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 Review is Non-Spoiler!*
This book was so hyped up before it was even released at the start of 2016, and I saw it everywhere on BookTube. That’s not why I picked it up, though. The synopsis promised an action-packed read with time-travelling pirates. I’ve been searching for both a time-travelling book and a pirate book, so this book should’ve been a 5 star read for me. Too bad it lacked in a lot of aspects for me. Whether it was the writing or the plot, this book wasn’t what it made itself out to be.
Throughout the novel, Bracken gives us all little hints and bits of information about the world that our characters are set in. She unveils rules concerning the time-travelling and the information about the clashing families throughout the book, but it’s done in a way that’s way too much information for this one book. I’m a huge fan of fantasy and have read a couple of high fantasy novels, so I’m used to new information getting thrown at me, but I think Passenger went a little bit too crazy with the information given about the world, especially for a YA book. It would’ve been better if Bracken left out some of the information that she gave us, and instead explored it in the sequel, because balance is something that really could’ve saved this book for me.
Aside from the bad, I think Bracken did really well with the world development of each different time-zone and location as her characters traveled through time and space. It’s not often that I’m able to actually visualize a location that I’ve never visited like I had with this book. Bracken is a master at describing locations, with a rich imaginative detail that oftentimes sent shivers down my spine. Now that saved this book for me.
Etta Spencer is our protagonist. She’s a violinist who is pressured by her mother to push herself to the edge in order to be the best that she possibly can. Her mother has always been distant for her, but one day something happens to her while she’s at a violin recital/competition and her world is turned upside down. I won’t exactly say what happens, but it does have to do with her mother.
Now, for our leading man, we have the ever-so-handsome Nicholas Carter. I would’ve swooned over him if he didn’t go all doe-y eyed the second he saw Etta. Carter is a pirate (finally a book about time-traveling pirates! Ergh I had been waiting for this for way too long), who’s often discriminated because of the dark color of his skin. I believe he’s mixed, his mother was a slave and then his father… I’m not sure, I can’t remember.
Anyway, he was sort of brought up by a Captain and raised on a ship as that Captain’s own. I really wish that Carter’s actions weren’t effected by his immediate googly-eyes for our protagonist, because frankly, I thought this book might’ve ended up being different than all other YA books. Or maybe that was just what I was hoping would happen. The romance killed this book for me. It was too rushed, and I just honestly for once didn’t want the main girl character to get together with the main guy character. I applaud Bracken for making a mixed race couple, but it was just way too soon for them. I don’t count this as a spoiler because honestly, this is what seems to happen in 98% of YA books out there.
Aside from our main characters, there were a few villains as well. I mean, what’s a good story without a deviating villain? There were the Ironwood clan who are intimidating to say the least, and although I didn’t understand all of why they were doing what they were doing, or their history, they were still good villains. Again, there was just so much information and history thrown at me all at once through this book, I don’t remember nearly enough of it. I also marked this book as DNF a few months back before I decided to come back to this book and finish it, and that was mainly due to the droning on and on of characters. Bracken needs to learn how to balance out the information she gives, because it ruins the novel for me as a whole and makes it seem like the encounters the characters have with each other is specifically just so the reader finds out more information. I get that, but it was used way too much in this book.
The good thing about this book – or shall I say, the saving grace – was the plot and story-line throughout this book. The plot flowed nicely and new events were unraveled perfectly. The characters were just as in the dark as we were and I liked that aspect. I won’t say much about the plot, since this review is non-spoiler, but I do like how the plot focused on Etta finding her mother. It shows just how driven she is. Etta is definitely a Gryffindor.
Have you read this book? If so, what’re your thoughts on it? Do you agree or disagree with me? Let me know in the comments below!