Stilted dialogue, stiff delivery of background information, and a juvenile melding of history with World War II made this book a lackluster read for me. To a young YA reader, I think the adventure, mythology, and age appropriate romantic elements would be much more enjoyable, but the advanced reader copy I read did not have much potential as an adult cross over.
I had not read DARK MIRROR, the prequel to this book, and for a new reader the background information provided was useful, if stiffly delivered. Tory and her friends share so much information out loud to each other, dialogue pros and cons are compounded ten times over. Of course, my copy of DARK PASSAGE
was not the final text, so I can hope that the the final edit will improve the sections that bothered me. Any changes made to tighten up the dialogue in the final book would improve the overall appeal of this book quite a bit.
Writing aside, the adventure elements of DARK PASSAGE
are interesting, if lightly handled. Putney touches upon 1800's class attitudes, and some of the difficulties of World War II, but in a glancing way that does not make these story elements too dark for young readers. As an adult, there were parts of the book that seemed a little naive (such as assuming that Tory and her friends are aware of class prejudices in their time, but not religious ones). For a young reader, however, I think Putney has done a good job of bringing in real-world elements without getting bogged down in too much darkness. The romantic story lines were the strongest part of the book for me, deftly written in a way that is appropriate for young readers and fleshed out enough for my adult interest. Tory and Cynthia both handle some tough considerations and make well-thought-out decisions that were pleasant to read.
On the whole, I would not recommend DARK PASSAGE
as a crossover YA for adults, or for preconscious teens used to the darker, urban YA, but there is the foundation of a good adventure and sweet romance. Most importantly, there is no darkness or behavior portrayed that would have me hesitating to hand this to any young reader, which means don't hesitate to read an excerpt, give it as a gift, or pick up a copy to try for yourself.
Full review at All Things Urban Fantasy