May 13, 2014

"Passenger" by Andrew Smith

Title: Passenger

Author: Andrew Smith

Series: The Marbury Lens, #2

My rating: 3.5 of 5

(Book read from May 3rd to May 4th, 2014.)


Best friends Jack and Conner can’t stay away from Marbury. It’s partly because of their obsession with this alternate world and the unresolved war that still wages there. But it’s also because forces in Marbury — including the darkest of the dark, who were not revealed in The Marbury Lens — are beckoning the boys back in order to save their friends . . . and themselves.
The boys try to destroy the lens that transports them to Marbury. But that dark world is not so easily reckoned with. Reality and fantasy, good and evil — Andrew Smith’s masterpiece closes the loop that began with The Marbury Lens. But is it really closed?

My Thoughts on the Book:

Passenger is the sequel & finale to the fascinating The Marbury Lens. I finally read The Marbury Lens last October, and it was dark & gritty, unique, disturbing, and unforgettable. So, of course I was looking forward to reading the sequel.

Passenger was good, really good, but for me it wasn't all that. I think it's subjective (spoilers ahead and it will probably be about what this book made me feel, instead of a review, but I'll try to balance it out). Anyway, I just couldn't connect with the characters as much as I did in the previous book, especially with Jack, everything seemed to be even crazier than before, and the author didn't manage to make me feel what I did for the previous book. I didn't found it as disturbing or as weird & dark, and I didn't feel like going crazy, and I guess I kinda missed that. But, don't be fooled. Passenger isn't a light read. The story was still plenty of dark & gritty & disturbing, and crazy, just not to me. So, no happiness, sunshine & unicorns ;) As I said, it's quite subjective.

To be honest, at first, I totally got hooked on the story. It definitely didn't go as I expected it will, so it was quite surprising & full of possibilities, and I appreciated that. I thought it was brilliant. But, once I realised where the story was going,  the "magic" of the story was lost for me. Sure, I still couldn't predict exactly how everything will happen, but I started to expect characters & places, and even though there were plenty of surprises along the way, I just wasn't addicted to the story as I was with The Marbury Lens. I guess I can say that Passenger is both a prequel and a sequel to The Marbury Lens, and a finale to the Marbury world, at least for Jack & Conner. The author managed to wrap up all the loose ends & mysteries from The Marbury Lens in this book, so lots of jumping around between the past, the present & the future.

There were some new characters we met, lots of old, but the one that really deserves a mention is Quinn Cahill. He's one fascinating, but scary character. I guess, he's as similar to Jack as one can be in Marbury, but crazier & scarier. Despite everything Jack has done and is responsible for, he still has conscience, even for things that wasn't his fault, but Quinn - for him everything was just a game, one sick game in which he wanted to win.

That being said, near the end, I found myself wondering how Jack isn't insane, how is it possible he hasn't gone crazy? He was acting quite sane, especially when it comes to the fact about everything he learned, and no one else knew about. But, when he did something (or tried), I realised how he didn't went crazy. He was just going through what he had to do to save everyone, and then he had a goal & in a way - a way out. I'll admit, at that right moment, I totally bawled my eyes out. The whole scene was so heartbreaking & emotional, both for Jack & Conner, and for me.

Of course, there's this one thing I have to address. I loved the friendship between Conner & Jack ever since The Marbury Lens - I love reading about 2 best friends that would do anything for each other - that's what a real & lasting friendship feels like, so of course I didn't see the signs. After, when I thought back about The Marbury Lens, I realised there were some signs & hints, especially in some scenes and actions that I remembered, because I knew that there was something I was missing & coudn't understand the reasons behind it, but I remember thinking - they're boys, maybe that's how it is, how would I know? So, in the end, I might have been a little bummed, because I'm all about true friendships without benefits, but in the end I didn't really mind, because at the same time - I love stories when friends fall in love, and even though this isn't a love story and there wasn't romance, it was quite understandable, especially after everything they've been through together, even though Marbury wasn't the cause of course. Also, I enjoyed reading about how Jack & Conner dealt with it, with honesty & no lies.

On another personal note, another thing I have to mention (that it's totally subjective) is that after a couple of days, every time when my thoughts returned to this book, it made me feel depressing, and it was quite bad. Yeah, when it comes to memorable books, there is such a thing as good depressing & good sad for me (which The Marbury Lens was), but unfortunately Passenger fell into the bad category, and I can't quite point out why.

So, in the end, when it comes to Passenger, I'm feeling stuck between a rock & a hard place. I'm glad I read Passenger, so I saw what happened with Marbury & Jack and the "gang", but at the same time, now that I've read it, I wish I never did, and that I would've been happy with the way The Marbury Lens ended, because it was full of possibilities. Now, it's come to full circle, and I can't decide how exactly I feel about that, so I'm stuck between feeling glad that I read it & wishing I never did.

But, if you enjoyed The Marbury Lens, and you're really intrigued about how everything will end, Passenger is a book you should read, and I recommended it, because it was so, so good.




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