PASSENGER by Alexandra Bracken | Book Review


Some months ago whilst browsing the bookish section of Amazon (as I tend to do far too often) I stumbled across this. I fell in cover-love so damn hard that this became my most anticipated release of 2016. The second I knew it was available for pre-order: BLAMMO! In the basket, through the checkout, take my money, I have no time for your shenanigans today, Sir.

When I was finally able to pick it up, I paced quite easily through the first 40 pages. The Prologue was beautifully descriptive followed by the introduction of violin virtuoso Etta. Having played the violin myself, I loved this element of the story.

Unfortunately, this is where I carve out a small RIP headstone for my interest in this novel. By the time we actually hit a plotline and our two main characters meet with flashing neon signs overhead promptly stating “They fancy each other, by the way” It was far too easy to put the book down and find something else to do with my time. That is why a) It took me close to a month to finish this book and b) took a further ten days for me to write this review. Now, I won’t place all the blame on this book. I have spent a considerable amount of time immersing myself in Skyrim in recent months and as a result my reading has taken a hit. But dammit, maybe this book is the reason why my interest has shifted primarily onto gaming again.

I have nothing against a good slow building romance. And the romance in this books is actually slow to build in terms of them admitting their attraction to each other. But it is clear that Bracken abandoned the plot in favour of trying to create a slow-burning romance between two characters whose only common interest is describing each other’s bodies with inner monologue. If I had to read another description of Nicholas’ ‘broad muscled back’ one more time, I was gonna stab a bitch.

Oh! And speaking of describing bodies, can someone please explain to me how Etta has been out of her own timeline for two to three weeks and we get this:

“Nicholas had a perfect view of the lower half of her bare legs. The women of his time kept themselves covered from the tops of their heads to their ankles, and it had taken every ounce of his will and honor not to dwell on the devastatingly smooth skin that had been revealed to him over the past two days.”

…I’m sorry, what? It is mentioned numerous times throughout the novel that Etta is desperately in need of a toothbrush, but she manages to keep her legs devastatingly smooth?! Are you actually kidding me?! I guess she must wax her legs then. For some reason, this irked the hell out of me.

“There was nothing quite like getting a lungful of a fruit vendor’s sour breath to remind you how many days had passed since you’d stopped trying to find a toothbrush.”

After wading through possibly the slowest paced book I have read to date, we get to the final sixty pages. The climax. The part we’ve all been waiting for. On this broken-down disappointment of a rollercoaster journey. The final sixty pages actually managed to resurrect my interest! Bracken managed to put the romance aside long enough here for the plot to crawl out of whatever cave I thought it had died in and give me something to think about. And now I need to know what happens in the next installment. I think at this point, I’m going to say that I will be picking up the second book but I’d like to see what the reviews have to say beforehand.

As a final thought, here are a couple of quotes that did give me a much needed giggle whilst reading this:

“Well, you weren’t supposed to try to rearrange his face with your fist.”
“I wasn’t,” Nicholas protested. “He lunged up into it several times. I was only in the way.”

“Somewhere at the end of a long line of hazy gray days, Nicholas woke at the first touch of shell-pink morning light, the devil’s own hammers at work inside his skull. Bloody rum. Bloody dead captain hiding the bloody bottle in a place Nicholas could bloody well find in a moment he needed to numb his nerves. Good ideas had in the dark, he thought with a groan, were generally best left there.”

Read: 03/03/2016

Rating: 2/5 Stars


“My name is Percy Jackson.
I’m twelve years old. Until a few months ago, I was a boarding student at Yancy Academy, a private school for troubled kids in upstate New York.
Am I a troubled kid?
Yeah. You could say that.”

Now, I know the Percy Jackson series is a big deal out there. And I’m slightly ashamed to admit that this is the first time I’ve picked up a Percy Jackson book – but better late to the train than missing the ride completely, right?

My second confession is that it took a good chunk of the book for me to really begin to bond with the characters and the storyline. I mean, it has all the right ingredients that I enjoy in a book which I will discuss briefly below, but it just wasn’t giving me that wow factor I was expecting.

Having said that, I did enjoy the book – not to the degree I was expecting but more than enough for me to be excited for the rest of the series.

Percy is one sassy little git. A relentless troublemaker. I cannot tell you how many times I snorted or laughed out loud with his inner monologue and comical retorts:

“Braccas meas vescimini!” I yelled.

I wasn’t sure where the Latin came from. I think it meant ‘Eat my pants!”

Another instance:

“Hades bellowed, ‘Do you think I want war, godling?’

I wanted to say, well, these guys don’t look like peace activists. But I thought that might be a dangerous answer.”

Percy is an interesting and quirky character who at a younger age was diagnosed with both ADHD and dyslexia. Riordan cleverly uses these learning disabilities in a positive light, suggesting that they are not in fact disabilities as one would believe but symptoms of being half mortal and half God. The author also keeps the ADHD element of Percy’s personality at the surface of his monologue, resulting in a consistent volley of amusing mental tangents, even during dangerous situations:

“The ADHD part of me wondered, off-task, whether the rest of his clothes were made the same way. What horrible things would you have to do in your life to get woven into Hades’s underwear?”

Riordan’s style of writing and his creation of Percy’s voice is fantastic. And although it took a short time for the story to grip me, his style of writing was what kept me interested during my ambivalence about the plot.

It is clear that the story is aimed at a younger audience, but that doesn’t make it any less worth a read. If you haven’t yet picked up this series – I recommend that you do. A fun and entertaining read overall and I look forward to picking up the second instalment.

Read: 09/02/2016

3.5/5 Stars

WARM UP by V.E. Schwab | Book Review

“It had been 297 days since David died. And 297 since he’d come back, gasped and sat up in a base camp hospital tent covered in warming pads, the defibrillator still buzzing in the medic’s hands, his teeth chattering with cold.”

This novella is set as a prequel to Vicious, a stand alone novel that has recently been confirmed will become at least a duology.

Warm Up takes place during the events of Vicious and follows a new character by the name of David whose life was shattered not because he died – but because of the strange power that quickly took over his life when he came back. This novella takes the reader on a short but gripping journey into David’s life, the acquisition of his power and the tattered remains of his life.

Having read Vicious early last year, it was a real treat being transported back into this world. I do highly recommend both Vicious and Warm Up to anyone who has not yet picked these up. You will not be disappointed!

5/5 Stars