book review · books · shanti

I’m a PASSENGER on this ship

Hi Virtually Readers! I made the highly sensible life choice about a month ago to buy Passenger. It had gotten a lot of hype, and I’m glad to say it was deserved hype. The story definitely isn’t unputdownable/fast-paced, but it’s still lots of fun. Etta was a bit of stereotypical character, but overall the settings, the adventure, and the relationships between the characters drew me to the story and kept me there.


Etta Spencer is a violin prodigy. When tragedy strikes and a mysterious power tied closely to her musical abilities manifests, Etta is pulled back through time to 1776 in the midst of a fierce sea battle.

Her capture was orchestrated by the Ironwoods, the most powerful family in the Colonies. Nicholas Carter, handsome, young, prize master of a privateering ship, has been charged with retrieving and delivering her to the family – unharmed.

Etta learns her fate is entwined with an object of untold value from her past. Ironwood is desperate to secure his future, but Etta must find it first in order to return home. Embarking on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind from a mysterious traveller, the true nature of the object and Ironwood’s dangerous game, could mean the end for Nicholas and Etta …

Passenger is a time travel book. So it makes sense that the settings vary widely. Passenger is set in 18th century New York, second world war London, 17th century Damascus, Angkor Wat and the modern day. These diverse settings were so interesting. (and I’m holding out for India in book two. Let’s face, the other setting I love in books—New Zealand—doesn’t have that much history that’s relevant to the world, even though it’s awesome. ) The quest linked all these settings. I loved how the mystery/search worked in the book. Though time travel is not that unique of a concept, I really liked how it was explained here. The rivers of time seemed quite sensible, as well as the location specific tunnels. Each revolution of the sun will has a strand of time linked to it, so you come out on the same date in a different year. I mean, according to science, time travel isn’t possible (because the amount of mass in the universe is supposed to be constant—so if you time travel, there’s too much mass in one place and not enough in another) Either way, I love historical fiction and the time travel worked really well to create intrigue anywhen and everywhere.

Passenger is, at it’s heart, an adventure story. However, it also is a story of trust, and friendship, gender and cultural barriers and knowing yourself. If you want a really fastpaced book, Passenger might not be for you. It does invest a lot of words in the characterisation of Etta and Nicholas, and describing settings. I didn’t find it riveting all the time, but the action was exciting, and it was by no means hard to read. The adventure is bound by time, because the characters have an agreement they have to fulfil by a certain date (September 30th) The adventure was very dramatic, and I loved how the families alliances and scheming and, for lack of a better word, history, worked together to create tension. The ending was a little lacking… I have this problem that I know people will live if there’s a sequel, and the quest wasn’t really completed, but all the more reason to read the next book, I guess.

I loved the relationships between the characters in Passenger. In the end, they were probably the highlight of the book. Nicholas and Etta are the character’s whose (third person) point of views we hear from, but Sophia, Rose, Cyrus, and to a lesser extent, Julian, feature too. My favourite relationship was certainly the one between Rose (Etta’s mother) and Etta. It was very complex, because as Etta travelled, she discovered more and more about her mother, which made her question everything she thought she knew. Rose is sort of mysterious and a little bit irritating, but she’s such a cool character, and the time travel (almost) chase was very interesting to read about. I loved how Etta’s feelings about her mother levolved through the novel. Etta and Nicholas are obviously the other key relationship. They have different reasons for working together, but they become friends. (and then they kiss, because a male-female relationship never stay platonic in YA). Nicholas is black, and he had a terrible father, and the sea is where he finds freedom. He sort of has an inferiority complex as well, and he has a very defined, 18th century idea of what masculinity is and that women are the weaker sex etc. (but Etta’s headstrong tendencies soon set him straight on that.) Etta is confused about who to trust and who to lie to, and she’s very upset about what happened to Alice (her violin instructor). She also is trying to prioritise the role of violin playing in her life. She’s smart and sassy and passionate about justice. I loved both of the MCs. Cyrus also makes the perfectly creepy villain, and Sophia is this adorable (and a little bit evil), sassy sidekick with conscience issues. Just like in the Darkest Minds books, the characters in Passenger entranced with their complexity as their journey is chronicled over all 480 pages. (yes. Passenger is long).

It’s not the most fast paced, but the time travel, the different settings, the adventure and the amazing characters caused me to adore Passenger. I encourage you to pick it up!

Have you read Passenger? Is it not the most pretty book of them all? What’s a book you read recently with awesome relationships? tell me in the comments.

8 thoughts on “I’m a PASSENGER on this ship

    1. Oh thank you! *blushes* I probably needed to brighten the pictures.. but. I had a lot of fun doing the lettering. Yeah, it was a bit slow, but the characters made it worth it for me. I can see how it’s not really your sorta book though :). I had a great time taking the pictures, so I’m glad you appreciated them 🙂


    1. I really hope you like it. I think the hype has a lot to do with the INTENSE marketing campaign, but it was still really good, so who cares?? I”m really glad you appreciated my review 🙂


  1. With such a cool cover it ought to be a good story, I’m so glad you enjoyed it, I like the photos with the violin too! I actually took a few similar.. well vaguely so, of my sisters new violin.


    1. It’s a truth universally acknowledged that good covers correlate to good stories (and, y’know, awesome design teams at the publishing house). I’m glad you like the photos! Though it’s actually a viola (which is like a big violin).


  2. Such a great review, thank you! I’ve heard tons of things about Passenger, but I haven’t put it on my TBR yet, because, I’m not sure whhy. But I love when books have awesome relationships, and really explore them deeply, without forgetting the whole plot of the story. Thank you for this! 🙂


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