07 April 2016

Passenger // A Book That Took A While To Get Going And Hooked Me By The End

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Published: 7th April 2016 (paperback)
Source: NetGalley
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Time-Travel
My Rating:
Fans of Outlander and Red Queen will be swept away by this epic New York Times bestselling story of love, adventure and deceit.
 
In one devastating night, 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 travelled not just miles but years from home.
 
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 he can't escape and the family that won't let him go. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, his passenger, can find.
 
Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveller who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods' grasp. But as they get closer to their target, treacherous forces threaten to separate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home forever.
It was a good book I had some serious doubts when I began reading. It's been a while since I've read a book with such mixed reviews and so I was genuinely nervous going in. Bloggers whose opinions I really trust can't even agree whether they like the book.

I Accept The Haters Have A Point


I can see where some of the negative reviews coming from in regards to pacing and basically the beginning of the book in general. The beginning is not the best. I was genuinely confused in the first couple of chapters as I felt like I was missing a significant chunk of the setup. I get that our main character is as clueless as us when it comes to what is happening but it took far too long for anyone to learn what was happening. It felt like proper explanations didn't begin until the middle and end of the book, which for many would have been too little too late.

Another quibble I have is the unnecessary secret keeping happening in this book. I understood why it happened in many ways but good God a lot of hassle would have been saved if people simply spoke to each other. That was annoying in a lot of ways. Whilst it was explained reasonably well it still bugged me.

The Characters Were Too Awesome To Hate For Long


The characters were the reason I kept reading, though. The story took a bit of time to find it’s feet but the characters were fantastic always. Sure, our main character, Etta, seemed to flip flop in her emotional state quite swiftly, but I reckon I would too in her situation. She was struggling with being rational in an entirely ridiculous situation (because who would expect time travel to be real?) and so her really extreme emotional states were actually quite logical. Etta really grew into herself as the book progressed as she took on new challenges and was continually trying to figure out who to fix things. She was an optimist and loved that about her because she was continually up against Nicholas who was such a cynic it was crazy.

Whilst I’ve gotten onto the topic of Nicholas, the crazy cynic, I adored him. I think he may have been my favourite simply because he was so practical. Etta was an eternal optimist who had seen a world completely different to one he could have even hoped to imagine. A world where he would have been accepted as an equal (I know that is an arguable point, but I really don’t want to get into a political talk about racial equality and racism in general) and his circumstances would have been infinitely better. Instead, he was practical and accepted his lot, being a little ruthless to get ahead, but not so ruthless he had to walk over people. He just realised that with the few opportunities available to him based on the colour of skin meant that any opportunity had to be grabbed swiftly with both hands. I loved that about him. I loved how cautious he was and so quick to blame himself. He never viewed himself as deserving and was wonderful to see his character growth.

And finally, the third character which made this book for me was Sophia. I saw immediately that she was a girl playing up to the role of the bully because that is the one available to her. She has all of time available to her but she is still trapped in the confines of a world where women are viewed as lesser beings. Every aspect of her personality was flawless and she is the character I hope to see grow and develop in the next book. She is the character I want to see more of her because there is so much potential for her. She is biting and witty and she could be absolutely fabulous and I hope she gets that in the next book because it will be heart-breaking to see another girl cast in the role of the bad guy and never able to develop beyond that. I love my flawed characters to appear human and she is one I hoping for more from.

Did The Cliffhanger Make Me Rate This Book Higher?


I did begin to question if it was the cliffhanger and the ending of this book in general which made me give it such a high rating. I mean, I did not expect the turn this book took and I loved it for that. I was worried this would be another predictable story and then it took a completely different turn and I was left shouting ‘WTF?!?’ and the book for being so awful with it’s ending. I mean, it was awful in a good way, but still, my emotions!

I do think cliffhangers make you rate a book differently because you don’t get to let go. You’re left with questions that make the book linger and when that happens you tend to figure you enjoyed the books more than you maybe did because it stuck with you. I don’t think it was the case in this book, but I was a bit worried when I remembered the vast array of negative reviews. I get the story was slow going at first, and that did frustrate me, but I really did become gripped by this book in the end. I think it struggled under and immense need to set the scene and explain so many things that it meant that it took half a book to figure out what it was doing. That isn’t the most satisfying thing to hear and may not get people reading, but it’s true. The build up does develop into a good story, though. It may not be one for everyone but it was one for me and I will be there when the second books comes out because I need more! I cannot wait to have a copy on my shelf and I am glad I gave this book a chance.

How do you feel about a book which starts off slow? Can a book still be good when you aren’t fully committed until the halfway point? And do cliffhangers make you like  a book more because they’ve stuck with you with all those unanswered questions?

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