544p. (Passenger: Bk. 2). ebook available. Disney-Hyperion. Jan. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781484715765. POP
Gr 9 Up—The times, they are a-changin', and no one knows that better than a time traveler. When this sequel to Passenger opens, two weeks have elapsed since Etta was in Damascus, where she was shot in the shoulder, a coveted astrolabe was stolen from her, and she was separated from her beloved Nicholas. Now Etta must retrieve the astrolabe so that the right time line can be maintained. Etta, the Thorns (the good guys), and the Ironwoods (the bad guys) trade blows across continents and centuries, from Carthage in 148 BCE to Imperial Russia in 1919 to New York City in 1939 and a dozen times and places in between. Bracken's knowledge of history is formidable. Each location is vividly depicted, right down to the smells. The two clans vie for the astrolabe and the power it wields, amid street fights, poisonings, diseases, witch curses, elephant rampages, and earthquakes. With such an impressive panoply of perils, action drives the narrative. Even so, secondary threads are engaging and make the novel relatable to teen readers. For instance, several characters wrestle with repercussions of childhood poverty and fear, and Etta struggles with parental approval and remembers being a child in her mother's chilly presence: "Loneliness had a pitch—that high whine of static that coated silence." It is in conveying these intensely human issues that Bracken's prose shines.
VERDICT An exciting, well-told story, but reading Passenger first is a must, so buy where that volume is popular.

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