Published by Berkley Books on August 27th 2019
You're riding in your self-driving car when suddenly the doors lock, the route changes and you have lost all control. Then, a mysterious voice tells you, "You are going to die."
Just as self-driving cars become the trusted, safer norm, eight people find themselves in this terrifying situation, including a faded TV star, a pregnant young woman, an abused wife fleeing her husband, an illegal immigrant, a husband and wife, and a suicidal man.
From cameras hidden in their cars, their panic is broadcast to millions of people around the world. But the public will show their true colors when they are asked, "Which of these people should we save?...And who should we kill first?"
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Passengers by John Marrs. I’d been seeing this one getting a lot of attention for weeks prior to being asked to join the tour so how could I possibly say no? Aside from that, I also found myself drawn to the futuristic plot which may or may not have anything to do with my childhood fascination with The Jetsons.
Have you ever been in your kitchen and had Alexa’s voice suddenly answered a question you didn’t ask? Or maybe you were mindlessly scrolling through your Facebook feed and suddenly Siri’s voice asked you to repeat your request? It’s unnerving, right? Now imagine that you are sitting in your driverless car, all relaxed and whatnot because, well, you don’t actually have to pay attention to anything since you are not actually driving… Then, all of the sudden, a voice pipes in and tells you that you have only a short while left to live. But wait, there’s a sick twist. If you can ingratiate yourself with a group of total strangers à la Big Brother, you just might be the sole survivor.
I must admit that I had a couple of reservations going in. Would it be so far fetched that I couldn’t invest? Would it be so futuristic that it would feel more sci-fi than thriller? I needn’t have worried because everything about this book worked beautifully! It was a super-fast read. I found the characters to be much more complex than those typically found within such a relatively large cast. The plot was intricate and complicated from a development standpoint while being engaging and easy to follow from the reader’s standpoint.
One of the obvious themes in The Passengers was our growing dependency on technology and the vulnerability we face as a trade-off. Another, one that I found even more interesting and timely, is how easily we, the masses, can be manipulated when we are given a certain set of details without benefit of the entire story — and how dire the consequences can be when decisions are made based on lies of omission.
This book is full of little plot twists and turns and chapters that leaving you with no choice but to go on to “just one more”. I hadn’t read any of John Marrs’ previous books but I would certainly do so now.
Many thanks to Berkley Books for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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