Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

[Summary from Alexandra Bracken’s website: This time travel duology focuses on the journey of Etta Spencer, a modern Manhattan teen, and Nicholas Carter, of 18th century Manhattan, as they race against time itself to find an object of untold value and save Etta’s future.]

I just finished reading Passenger by Alexandra Bracken, and now I’d like to share my thoughts. The funny thing is I got this book last year from Christmas and now it’s August. It took me a while to start reading it because of school, but when I did it still started off pretty slow. I knew that this book was right up my alley, but I had to get into the alley first before it really started going. I would give this book an all over 8/10 because when it picked up towards the middle, it really picked up. The whole concept of traveling and travelers in the story was well thought out and there were rules and conditions set in place for the travelers. For me it’s really important for a time travel story to also consider the consequences related to time travel, like what would happen if you went back in time and changed something, or if you saw your past/future self. I’m very glad that Alexandra Bracken thought about these questions and addressed them in the book with some probable theories of traveling through time. That’s what really made the book for me. 

The twists and turns of the plot added in the development of the story, and none of it felt entirely out of left field. There were surprises and moments of awe, but nothing that felt unnatural and didn’t fit in with the story. It remained interesting enough with the different places and times they jumped to. 


Looking at character development, Etta felt like she definitely became more flushed out throughout the book. The further I read, the more real she felt. At the beginning it seemed she only had the violin on her mind and Alice, very understandable of course. She had just seen her mentor die before her when she was thrown back in time, became very sick and was in a foreign environment. But it felt like that was all there was to her character. As the story progressed, more backstory of her and her mom was given and her feelings about traveling, her mom, Nicholas, and herself became a lot more jumbled. It felt much more realistic than the one track mind she had began the story with. 

Nicholas. He just seemed too perfect for me, it felt like he didn’t have any real flaws. His greatest flaw, which was just him trying to take care of himself in an era that did the opposite, by lying to Etta so he could be paid by Cyrus and make a good life for himself. Entirely understandable. Although, Etta should have been far more hurt and pissed that he had lied to her and was going to sell her and her mom out to Cyrus and screw up all of time. I feel like that should have been a far bigger deal than it was. She just accepted it and then they made out. 

The ending.

Of course something had to catastrophically go wrong, and we’re dealing with time travel here, so it had to be drastic. I think Alexandra Bracken definitely hit the mark on that. Especially when we thought that Etta had died. When it’s well written and purposeful I’m totally fine with authors killing off their characters. For many readers it comes off as unexpected and even more thrilling. And if it has a true purpose I think it’s a smart and bold move to make. So I was just a tiny bit disappointed that Etta had just been tossed into a different timeline.

Which brings me to my big ending question, are Nicholas and Rose and everyone else now in the alternate timeline and Etta is in the original timeline? Or did Etta get thrown into an alternate timeline and has to deal with the consequences and Nicholas, Rose & Co. are now in the original timeline? And when we say “original timeline” is that to say the one before the Cyrus and the others in the family mess everything up, or is it the true original timeline before anyone messed with it? So many options! So I can’t wait to start reading Wayfarer, the sequel in the series and see which of my possible hypotheses might be correct.

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