DNF Review: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Series: Passenger #1
Publication Date: January 5, 2016
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 490 (BEA ARC)
DNF Page #: 200
Source: BEA 2015
passage, n.
i. A brief section of music composed of a series of notes and flourishes.
ii. A journey by water; a voyage.
iii. The transition from one place to another, across space and time.

In one devastating night, violin prodigy 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 traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

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 that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them— whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are play­ing, treacherous forces threaten to sep­arate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home . . . forever.
~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

This is the most heartbreaking DNF that I have ever done (and only by second of 2015). I DNFed this ARC about 200 pages in after wasting 3 days on it and only managing about 70 pages a day. 

I waited eagerly for this ARC at BEA and from what I understand, subsequent ARCs were much more up to date and true to the finished manuscript. It is obvious that this novel is not finished and still has some editing ahead of it because it is a bit choppy. 

My two main issues with this book are the pacing and the opening. The opening of this novel is not only choppy, but it is very boring. It is hard to remain committed to a story that seems like it is going nowhere because it just wastes so long talking about what seems like nothing. And then, you know, awesome things start happening and it's still impossible to get into it because the pacing makes everything so slow. There are conversations about race and pirates and such interesting things, and I was not interested at all.

I think a large part of this is because there's something going on with a powerful group of travelers and our main character is getting told nothing. Because of this, we know nothing as readers since this is not one of those books where the audience knows more than the main character. It makes this slow read even slower, and also immeasurably frustrating.

I am choosing to put this book aside with the hope that I will enjoy the finished copy more, and also because I want to read the complete copy of a storyline with such promise. However, since I won't be able to get my hands on a finished copy to read until June because of my upcoming trip to London, I am choosing to record my thoughts to return to later. I hope that the difference between the BEA ARC and finished copy are substantial because I wanted to love this one so badly.

See you in another six months, Passenger.


FTC Disclaimer: I received no compensation of any kind in exchange for my honest review.  


  1. Hmm, sorry to hear this. I've been so excited for this one!

    1. Same D: This was the most heartbreaking DNF ever for me.

  2. Oh no! This makes me so sad. :( But I've seen a lot of mixed reactions for the book already. My expectations are definitely lowered.
    Thanks for your honest review, girl!

    1. I want to come back to it, but I have to do so when I have a finished copy just because the BEA advanced ARC obviously still needs major editing and it ruined it for me.

  3. The story is beautifully written and I love that the characters voices are unique between the two leads. Passenger is a fantastic novel for those who love to travel, or dream of traveling, and those who love reading about historical moments in time added into the mix of an intricately woven story.

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