Passenger Duology | Spoiler Free Series Review

Hey guys, it’s Trina and this is my spoiler free series review of the Passenger duology by Alexandra Bracken. The two books in this series are Passenger and Wayfarer and as of right now there aren’t any like short stories or novellas that go along with this series, but of course the author might decide to continue it in the future but as of right now I’m just talking about these two books and this is the completed series. So starting out with a summary of what these books are about, if you don’t know, Passenger is following a character named Etta who is a violin prodigy. She lives with her mother. At the beginning of book one Etta finds out that she actually has the ability to travel through time and this is something that her mother could also do but her mother has hidden that fact from her her entire life. In this world there are already set passages to another time and place, so not only do you travel back in time you’re traveling to a different location somewhere around the world. Only certain people are able to find and use the passages, like a normal person just wouldn’t even be aware of it. Etta is recruited by this ruler of the travelers to hunt down an artifact that they all suspect that her mother has stolen and hidden somewhere in time. I want to tell you about my experience with book 1 and book 2. I had not read anything by Alexandra Bracken before I picked up Passenger and I really struggled getting into book 1. It took me until halfway to really feel gripped by the story because the first half of that story was so focused on meeting Etta and knowing who she was in the present and then her learning about time travel’s existence and that she can do it. It’s all her finding out about this world and the actual plot of the story isn’t introduced until around the halfway point. From there I did get really invested in the story and I thought it was more fast-paced and thrilling. The first half was hard to get into, the second half made up for it in my opinion. The end of book one does leave off on a really big event that happens. It’s kind of a cliffhanger and that is really what propelled me into book two. I needed to know what was going to happen next, and I started the book and the pace of it just had halted, because the things that happened at the end of book one means that book 2 has a little bit of a different structure and things just had to slow down, stop, learn more information before you actually get back into it. Because this one has two points of view from characters who are in different places it’s like the minute you would get invested in what was happening to one of them the point of view would switch and you change to the other storyline and to me this was slowing down the pace. The final conclusion of the series felt kind of rushed. So much time was spent up on getting to that and then it was only like a chapter long and so I feel like I didn’t have enough payoff at the end of Wayfarer for me to enjoy it very much. So whereas Passenger made up for it in the end and I ended up rating that book four stars, to me Wayfarer did not make up for it in the end and I ended up giving that book two stars because I just looked back at the overall series, the overall plot, and the overall feeling while reading it, and I felt boredom. I felt like I was over it. I felt like I didn’t get what I wanted with that conclusion. So if you haven’t read this series yet and you’re wondering whether or not it’s worth it to get into it I think that it is a slow starter and that you will get invested in book one but to me book two didn’t pay off enough. Now I want to move more into the specific things that I liked and disliked about this series and I’m going to start out with the thing that I disliked the most and which I’ve kind of been talking around in this whole video – is that I just am not a fan of Alexandra Bracken’s writing style. Like I said, Passenger was the first book of hers that I read and in between Passenger and Wayfarer coming out I also picked up The Darkest Minds by her and I enjoy all of her stories, I really enjoyed the premise that she puts out but I don’t enjoy the writing, the execution of it because she has these worlds and these characters that are so full of action but her writing is very very bogged down with descriptions. One example of this is where like in the dialogue you’ll have a character ask someone a question and then your character will sit there and be like: “let me think about this. And then let me get into like a flashback about the things that go into me answering this question. And then I’m going to talk about the room, and the wallpaper, and the place settings on this table, and what this person in front of me looks like, and then I’m going to answer them.” But it’s been three pages since the question was asked and I don’t even remember what the question was anymore so I have to go back a few pages and figure out what on earth are they even talking about? I have forgotten. I feel like this story is one that calls for more of a faster pace because it is really action-packed. There’s a lot happening here. So often just like the brakes are thrown on the pace so that we can stop and describe the setting. To be fair, since the Passenger series is set all around the world I do think a lot of detail and flowery writing is warranted to a certain extent and in the first book Passenger I did really feel like Alexandra Bracken did a great job at setting the scene. There were many moments where we were at some new place and I was like wow I really like I’m there! And there was one setting in Wayfarer that I really felt I was enjoying the vibes from her descriptions and from the atmosphere that she was creating, but overall I really just feel like this is a series and a plot that called for more action and a faster pace. There’s something about the way in which she inserts the descriptions and just the way in which she is wordy that doesn’t work well for me. It loses my attention and I just don’t even want to continue the story. This is definitely a me thing. I’m not trying to tell you that she’s a bad writer. I think that she is a skilled writer. She has a good craft. I’m just saying that it’s not a fit for me personally. I think that the best way that you’ll know is if you’ve read anything else by Alexandra Bracken. If you’ve read her Darkest Minds series, whatever you felt about the writing in that seems to be the same way that you might feel about the writing in Passenger. If you felt that any part of the first book in this series was slow you will probably still feel the same way about Wayfarer. Moving into what I liked. I love the travel, all the different settings that we saw in these books. I did really end up enjoying the side characters in Wayfarer. So there’s a character named Sophia who you meet in book one and I really enjoy what was done with her character and her development in book two. She became one of my favorites in the series. There are two new characters introduced in Wayfarer, there is the Belladonna character and there is Li Min who was just kind of like a side character who you don’t really know where her alliances lie and I did really enjoy the addition of both of these characters and I felt like honestly they were the better developed ones. And it’s just a really odd feeling when you’re more invested in the side characters then the main characters and what their goals are, and I think that’s part of the reason why I didn’t enjoy the ending of Wayfarer because you have this ending that focuses on one of the main characters but these side characters just like you have no idea really what happens to them. I also wanted to quickly mention the diversity that is included in this series. This is not an own voices book but Nicholas is one of our point of view characters, he’s the main character and he is the romantic interest, and he is black whereas Etta was white. And there is a side character who is Chinese and there is a f/f relationship that is present in the second book. In the end, I would recommend this series to people who like time travel adventures that will take you all around the world. And I do want to point out, I don’t think I’ve said this in the review yet, but Nicholas is a character who is a legal pirate. I don’t think there’s a very strong piratey feel but if you like pirate-esque characters I think you would really enjoy Nicholas. I think you’d also enjoy this story if you want something that has a romance without a love triangle. The only real reason that I could say that I think you wouldn’t enjoy this story is if you have already experienced trouble with Alexandra Bracken’s writing. If you feel like her writing is too slow I am not sure how much you would enjoy this series, but if you have read her series before and you really enjoyed her writing, though it was beautiful, you’ll probably feel the same way about this series. So hopefully those are some good indications of whether or not you would enjoy this one. Those are all of my thoughts on the Passenger duology by Alexandra Bracken. If you guys have any questions about characters, content, themes, and stuff that you like or dislike and you want to know if they are present in this series and I didn’t cover it, please ask me that down below and I’ll let you know there. If you’ve read this one, I would love to know if you liked it or if you disliked it. We can definitely chat more down below. Thank you so much for watching and I’ll see you in the comments. Bye! [music only]

17 thoughts on “Passenger Duology | Spoiler Free Series Review


    I need to read The darkest minds trilogy first though. I'll probably read this duology by the end of the year. (SO MANY BOOKS SO LITTLE TIME)

  2. The premise of these books sounds really interesting! I've been thinking about reading the duology but can't make up my mind. After watching your review I understand that it will now be something amazing but I seem to enjoy books about time travel and travelling in general, so I don't know if I want to read it XD

  3. I had the same exact problem when reading "Passenger." It's actually the reason I haven't picked up "Wayfarer." I loved the world, but had a hard time delving into it because of Bracken's writing style.

  4. I'm reading Passenger now and having the same problem with the slow pace. I'm about 180 pages in and I'm not really invested in the story so I hope it gets better ๐Ÿ™

  5. I have only read The Darkest Minds by this author but really enjoyed it. Overall I do not mind a slower pace but I do wonder if it will bother me with this series. Definitely will try it out ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Hold on, let me tell you about the wallpaper ๐Ÿ˜‚.

    Can you imagine the characters in like Pirates or Mission Impossible or National Treasure being asked a question, then they turn to the camera and give you a 5 minute inner monologue, then turn back and answer the other character? It's essentially the same thing. I am with you, girl. In theory, I should love her books because I love the premises. But, the execution does not work for me. This is a great review!! So much more eloquent than mine haha.

  7. I so haven't finished Passenger. I do like it but its so slow. But I have a copy signed to me so I kinda feel like I NEED to finish it!!!

  8. I love how you don't just state your opinion in reviews, but also give indications to us viewers to help us figure out whether we will like the book or not, no matter what your experience with it was. Thanks for that

  9. THANK YOU for letting me know about the pacing of the book. If I am prepared for more of a story set up in the first half, it helps me get through it a little easier knowing that it will pick up.

  10. I've heard it's best to go into reading Passenger without knowing what it's about or ignore the summary on the book because so much is built up about the time travel and the artifact, but then nothing happens until toward the end. Is that what you'd say, too? I heard about the lack of pirates as well. I'm super hesitant trying any of Bracken's books because of so many mixed reviews. However, there's readers who absolutely love her prose and seems to have a lot of fans. Dilemma!

  11. I definitely agree with you about the switches in storylines/character POV in book 2 and the pacing in both books. The ending was definitely rushed. I loved Sophia's character and I wish we got to see more of her at the end. Bracken's writing style seems like it's either a hit or miss.

  12. Yes I agree with this discussion. I cannot get into her writing. I tried and mostly skimmed through these books to get to the main plot points. I didn't like the ending either, seems like she didn't tie up the loose ends with characters.

  13. Not gonna lie, this kind of reminds me of Cassandra Clare's 'the mortal instruments'. Like the part where she doesn't know that she has powers that she inherited from her mother.

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