Friday, 27 May 2016

Review | Passanger, by Alexandra Bracken

What You Need To Know:
Title: Passanger
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Number of Pages: 464
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Time Travel, Historical Fiction
Standalone/Series: First Book in the Passanger Series
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publication: 5th January, 2016

The Plot:
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.

My Thoughts:
I really didn't know how I was going to feel about this book when I picked it up. I haven't read anything by her before (I know sacrilege) but I wanted to give it ago. I knew nothing about this expect for it being about time travel and it was rather exciting to discover what could happen.

"It's our choices that matter in the end. Not wishes, not words, not promises."

Passenger is a historical time travelling adventure that revolves around 17 year old Etta Spencer who is completely unaware that her family are time travellers. Etta has to learn about how to survive as a traveller - from fitting in with new time periods to discovering and navigating various passages - all the while answering to the tyrant Cyrus Ironwood; Grand Master of travellers.

"In the whole course of history, war had always fallen on the shoulders of the young."

For the most part, I enjoyed Etta as a heroine. She was strong willed and had a large personality. Yes her constant talking did get a little bit annoying at times, especially when she likened everything to concerts and sympathises. But I loved the fact that she was discovering at the same time as us because her reactions were the same as ours (for somethings) and that just really made me happy! Overall I do think she was a rather enjoyable character. Yes she did have some annoying qualities but for me that made her realistic. No one is perfect in real life. Everyone has that one little quality that annoys the hell out of you. So, yeah, it made her realistic.

"There are rules, but rules may be rewritten if only one hand holds the ink."

And of course there has got to be a romance, it wouldn't be a young adult novel without a romance. May I introduce Nicholas Carter, a freed slave turned privateer from the late 1700s. It is he who is sent to protect Etta (and ensure that she doesn't go back on her deal) and immediately I knew that I would like his character. The prologue of the novel is set in his point of view and it instantly hooked my attention. He was interesting and I could relate to him. Not to mention that I had this sudden joy of reading a diverse main cast of characters since this is something that is barely viewed in Young Adult and Bracken acknowledged what life would have been like for him in during the different times! I praise you for that, Ms Bracken.

"What a privilege it was to never feel like you have to take stock of your surroundings, or gauge everyone's reactions to the colour of your skin."

The development of Etta and Nick's relationship was beautiful. They learnt about each other and then they began to fall in love; a slow-burn (realistic) love. The honesty that the two have with each other and the courage that they have to speak their minds was magnificent. They grew together and Etta was a better person with him (a lot less annoying and more inquisitive).  Etta and Nick faced a relationship that panned the through several different times, including the different stereotypes that could affect them negatively, whilst discovering each other. It was perfectly done.

 "She didn't need a protector or a rescuer. But she did need him."

Time travel is something that any author can really mess up. It's fine if it is set in the future or a world with a history different but when it is set in our own world, the author needs to do a lot of research or else things will get a confusing and unbelievable. Thankfully, this was not the case with this book. Alexandra Bracken obviously did her research before starting to write this book because every aspect felt realistic. I found every single chapter believable and the scenes were breathtaking. Really it's something that I could worship it's that well written.

"This was the danger, the seduction of time travel, she realised - it was the opportunity, the freedom of a thousand possibilities of where to live and how to start over. It was the beauty open to you in your life if you only stopped for a moment to look."

Although this was a story about adventure, I found that there was very little action involved. Sure there was some but really there was very little involved. Mainly it included a lot of vocal drama with quite a lot of internal monologues as well as rhetorical questions. Now I get that Etta was learning everything at the same time as us but I felt that this was fairly excessive at times. Maybe Bracken should have written the novel in first person so that it wouldn't seem as if she was dumbing everything down. But hey, that might just be me looking too deep into something.

Even though I have been a harsh critic of this book, I did enjoy it. It was an incredibly good book, unlike anything I've ever read, but it wasn't flawless. But I sort of but those flaws to the side for the moment and gave it

Book Total of 2016 - 39