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Description ⎮Reviewed Jan. 2016
Narrator: Saskia Maarleveld
Length: 13h 28m
Publisher: Brilliance Audio⎮2016
4.5 ★ Audiobook⎮This was my first Alexandra Bracken story. I haven’t gotten to The Darkest Minds series yet, but reading Passenger encourages me to move it up on my TBR. I’m no stranger to time travel fiction. In fact, it kind of seems like that’s all I’ve been interested in lately. Bracken’s take on time travel was unlike anything I’ve experienced before. It was a wee bit confusing and I’m still not sure I have completely grasped her concept of time and the rules of traveling through it, but I am intrigued enough by its uniqueness to carry-on.
Fondness for this audiobook sort of creeped up on me. I wasn’t immediately hooked, nor was I ever on the edge of my seat with excitement, but that is not its style. This story doesn’t need cheap thrills because it has quality. It has so much promise that I don’t blame Bracken for not giving away all of the goods at once.
Overall, I felt this was a very balanced story. There wasn’t a ton of action and it wasn’t super fast-paced, but I was never bored with it. There was so much to digest, that I came to appreciate the slower pace. It gave me time to develop genuine interest in the plot and tethered me to the welfare of the characters. By the end of the novel, I had developed pretty strong opinions on each of the characters (one way or the other), except the main character Etta. My indifference towards her began to worry me as the story progressed until Rose described her as “a blank slate” near the end of it. It dawned on me that Etta is probably supposed to be somewhat underdeveloped at this point in the story since it’s only the first installment (I had to keep reminding myself of that). This allows the author to develop Etta along the way and let future events in the series mold her further.
Although the romance in this story did have me swooning at times, I’m not in full “shipping mode” just yet. I won’t say it was “insta-love” (thank goodness) because it seems more like lust than love right now anyway. However, I can see how it could develop into a great romance in the coming installments. I am oh so grateful to Alexandra Bracken for not forcing a gag-worthy romance down our throats. I’m even more grateful to her for rejecting an all too common YA plot device, the love triangle.
Nicholas is a very well-developed character and I appreciate how the author uses his race both as means of propelling the “forbidden” angle of the romance forward (in earlier centuries) and using the social injustices done to him to give his character extreme depth. There is so much room for exploration on that front alone. Of the other characters, I am most interested to learn about Rose’s backstory. The tiny tease of her we were given at the very end only left me wanting more of her in future installments. Her sheer badass-ery makes me hope that Etta’s character will mirror it (at least somewhat). And, just spitballing here, I wouldn’t complain about a spinoff series or at least a novella from Rose’s POV…
Narration review: Saskia Maarleveld did an outstanding job narrating. Her character voices were so distinct that I never had any trouble distinguishing points-of-view. Her accents were also very enjoyable and not at all overdone. Just with this one story, she has proven herself to be a very diverse narrator and I am looking forward to hearing her again! ♣︎