it can be so much fun, despite the inherent head-scratching paradoxes that are bound to arise. Sounds like Alexandra Bracken carries it off quite well in Passenger! I’ve been seeing lots of good things for this one. And thanks for sharing the trailer, it’s the first time I’ve seen it, and I agree – simple but effective!

  4. I do love the trailer and the way they hint at the plot of the book! Lovely trailer :) Also, loved Alexandra Bracken’s Brightly Woven!! She does character building and chemistry really well!

  5. Time travel + romance is basically a recipe for a ME book. I have this to read next, hopefully before the end of the year so I’m excited! I’m glad that it was fun and swoony and you enjoyed it so much! I can’t wait :)

  6. I haven’t read the author’s last series, but I’m super excited for this one. I’m only more excited after reading your review because guess what, time-travel and ships are two of my favorite things as well! It’s great that the author incorporated important themes into the novel, and I can’t wait to see how it’s incorporated into the novel. I’m glad you enjoyed this one!

  7. I totally agree with all of this! I really appreciated how Alex Bracken dealt with how women and people of colour were treated throughout different time periods; I think it is something that should be brought up more. I’m super excited for Wayfarer! Great Review!

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