Book Review: PASSENGER by Alexandra Bracken

Passenger mixes time travel with relationship building, however there were some bumps along the way

Having not read any previous books by Alexandra Bracken, I was curious to see how I would take to Passenger, especially since her Darkest Minds trilogy seemed to have a popular following, and also her Star Wars novel was apparently well taken. But after having read this, I’m not sure her writing style is exactly to my liking.

Now, my 3-star rating is really more like 3.5 stars if I’m to be more accurate, but I couldn’t quite put it in the 4-star category.

The overview that you see on the back of the book (or in the jacket) probably isn’t quite as detailed as it could be, but then again, it is something that gives readers a nice reveal in the story.

The story is told from two points of view – Henrietta “Etta” Spencer and Nicholas Carter – in third person. I didn’t mind getting the story from two characters, and I was fine with both. However, I’m not sure if telling it in third person was best for this story. Normally, writing in third person vs. first person isn’t a problem, but it was almost as if Bracken wanted to write it in the first person and instead forced herself to write in third. Or maybe it was just all of the rhetorical questions that she had throughout the book that made it seem that she wanted to write it in first person.

Now, when I first read the overview, I immediately thought that this might be somewhat of an Outlander for YA. However, it was something a little more different than that. Yes, there is time travel involved, and a lot of it, but as you read along, you’ll find it has a hint of Doctor Who involved, too. I won’t go further than that to explain it. But I do like the idea of the time traveling established in this story.

The two main characters, unfortunately, are not anyone that I really found I felt close with or had a connection with. But that’s not to say they aren’t interesting. They are interesting in the fact that I don’t find a connection with. They do things that I probably wouldn’t do, which can be either a good or bad thing depending on the situation. At times, because I didn’t find a connection with them, I definitely struggled to get into the story at times. I should say that I’m not a huge fan of historical fiction, which this story deals with several times throughout the story.  Having said that, those who are really into historical fiction may find this more along their reading palette.

As far as action goes, there’s some in there, but I wouldn’t consider it action-packed. There’s a significant amount of drama, though, and quite a good amount of inner monologue as well as the rhetorical questions, which I mentioned earlier. For me, I found the rhetorical questions and some of the inner monologue excessive in that it was as if the author felt she needed to explain everything that the character was thinking instead of having us readers come out our own conclusions by what was already explained in the story. This is why I wondered if Bracken should’ve just written the story in first person.

Passenger trailer - Nicholas

One thing I did take an interest in is that Nicholas is a person of color and Etta is not, and we get to see how that relationship plays out. Considering when and where the story takes place, Bracken gives us some insight as to how these two together might look to people from a different time, and how it affects them on a personal level.

One of the major issues for me other than the rhetoric was the pacing, which was just a little slow, and thus was the reason it took me longer than I wanted to take in finishing the book. Like I said, there was a good amount of inner monologue that maybe slowed down the story. But again, I’m not a big, big fan of historical fiction, so some things that happened in history that was part of the story maybe just lost me a bit.

Still, there’s certainly enough adventure and intrigue with the Passenger story and the two main protagonists that peaked my interest in seeing how things will go in the next book(s).

**Passenger was given courtesy of Disney-Hyperion in exchange for my honest review.**

My Grade: B-

Passenger comes out on Tuesday, January 5, 2016.


By Molly

Molly is a proud Canadian who is currently attending university in Scotland. She loves to read, write, watch films, and talk about Sarah J. Maas books. If not snuggled up with a book, Molly can usually be found tapping at the dance studio, or writing yet another essay.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.