The Passengers // John Marrs
EN,  Fiction

The Passengers // John Marrs

Good intent, bad execution

I’m disappointed. Seriously disappointed. Last year, I read The Good Samaritan by John Marrs and while it had some flaws (the second part was majorly dragging along at times), it was overall a good book with a thrilling and inventive premise. Naturally, I expected the same from The Passengers but, to repeat myself, I am still disappointed.

The premise is good: in the not-so-far future, the only cars allowed on Britain’s streets are self-driving cars. The British government whole-heartedly believes in the superiority of the software and, also, in its invincibility. In the rare case of accidents (with fatalities), a committee has been set up to determine in secret meetings whether a car acted correctly – maybe not surprisingly, there has been no incident of a car ever having been found at fault. This committee is comprised of governmental, legal, and religious representatives, as well as randomly chosen community representatives. In comes Libby, chosen as representative and currently enacting her short stunt of judging cars’ decisions.

During a session, eight cars are hijacked by an unknown entitity – “The Hacker” – and in the course of the book, the public and the committee have to decide who of these passengers lives and who dies.

This sounds awesome? Yes, it does, but The Passengers lacks execution. A few things that annoyed and disappointed me:

  1. The love story is unnecessary, luke-warm, and mainly just annoying
  2. The book would have been better without Libby
  3. The only really interesting thing (governments deciding who will die in a car crash) is not really debated in any compelling way at all
  4. What exactly does the terrorist organization want?
  5. The ending is flashy and uninspired

I’m disappointed. I said this already? Well, yes. I still recommend The Good Samaritan by John Marrs because it’s dark and weird and doesn’t have the same kind of dull protagonist and sickly adorable love story that is found in The Passengers.


Title: The Passengers
Author: John Marrs
First published: 2019

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