Monday, August 26, 2019

Review: The Passengers by John Marrs

The Passengers
The Passengers by John Marrs
Berkley Books
Publication Date: August 27th, 2019
Hardcover. 352 pages

About The Passengers:

"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?""

As the synopsis states, The Passengers is set in a slightly futuristic setting in which self-driving cars are now the norm. We're not talking about the semi-autonomous cars that we have now that require a person behind the wheel still--these are fully autonomous vehicles that allow the driver to take a nap in the backseat, take care of some work, or just relax and watch some TV. I'll confess that driverless vehicles make me incredibly uneasy already and I just don't trust them enough, so the premise of this book in which they actually get hacked and tell you that you're going to die...that's easily one of my nightmares, so thanks for that, Mr. Marrs!

The Passengers is a book where you really don't want to know much of anything going into it. This entire book is about the unexpected and watching how various scenarios play out and how people make decisions under extreme circumstance with unimaginable pressure placed upon them. Because of this, I really don't want to go into specifics on plot points or even about characters themselves. I can, however, say that there is a rather large overall cast of characters that really stand out and have unique backstories. I liked how Marrs managed to interweave these narratives in a way that makes them all compelling and really allows the reader to get inside each one's head.

The chapters alternate fairly regularly between the various characters, which manages to keep the story lively and unpredictable. I also liked how Marrs included various snippets in the beginning of some chapters that provided insight into how some of the laws moving towards driverless vehicles took place and other important government messages that have been shared. This added some background to the world and allowed me to understand how driverless vehicles turned into the only driving option. Nonetheless, I still would have liked to know a bit more about the laws surrounding driverless vehicles and exactly how they phased out regular cars and made these new vehicles as prevalent as they are. There were also a few reactions to events from different people that seemed a little out of place at times, but overall it was still extremely well-written with some exceptionally intriguing characters.

I found that even though the entire premise of thriller was suspenseful enough on its own, it was even scarier and felt higher-stakes because of how realistic the entire scenario is. What's more horrifying than getting locked into your car, it being directed on its own, and being told of your impending death in said car? It's one of those things where you can't help but put yourself into the shoes of each and every person that becomes a part of this story and life-or-death situation, which is truly what makes this book shine so well.

This is an intense and unpredictable story with incredibly high stakes and that pretty much pulls no punches. I know this is a shorter review, but there's only so much I can say without spoiling things, so hopefully this has been enough to give you a good idea of what to expect.  Overall, I've given it four stars!

*I received an ARC of The Passengers in exchange for an honest review. This has no effect on my rating or enjoyment of the novel.*


  1. I had a blast with this too! It's over the top in spots, but I couldn't put the book down😁

  2. I loved his last book, and the premise of this one is so intriguing! I can't wait to get a copy from my library!

    1. I've been really wanting to check out his previous book! I hope you enjoy this one, too. :)