Published by : Hachette Children’s Group
Publication date: March 31st 2015
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Source: Received copy from Hachette Children’s Group through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
Did I enjoy reading this book? YES! Did I think it what somewhat over-hyped? YES….
Let me just get on with this review because I have a LOT to say! If you enjoy reading time travel but you do not really want a theory or premise that is overly complicated ora book that incorporates a lot of info-dumps I definitely think you should read this. IF you enjoy world building and aren’t annoyed when an author goes into extensive descriptions about seemingly unimportant things EVEN though it makes for great world building, this is something for you… For me personally I found that world building and relationships took centre stage in this novel and they were the two aspects I loved.
This is a book that has a beautiful blend between cultural diversity and intense world building that I really enjoyed. It’s sad that a book with an African American as a love interest and a co-protagonist (yes I will refer to him as such throughout this review) is so rare that when it is present it makes you respect the author. But that is truth, out of all the YA books I’ve read in the last couple of months or maybe year I have RARELY come across a diverse set of characters.
What I also loved about Alexandra Bracken is that she found a way to incorporate a hundred different cultures yet not offending one. In a world where literally anything will offend someone somewhere it was great to read to the end of the book and think well done Ms Bracken… As a Muslim I was slightly hesitant when I read they had to transport to Syria, I thought oh God no, something somewhere is not going to sit well with me, BUT I DIDN’T! First of all I liked the fact that for once Muslims are portrayed as compassionate people, even if their beliefs may seem bizarre to an observer she portrayed them as HUMAN BEINGS. I find that a lot of times (sadly) when Muslims are in a book/film it’s because they’re terrorists, are somehow linked to a terrorist plot or you’ll just find them frantically yelling in Arabic and being judgemental. When we come across Hassan I’m so relieved that this is not one of those moments again….
World building: Honestly this has to be the best world building I’ve read in a while. When I’m reading I find that the smallest of details help form the scene for me and this did just that! You’ll read a paragraph describing a violin and it’d just help you understand the character and the intensity of the atmosphere more! I also liked how she managed to space out the travel to different regions so that it weren’t overwhelming at all. Each region was captured in the pages allocated to it!
Characters: I loved our main characters, I loved that we had an interracial relationship and the development we see in their relationship. One thing I will say is that I found it somewhat lacked chemistry, it always seemed to be about lust and how his muscles popped and her hair sparkled but I don’t think we got to discover the depth of their feelings as much as I would’ve liked.
Plot: THE CLIFF HANGERRRRRRRRR. Do I really have to wait until July 2017????? There weren’t any mind blowing plot twists but I did like the action being evenly spaced out throughout the book. The build-up to the plot at times slowed down and there may have been a bit too much concentration on the world building causing the development of the story line to suffer at times.
I didn’t think Passenger needed to be 486 pages long, there were some cuts that I think should’ve been done in order to maintain the engagement of the reader. Admittedly I lost interest a few times because the world building got a bit much but I still enjoyed reading this novel. For me the time-travel could’ve been a bit more developed, I was really interested to see how Alexandra Bracken would go about this concept that has failed so often in the books I’ve read. I hope that maybe in Wayfarer we delve into this concept a little deeper!