Instead of a normal Review I am going to turn this into a bit of a love letter, because it’s the first prompt of Blogmas that Swetlana (thecaffeinatedbookwormlife) is doing over on her blog! I am really excited to be joining in for this prompt, as I thought it was really unique. I would not say that Passenger is the favorite of 2017, but it’s on my best-of 2017 shelf!
CW’s: Violence, Mentions of Racism
In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.
Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them—whether she wants to or not.
Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are playing, treacherous forces threaten to separate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home… forever.
Love Letter to Passenger
“It’s our choices that matter in the end. Not wishes, not words, not promises.”
My dear Passenger, I was not sure if I would end up liking you, truth to be told I picked you up from my library pretty randomly for Tome Topple. Now I am glad that I did, because you ended up completely surprising me and filling me with the joy of having found a new favorite book in an unexpected place. I would definitely recommend you to many other people, so they can enjoy your story as much as I have.
Thank you for giving me all of the following things
⌛️ Etta, a fierce, curious fighter. She is our main character and someone who surprised me by how much I ended up liking her. Etta is a great character and I could sympathize with her greatly. Her entire life has just been turned upside down, but she is still not giving up, not even when she is in an unfamiliar place and time. Etta is not a quitter, she is fierce and standing up for herself, not ready to be bullied by these new strange people appearing in her life. I loved that she was taking a stand and did not let others undermine her. She manages to navigate scary new eras that she has never been to before and does not back down. While her old life was all given up for her music, Etta now finds a new kind of freedom in time traveling. I found it brave how willingly she embraced totally different times with so many unwritten rules. It’s her curiosity that prompts her to explore time. Another thing about her I liked, was how she encouraged Sophia that she could take control of her life and how she slapped that one racist.
⌛️ Nicholas, the purest grumpy cinnamon roll. I immediately knew that I would love him, because Nicholas is a truly good guy. He is a bit more private towards people, but does care a lot even if he is more careful with his feelings. He made his fair share of mistakes as well, but at the end of the day, Nicholas is not as ruthless as the ‘family’ that he hates to belong to. He’s the only person in this entire book that I would trust, because his intentions are true and pure. I have the huge urge to protect him, because Nicholas only deserves good things, he deserves way better than the people keeping him constrained and that scorn him. Through his narrative we also explore slavery (he was born during that time) and racism and how it affects his life. This is not a ownvoices portrayal, so I cannot speak for the accuracy, but I did like that these historical circumstances that influenced Nicholas thinking were shown, differing him from Etta, who grew up in our time.
“But she wondered if, in moving outside of the natural flow of time, they had forgotten the most crucial point of life—that it wasn’t meant to be lived for the past, or even the future, but for each present moment.”
⌛️ A romance that was well build and really healthy. I was shipping both of them from pretty much the beginning, because Etta and Nicholas have great chemistry. They are a case were an instant attraction & chemistry was there, but no instant love like we usually see. Instead their relationship was explored slowly and I loved how it was portrayed. Of course there were secrets between them, but they talked to each other. Etta and Nicholas agree to be partners, equals and work so well together. There is lots of consent between them, which I really liked seeing! They are fundamentally different, but that makes their dynamic all the more interesting. Through their relationship we get to explore and interracial romance and the barriers that still exist, especially in Nicholas time. Etta tries to understand his situation, but of course has lived in our present time and is not as attuned to these particular problems. Again I cannot speak on how accurate this was, but I liked that these differences and problems were actually discussed on page.
⌛️ A fresh perspective on time travel. The world building and idea behind Passenger was what further hooked me in. I like seeing time travel but sadly do not read many books that feature this theme. Passenger did not disappoint, it introduced the concept if these passages through which only people with a certain time travelling gene can go. The passages omit a certain sound that can also only be heard by the travelers. Each passage leads to a specific time (year, the day is the same) and place, but there are a few passages with unknown destinations. Travels keep track of these passages and have their own journals, as they cannot be present at the same time at the same location twice. Guardians – family members or friends of them – serve and help the travelers, but only in their own time, as they cannot go anywhere else. Travelers therefore have a natural time, the one they were born in, but can of course travel to every time before. Now there sued to be 4 big families that and the gene, but the Ironwoods wanted total control and merged the families, killing those who did not want to be absorbed into one huge clan. The head Ironwood controls where someone goes and he’s pretty much unpleasant.
⌛️ Interesting places and times to explore. I loved the plotline of Passenger, it was just the right balance of character and plot driven for me, making me hooked. I loved seeing the different times and places that Etta and Nicholas found themselves in. It was interesting to learn about them and how they managed to fit in, with all the different rules and cultures. I am very much looking forward to seeing even more places and times in the next book (which sadly will be the last).
⌛️ The end that just … kicked me in the feels. Like oh myyyy. I have no idea where the end was going to be honest, but I did not expect the ending at all. It opened so many more possibilities and was a bit heartbreaking as well. The next book (again, why is it the last? nooo) will surely take us on an adventure with new characters and old ones. (If I did see correctly there is a f/f side pairing?) I am only a bit worried about Nicholas and Etta as I guess they will spend lots of time apart. With this being the last book, how much will we even see them interacting? Because I need my ship to be together! Also the mom … uhm I don’t trust her. If something shady happens with her, I totally called it.
Thank you again book for taking me on this journey!
Have you read Passenger? What’s your favorite book about Time Travel? ⌛️