Sunday, 10 April 2016

Book Review: Passenger; Alexandra Bracken.

This was a book that, given it's topic of Time Travel and good reviews, I had been looking forward to reading. Unfortunately, now that I've read it, it really wasn't a book that I enjoyed all that much.

SOURCE: Netgalley
TYPE: E-Read

TITLE: Passenger
AUTHOR: Alexandra Bracken
SERIES: Passenger (#1)
PUBLISHER: Disney Hyperion
PAGES: 464
GENRE: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Historical Fiction

RATING: 2.5/5 Stars

Blurb:
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 travelled 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 traveller 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.

What I Liked:
  • One of the saving graces of this book was one of the duel narratives: Nicholas. He was definitely the most likeable of all the characters and even better, he was African-American. Seeing as a lot of the story was set in eras where Racism was a huge thing, it made the story mildly tolerable because of this extra detail. Diversity in YA is a really big deal to me so it was nice to see that Bracken had included a good dose of it in 'The Passenger'.
What I Disliked:
  • As much as I had high hopes for this novel, it was quite a lot of work to read. I ended up skimming quite a lot of it and putting it down frequently because though Bracken's writing was actually pretty good, it lacked any form of personality to keep me gripped. The world-building was kind of confusing, the info-dumping tiresome and the conversations far too stilted (there was a lot of stuttering from the characters, so much space could have been saved if Bracken had got to the point). Generally, I spent most of this novel confused. Not just because I was skimming, but because the huge amount of information that Bracken would unload now and again made little to no sense. She did do a lot of research for the various time periods that Etta and Nicholas visited, but then spent absolutely no time in each of them which was sad.
  • The characters weren't awful. I was just disappointed to find so little development. I thought that Sophia had potential but she spent hardly any time in the novel and in the end her 'villainous' role made me roll my eyes. I wanted to see more progress made between her and Etta. In a way, I wanted a strange sort of friendship to form and it looked like it would to begin with, but alas it never went further. Etta herself was no dainty Mary-Sue but she was a tad irritating and her overall reaction to the situation she was in was far too unrealistic. Anyone who woke up dazed, held hostage and in a completely different century would be freaking out not 'playing along'.
  • Everyone knows I don't like insta-love, and it came in bucket-loads here! From the moment that Nicholas and Etta laid eyes on each other there was something 'special' between them and suddenly they implicitly trusted each other no matter what. That kind of feeling didn't make an awful lot of sense, I would have preferred a slower build between them.
Overall Conclusion:
I'm so disappointed that I didn't love this book more, especially as it had such a good premise. But such a long-winded blurb should have warned me that the book would be exactly the same and the worst part is that it could have been so easily avoided. Cut out the moments when Etta and Nicholas couldn't say more than "I...you...but" to each other and you'd save at least fifty pages! If the world-building hadn't been dumped on me in such a confusing way and the page space had been taken up by more time spent in the awesome, well-researched historical locations that the duo visited and developing the relationship properly. This was not a terrible book, it just wasn't a great one for me.