Release Date: January 5, 2015
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Page Count: 486 (ARC)
Rating: 5/5 stars (but more like 100000/5 stars)
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
When I first found out that Alex was writing a time travel novel, I freaked out! I absolutely LOVE time travel stories, especially because the series I'm writing now is related to time travel. I knew that PASSENGER would be a book I loved from the moment I heard about it. After all, it's one of my favorite subject matters covered by one of my favorite authors. Having now read it, I can tell you that I love it even more than I thought I would.
PASSENGER captured my heart right from the beginning. It starts off relating the story of a girl named Etta, a violin prodigy living in present-day New York City. Although Etta's world is much like our own, it's fascinating to see the world through the eyes of an incredibly gifted young girl. She sees the world in 4/4; in notes and rhythms and colors and sounds that are so unique, and so beautifully described. From the moment we meet her, we are transported effortlessly into her world. Although she is special, her voice was so easy to connect to right from the start. I had no trouble relating to her, sympathizing with her, or even loving her. I did notice, however, that her voice seemed pretty similar to Ruby, the heroine of Bracken's other series, THE DARKEST MINDS. This is by no means a bad thing, I absolutely loved Ruby and that series as a whole! But I did see a bit of a correlation between those two in the way they spoke, made decisions, reacted to certain events, etc.
But Etta's story is only the beginning. The second person we are introduced to in this novel is Nicholas. And can I just say.... Nicolas is quite the hottie! Bracken has this ability to write wonderful "book boyfriends," as they're called, and Nicholas is no exception! A strong, brave, sailor with witty words and a charming smile... I was hooked instantly! His character, much like Etta, made me feel so warmed and welcomed into this story from the start. Dynamically, they worked together perfectly, fitting together like the perfect puzzle pieces. The way their dialogue was crafted so that they played off of each other with just the right amount of sass, humor, and seriousness (when needed) worked perfectly. Their relationship was complicated, yet strong, and really helped drive the story.
The way that Etta and Nicholas' stories weave together is absolutely beautiful. Through the seemingly effortless, yet incredibly dangerous route of time travel, a boundless love is formed. But don't get me wrong, the story is not just about love. In fact, the romance element takes the back burner of this story, and gives importance to the overall adventure element of the story. I've noticed this to be a consistent theme throughout Bracken's books, and I LOVE it. I love romance as much as the next person, but I don't love when it takes importance over the actual story line. Bracken seems to have developed the perfect recipe to balance both, and it is beautiful.
There are not many books that I read that I can truly say I've loved with every single bit of my heart, but PASSENGER is one of those. Every page, every sentence, every note, every word.... I loved everything about this novel. I could just tell how much passion Bracken put in between each line, and it completely paid off. There is not one dull moment in this book, not one page I would change. The words are perfectly placed, the plot, perfectly crafted. Bracken has not just created art with this novel, she has created a masterpiece of a novel that rivals those written by acclaimed authors such as J.K. Rowling and Jane Austen. In such a short time, she had made an incredible mark on the literature community, and PASSENGER is the perfect testament to that.
It's books like this that remind me why I love reading so much, and furthermore, why I love talking about books. This is a book that I know I won't stop talking about for a long time now. Heck, I may never stop talking about it. It has definitely secured a spot within my list of top ten favorite reads of all time. I would absolutely recommend it to everyone who wants a good book to take them away from the world for a while. It is absolutely stellar, and I cannot recommend it enough.
Huge thank you's go out to Brittany and Dina @ Big Honcho Media and Disney Hyperion for letting me read and review one of my most anticipated 2016 reads in 2015. This is a book that truly speaks to my heart, and a story I will never, ever forget.