Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Maybe because I read this one right on the heels of finishing the wild and crazy Illuminae, I found this book really slow and plodding in comparison. Makes sense, given that this book is lighter on the action, not only compared to Illuminae but also to Bracken's previous Darkest Minds dystopian trilogy. This one's more about creating complicated sci-fi rules and building a nice little romance - which is Bracken's best yet, that's for sure. Unfortunately, along the way, she ends up stuck in most of the same pitfalls that The Darkest Minds and Never Fade suffered from - primarily, issues with pacing. Even taking into account the decreased action, this book gets really slow and, dare I say, dead from time to time.
However, the wartime settings of most of the first half of the book - the American Revolution, and London during the Blitz - help make up for the slow pacing. The best part of the book, however, is its final 150 pages or so, set in 16th-century Damascus. This is where the story really picks up steam, and captures a bit of the intensity and urgency we know Bracken's capable of delivering. Naturally, there's a nasty little ending, but the story isn't over just yet. (No spoilers on the nature of the cliffhanger, though.)
So, while this might not be my favorite 2016 book, it's still good enough to warrant the long, hard slog through the staticky dead air spots that plague its first three-fifths or so. And hopefully next year, Bracken will deliver an improved sequel.
View all my reviews