The Passengers by John Marrs
Published by Berkley on August 27, 2019 (originally published April 1, 2019)
Genre(s): fiction, science fiction, thriller
Format & Length: e-book, 336
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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?”
The Passengers is a near future science fiction thriller with an intriguing premise that gave me Black Mirror vibes.
A plot driven story, this book is fast paced and full of twists and turns. With shorter chapters tending to end on cliffhangers, it sits solidly in the compulsive reading category. And I can easily see this becoming a hot summer read for that reason. Although I didn’t personally love how all the pieces wrapped up, the final chapter was absolutely fitting and left me feeling mostly satisfied.
That being said, I wanted just a bit more. Several strings of commentary are explored within these pages, from our society’s use and reliance on technology to social media and mob mentality. But in the end, it didn’t push the limits or make as much of a statement as I would have liked to really take it to the next level.
Ultimately, The Passengers was an entertaining read even if it didn’t push the envelope as much as I wanted. Readers looking for a fast paced easy to read thriller will probably find this to their taste.
*Many thanks to Penguin Random House’s First to Read program for providing an arc of this edition in exchange for an honest review.