Passengerby Alexandra Bracken
YA Fantasy / Historical Fiction
4 of 5 stars

I am so embarrassed that it took me six months to get to this book! Busy season (aka tax season) at work happened, then my revisions and reading ban happened, and then Leviosa Con happened and I just HAD to at least start reading this beautiful thing!

Dystopian books aren’t really my jam, so I never got around to picking up The Darkest Minds series that Bracken is so well known for, but this one is about time-travel so obviously I was sucked in immediately! Etta has spent her entire life preparing to make her debut as a professional violinist, but those dreams come crashing down onstage when she finds herself dragged (quite literally) into a mysterious portal and transported to a ship at sea in 1776. From there we learn about time-traveling families, preserving (or altering) the timeline and everything that can go wrong. Throw in the Godfather-esque leader of the families, handsome sailor Nicholas Carter, and a quest for a magical astrolabe that can create new passages (instead of just monitoring the existing ones) and you have an amazing quest that makes it feel like you’re traveling from your couch. (I love this feeling because actual traveling is expensive). And the END – bonus points for an incredible and torturous ending!

The level of research and detail that went into each era and setting boggles my mind but I expected this level of excellence since Bracken was a history major. No slip-ups with what a character would or wouldn’t know, a sensitive handling of religious and racial differences throughout history, and characters with deep-rooted and conflicting motivations that brought about satisfying clashes throughout the plot—this is a lovingly detailed book that creates wistfulness for the past and hope for the future at the same time. I love how it highlights that every era is imperfect—there is no golden age, but that’s okay.

The middle felt a little slow, mostly because the characters need a break from the constant chase/no sleep but even those scenes are satisfying because of the dialogue. The bulk of the story moves along at a good pace, which is hard to do when so much description is required.

I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book and where we get to travel! I know wherever we go it will feel like I can breathe it in.

If you’d like to see more reviews or buy a copy for yourself, Passenger is available on Goodreads and on Barnes & Noble’s website here. Please consider supporting your local bookstore!

Similar reads:

  • The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig – This time-travel story debuted earlier this year, and though it didn’t happen to be my cup of tea, I think anyone who wants to continue on a time-travel kick should pick it up! Nix’s father sails a ship to any time (real or imaginary) based on the maps he collects. Nix helps him in his quests, despite knowing what her father wants to do is undo his wife’s death by returning before Nix is born—and possibly erasing her existence in the process.
  • The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi  – Not technically time-travel, but this is a beautiful story about a girl with a cursed horoscope that finds herself caught between the human and the Otherworld in a mystery that involves lifetimes. See my review here.
  • Gates of Thread and Stone by Lori M. Lee – Kai has always been able to see and manipulate the threads of time, but when her adopted brother goes missing, she is drawn into a quest to find him that will change everything she knows about her true identity. See my review here.
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle – A classic time-travel book involving time and space dimensions and one girl’s quest for her missing father. Pick this up if you love time-travel at all, it is so good!
  • A Tale of Time City by Diana Wynne Jones – One of the best fantasy writers of our time tackles time-travel in a unique way. Time City is built on a patch of space outside of time, and its residents are charged with overseeing the cycle of history. But when the timeline begins to crumble, two boys pluck Vivian Smith from Twenty Century to help them save it. Except they got the wrong Vivian, and now they have to save the timeline anyway! So good and will squeeze your brain.
  • Old Magic by Marianne Curley – When Kate and Jerrod meet there’s an actual lightning storm—in their classroom. Kate must convince the skeptical Jerrod that he has magical powers, and that the curse that has dogged his family is something they will need to travel to the past to fix. This is a fun read you’ll breeze through in a few hours.
  • Abarat by Clive Barker – Candy Quackenbush of Chickentown, U.S.A. is bored to death until a wave carries her from our world to the world of the Abarat, where every island is an hour of the day and a dark power is threatening to destroy it all. Weird but interesting portal fantasy with incredible artwork!
  • Truthwitch by Susan Dennard – A nonstop quest with a cast of compelling characters (though not time-travel). Safi is a truthwitch, able to tell truth from lies, an ability coveted by almost everyone. She and her best friend Iseult try to figure out who to trust as they evade the different kingdoms that want to claim Safi’s power for their own. See my review here.
  • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo – The ultimate heist story! Six criminals band together to capture and destroy a power that could end their world, but they all have different motivations that might tear them apart. See my review here.

4 Comments (+add yours?)

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