Passenger is about a violinist named Etta Spencer. Her story begins on a long-awaited performance day, when it is revealed that she is a time traveler. She is kidnapped by a girl called Sophia Ironwood, who takes her to sea in 1776. There, their ship is taken by pirates under the pay of Cyrus Ironwood. The ship is now captained by fellow traveler Nicholas Carter. After talking with Cyrus, Nicholas and Etta begin a journey in search of an old family heirloom of Etta’s that Cyrus had demanded she bring him.
I disliked this book. While I can appreciate the concept of time travel, I am disappointed by the presence of unnecessary tangents and absence of necessary clarifiers about the details and fine points of time traveling. The book is riddled with pages of personal contemplations of Etta (who is not a very interesting character) that do nothing for the plot of the story. Meanwhile, the world around Etta is changing at a much more erratic rate than it does for the rest of its citizens, and such historic events as World War 2 London are all but completely passed over, which is frustrating. One would think that with all of history at one’s disposal, inter-era insights would be bountiful.
I think that if anything stands out, it’s the presence of racism in the book. Nicholas is black, and because of this, the reader can get a closer impression of oppression. However, again, because Etta is not a well used character, we only see it as a specific factual example instead of as a discriminatory wave against a friend. Again, I found this annoying, because despite the opportunities that she opened for herself, the author left potential instead of results.
Reviewed by Addie, Grade 9, Libbie Mill Library