Book Review: Passenger 

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken Series: Passenger (Book #1)
Page51afaikvufl-_sx331_bo1204203200_s: 496 pages
Genre: Fantasy, Time Travel, Adventure, Young Adult
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion, January 2016

Link: Amazon
Overall Rating: 4/5 stars

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.


This book is unique. I’ve never read anything like it. Time travel intrigues me and Etta traveled across centuries and continents. I felt a surge of happiness and excitement every time I flipped to a page telling me the place and year Etta and Nicholas traveled to. It was five mini history lessons in one book. I learned each century’s standards and their dress code.

I thought Angkor was in Thailand at first. I was skimming through the pages to check if I was right. I wasn’t. Angkor is in Cambodia. The capitol of Thailand is Bangkok. You can see a resemblance in how the two cities are spelled. The pages before gave hints as to where Etta and Nicholas traveled to. It had ‘stone figures with faces’. I remember seeing stone figures in Thailand. Skimming through the pages, I saw ‘elephant’ and ‘tiger’. Elephant tourism is popular in Thailand and my brother posed next to a tiger for a picture. You can now see why I mistaken Thailand to Cambodia. Fun fact: ”Elephants were celebrated for their memory.” (page 338, Bracken)

Etta being a violin prodigy is a great addition to the book. Playing an instrument is a pleasurable way to express yourself. Etta practices six hours a day. When she didn’t have a violin with her, she imagined playing one. That’s when you know you’re passionate about playing.

There are two quotes that I thought fit well with the title:

”They were two ships sailing in opposite directions, having met for a short time in the middle of the voyage.” (pg 304, Bracken)

”She needed to be at the helm of her life – not a passenger, constantly at her mother’s mercy.” (pg 480, Bracken)

Going back to the three definitions of passage, I find that Bracken including all of them into the book is very creative.

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.

What do you think about Passenger? Are you going to read the next book? 🙂 Let me know!


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