“Passenger”: Book Review

By: Mary Masterson

We all love time travel. I mean, look at “Doctor Who,” but what if your family was capable of creating portals through time? In the book “Passenger” by Alexandra Bracken, Etta Spencer is faced by the harsh reality that her mother is a time traveler, and is pitted against the legendary Ironwoods, who patrol the thousands of years of human history.

Etta Spencer went from violinist to time traveler in a night, pulled from her debut by Sophia Ironwood. She finds herself in eighteenth-century America, and is forced into a deal by the Grand Master, the head of the Ironwood family. But Etta decides to go against the Grand Master and search for the mysterious object he so desperately wants, to keep it for herself. When escaping, she is accompanied by Nicholas Carter, an African-American ship captain. He helps her on her journey, and without him, she would’ve failed.

One of the main things that immediately drew me into the pages of this book is because Etta is a violinist, music is a large part of her life, and throughout the story Bracken incorporates many comparisons to music, which is something I can relate to.

Nicholas is a very inspiring character. Because of his background, he is denied many privileges and is often ridiculed for his skin color. Despite these setbacks, he makes a name for himself on the high seas, commanding a ship and crew. Etta is a very fierce and strong female character, not afraid to state her opinions, and is not intimidated easily  by the sexist men of the 1700s.

Given the circumstances, and the action thrown into the book, for most authors it is hard to pull off a plausible romance, but Bracken managed to write a beautiful love story between Etta and Nicholas. Etta, being from 2015, doesn’t understand Nicholas’s fear of what society would think if she chose to be with him. She tries to show him he is worth more than their opinions and is determined to make a life with him.

Throughout the book there are plot twists and harrowing circumstances that the characters are put through, and for the most part, this book had me captivated. While it left me in tears and on the verge of frustration at the ending of a cliffhanger, it has become one of my  favorite books of 2016. I definitely recommend this book to those who like time travel and plenty of action.