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Monday, November 5, 2012

Passenger (The Marbury Lens #2) by Andrew Smith

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? Can it ever be?

Released: October 2, 2012             Pages: 480
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends         Source: Library
Let’s go back all the way to 2010 for a minute.  Little freshman girl goes into the library, picks up a copy of The Marbury Lens, and reads it.  It’s freaky and illogical and haunting.  It’s wonderfully written with compelling characters.  The whole reality of the story is up for interpretation.
It’s freaky.

So when I found out that it was going to have a sequel, I had two trains of thought going through my head.  1. Why would anyone want to read this?  tML was creepy enough—even though it’s awesome, why would anyone want to read more of it?  2. Oh my goodness, I can’t wait!  In words that are not my own, “It’s gonna be totally awesome!” 

The number two though process overruled number one.  And so I got my hands on a copy of Passenger as soon as possible.  I don’t think I have any complaints or nitpicks with this, actually.  Part of this probably comes from the fact that after a certain point, you realize that none of it makes any sense, so you just go along with everything.

That’s how the entire book is.  Anybody who’s read tML will know what I’m talking about.  There are so many dimensions, Marburys, Glenbrooks, not-Marburys, and not-Glenbrooks.  That’s part of the beauty of this book.  Jack gets pulled around to all these different variations of Marbury and Glenbrook, yet you know they’re all connected.  You know Jack’s at the heart of it all.  You know it’s all reality, in one form or other. 
I like how this book actually does not answer the major question I was left with at the end of tML: Is Marbury real, or just the product of something Freddie Horvath did to Jack's mind?  If Andrew Smith had answered this question, though, the book would not have had as much of an effect.  It is not in the nature of this book to be closed and complete at the end.   
My only complaint with this book is the language.  This book has enough f-bombs to start and end WWIII.  As I said on a Goodreads status update, there are enough f-bombs to defend the US against a nuclear attack from every other country on the planet. 
Let's talk about the end, for a minute.  Jack realizes something about himself.  Some people love it.  Some people hate it.  I guess I'm somewhere in the middle.  On one side, it is a bit too sudden and doesn't quite match up with previous events (for those of you who know what I'm talking about--why was he so in love with Nickie on the train, then he comes back, and then...?)  On the other side, this revelation makes you realize that Connor maybe wasn't being a jerk when he kept making fun of Jack in tML.  Maybe it's a fitting ending for both boys, to have this happen.  I'm not quite sure.

But then, who am I to criticize this for being illogical?  That's like criticizing Romeo and Juliet for not being funny.  It wasn't meant to be funny.  You can't try to make it something it isn't.  I don't think Passenger was really meant to make sense.  In a weird way, it does, but it also doesn't.

This review probably makes no sense at all, to those who have not read the book.  There's nothing I can do about that.  This book messes with you.  It makes you think.  And yes, it is freaky.  It's intense.  It is not fluffy reading but at least I didn't have to read MLIA for an hour afterwards this time.  There are many parts that are definitely cringe-worthy.  There are parts that make you say "I never, ever want to have a look inside this author's brain." 

Worth a read?  Yes.  Illogical?  Yes.  Everything you could expect from a Marbury Lens sequel?  Definitely. 

Roll.  Tap.  Tap.  You haven't gotten away from anything, readers.

Similar Books: It's creepy like Raven's Gate, gritty like Gone, with a writing style that reminds me of The Knife of Never Letting Go.  Also, Goodreads compares it to Hold Me Closer, Necromancer, though I'm not really sure why.  Possibly because they both are varying levels on bizarre, though in different ways.
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