Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
**Thank you so very much to Disney Hyperion for providing me a digital ARC of this novel via NetGalley for the purposes of review**
I went into this novel with much excitement, but little expectation — despite the fact that I’ve heard a surprisingly large amount about this book. But, let’s be fair: most of what I have heard is quite vague. All I knew was that Alexandra Bracken, author of The Darkest Minds trilogy, had written a time travel novel.
Colour me intrigued.
In any novel about time travel, I make a point of noting that I think the very concept of time travel is a double-edged sword: either the author makes a point of trying to explain the time travel, or they don’t. Whichever path the author chooses, they’ve got to commit to it 100% in order to make me, the reader either: a) completely buy the reasoning for time travel or b) just roll with it and not ask questions.
Ms. Bracken has chosen the latter approach, in that the characters themselves cannot explain exactly how time travel works beyond the very basics of: some families can travel through “passages” in time and space. There are some other rules involving travel past the 1940’s, an astrolabe that everybody wants, and some serious enmity between the families. That’s our set-up, and we’re given just enough to understand, but not so much that we’re wondering why this will be a duology as opposed to a standalone novel. And, oh yes, it needs to be a duology because I demand closure after being left with such an emotionally traumatizing cliffhanger ending.
Passenger takes places all over the world and all over time, but there is a good chunk spent specifically in the 18th century and aboard a naval vessel. That’s right: time travel pirates. Does it get any better?
Yes. Yes it does.
Because the two protagonists are wonderful and their chemistry is dynamite. Etta and Nicholas are a team that I would read about for ages — if only we could have pirate/sailing adventures between the two of them! — and their relationship over the course of Passenger is delightfully heartwarming.
Passenger was swashbuckling time-travel adventure at some of its most delightful, sweeping romance at some of its best, and a cliffhanger that left me dumbstruck.