passenger by alex bracken

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 was definitely one of my most-anticipated reads of 2016 (not just because of the story, I mean, just look at that beautiful cover) and I´m happy to say I was not disappointed. Passenger is a fun, exciting read, with all the necessary ingredients for an impossible-to-put-down story.

It´s got pirates, time-traveling, various period costumes, violins, romance, kickbutt fights and a whole lot of family drama. Throughout the book, you feel as if you´re traveling with the characters. The amount of detail in the descriptions shows how much effort the author put into research; we get to learn about the several layers of 18th century women´s clothing, about bomb shelters in WWII London and food in Cambodia and so, so much more. I guess you could sort of call this book historical fiction, since it´s impossible to read it and not learn a little bit more about history.

The author also addresses the social issues that come with the different periods; we see Nicholas and Etta fighting against not just assassins, but racism and sexism across the ages. It felt so good to read about a girl who really cares about people and stands up for what she believes in. The story also gave me a whole new perspective on how easy we have it in the 21st century…I mean, we have electricity and running water, we don´t die of fevers and thank God, we have penicillin.

And oh, man, I love how diverse the characters are in this book! This is how stories should be, diverse and full of representation. Etta is strong and if I´m being completely honest, very stable. If I´d been in her place, and just got dropped off in the middle of a gory, bloody pirate fight (Okay, not pirates, privateers), I would have freaked out ten times more than she did. But both her and Nicholas are so stubborn, sometimes I felt like knocking their heads together to see if they´d start making sense (they´re so adorable, though).

It was very nice to Alexandra Bracken´s writing style in a completely different story from the Darkest Minds. She created fresh new characters, settings and plot devices, and proved that she really is an amazing writer (and goodness, that ending nearly broke me). I read it in one sitting, and give it 4.5 out of 5 stars with no hesitation whatsoever.

P.s. Now I´m in a pirate mood…any recommendations?