You know how sometimes you’ll pick up a book you only know a tiny bit about but expect to be enjoyable? And then you start reading the book and realize that it’s so much more than you expected and that you’re having too much fun to put the book down? That’s how Passenger by Alexandra Bracken was for me. I’m always down for a fun, time travel story back to Colonial times (blame it on Felicity being my favorite American Girl growing up) but this gave us time travel through a lot of time periods and a pair of throughly enjoyable protagonists.
But let us backtrack for a moment. Passenger is about a violin prodigy named Etta Spencer who gets thrown not only backwards in time but also into a family conflict that spans thousands of years. Whether she likes it or not, she’s now on the hunt across the ages for a very powerful object with only days to find it and her only help is from a man named Nicholas Carter who may or may not be on her side.
Etta’s realistic attitude towards being trust into this mess is refreshing. She’s not immediately an expert at whatever time she finds herself in and her initial reaction to finding herself on a ship in Colonial times immediately after experiencing a tragedy is refreshingly honest. Her friendship with Nicholas evolves naturally as does their romance. (Speaking of which, there are no love triangles here!) Nicholas is another well-rounded character. He too feels out of place but for reasons that are most definitely framed within his time period. Bracken doesn’t brush all the prejudices against Nicholas under the rug but rather uses them to influence what sort of person he is.
Another thing that makes this book so fun is that I never knew where (or when) Etta and Nicholas might find themselves next. The story isn’t restricted to just the Western World and actually peaked my interest in these other areas of history.
Fair warning! Passenger ends on a bit of a cliffhanger and, if you get as caught up in the story as I did, you’ll likely lament that Wayfarer isn’t in your hands yet. And if that’s not a sign of a good book, I don’t know what is.