I purchased Passenger by Alexandra Bracken (this is the first book I’ve read of hers) because it was praised by a few book-reviewers I respected at the time. Personally, I feel like historical fiction/time-traveling novels are super popular because of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander, which I read a couple of chapters of and got really bored of (maybe I’ll try again later). That should’ve been my first clue as to the fact that a) I don’t really care about historical fiction, and b) unless the time-travel is really interesting, I don’t really care about that either.

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken Review by Foxy Readers

Goodreads summary:

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.

My Review


Yawn. It’s a shallow story about love/revenge/family feuds/pure bloodlines that was written in such a surface-level manner and with so much tedious, unnecessary detail that it just plain wasn’t good. I didn’t care about the plot because I didn’t care about the characters.


Yeah so, yeah. I think it all boils down to the writing style but everything was so shallow. There was no depth at all to this story and so I didn’t ever care about any of the characters. The one redeeming quality is that the male-lead love-interest was half-African so at least there was a little diversity there?


Awful, because – yup, you guessed it – the writing style sucked. This whole book was filler. And not even the good filler, where you learn more about the main characters and their demons and weaknesses and strengths and their inner fire – it was all here’s three paragraphs of description of this dress and here’s unnecessary historical information for a place the characters will be in for all of ten minutes and boring, drawn-out backgrounds for minor characters we don’t see again. Descriptions where they weren’t needed, and a lack of descriptions where the overall composition of the book would have benefitted. This book was far too long.


It’s cute that Etta plays the violin. However, for something that’s such an important role in her life it adds nothing to the story. Especially for it to have been so strongly highlighted at the beginning. Also, particularly when I feel like it’s something she’s never going to revisit in the rest of the series. It doesn’t contribute to the plot at all. Plus, near the end of the story she literally said that she can’t imagine herself going back to her old life.

And like, I get that she’s allowed to have a life before the plot begins but when you make her interests so unnecessary and non-plot-contributing, there’s no need to mention it. Sure she loved to play violin, but she probably also loved certain foods and maybe she was fond of visiting certain museums. My point is that literally any of these things could’ve defined her “before” world. There’s no specific reason Bracken chose the violin as Etta’s main interest. Because it has nothing to do with the plot.


I just didn’t think very highly of this story. It was boring, to put it plainly. There were redeeming qualities, like a minority male-lead. Plus, it was obvious that Bracken did a lot of research into various historical periods. I just didn’t care about it personally.


I give Passenger 2.5/5 stars.


Day 10 of my 14 Day Reading Challenge is complete woohoo! Just 4 more days haha…

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