Rating: 4.5 / 5
The premise of THE PASSENGERS by John Marrs caught my attention when I first heard it was coming out, so I put it on hold at the library right away. I was excited to have the audiobook hold come through since it seemed like it would be a perfect, gripping read to keep me engaged and flipping pages for the readathon I have been participating in this week.
THE PASSENGERS is set in a near future where self-driving cars are the norm. In fact, in the UK, self driving cars are the requirement as they are deemed more safe and reliable than their human controlled counterparts. This is all called into question when eight people find themselves trapped in their cars with a hacker taking control, delivering the message that they are all going to die.
The hacker begins to broadcast the hack, bringing in both the authorities and the public for this deadly game show, asking who among them should be saved. Some of the ‘participants’ have been targeted for a reason and others are in the wrong place at the wrong time. Those looking on must determine the hacker’s motives and attempt to find a way to save those in peril.
This was such a fun read and it was exactly the page turner I expected it to be. The book definitely brings some violence, but it also delves into some big questions. As the story progresses, social media becomes heavily involved in the evolving story. Trending hashtags are used as votes for which passenger should be killed off or saved. It is a frightening concept to not only have to beg for your life, but also put yourself across in such a way as to garner twitter support!
The book also explores a lot about the idea of self-driving cars and the artificial intelligence used to determine split second decisions. These are cars without an option for human override. Everything is left up to the car to determine your route and how to handle unexpected obstacles. Personally I don’t see myself having confidence in an AI to completely control my travel like that. That never seems to work out well for the humans in the movies and books!
Overall, if you’re looking for a fun thriller this is one I’d recommend you pick up! For myself, I will absolutely seek to read more by John Marrs!