Passenger, Book 2; published in 2017; 532 pages. ★★★★☆
“Do you believe in destiny, then? That something deserves to exist, just because it once was?”
“I believe in humanity, in peace, in the natural order of things,” he said. “I believe that the only way to balance the power of what we can do is with sacrifice. Accepting that we cannot possess the things and people not meant for us, we cannot control every outcome; we cannot cheat death. Otherwise there’s no meaning to any of it.”
All Etta Spencer wanted was to make her violin debut when she was thrust into a treacherous world where the struggle for power could alter history. After losing the one thing that would have allowed her to protect the Timeline, and the one person worth fighting for, Etta awakens alone in an unknown place and time, exposed to the threat of the two groups who would rather see her dead than succeed. When help arrives, it comes from the last person Etta ever expected—Julian Ironwood, the Grand Master’s heir who has long been presumed dead, and whose dangerous alliance with a man from Etta’s past could put them both at risk.
Meanwhile, Nicholas and Sophia are racing through time in order to locate Etta and the missing astrolabe with Ironwood travelers hot on their trail. They cross paths with a mercenary-for-hire, a cheeky girl named Li Min who quickly develops a flirtation with Sophia. But as the three of them attempt to evade their pursuers, Nicholas soon realizes that one of his companions may have ulterior motives.
As Etta and Nicholas fight to make their way back to one another, from Imperial Russia to the Vatican catacombs, time is rapidly shifting and changing into something unrecognizable… and might just run out on both of them.
There are an awful lot of trilogies out there, especially in young adult books, which really don’t need to be trilogies. After The Edge of the Abyss and Wayfarer, though, I’m no longer sure that duologies are the solution. While Wayfarer was still a strong and well-crafted novel, the pacing of the first half of the story dragged badly, and many new story elements were added in a rushed and haphazard-feeling manner. It wasn’t bad, per se, but it could have been better, and a little more pagetime might have done a lot to improve things. Say… another book?