REVIEW: Dark Passage by M.L. Woolley

Dark Passage by M.L. Woolley
CreateSpace, 2012
[Goodreads | Amazon]

Jen takes refuge in a rundown mansion when her life falls apart. To escape reality, she finds herself choosing between the world of the living and the dead. She begins having vivid experiences with a beautiful male entity who longs to be her soulmate.

Her childhood friend, Ivy, has come from a rough past and has always been different. She learns she has the ability to communicate with the dead, and as time passes, other supernatural gifts emerge. Ivy will stand against the evil that would separate a love that transcends time as her true destiny emerges.

Jen and Ivy are drawn into the compelling world of the dark side and propelled on the most important journey of their lives.


First of all, I want to thank M.L. Woolley for providing me with a copy of this book for review. She was nice enough to even ship me a paperback version, after I’d taken several months longer than I’d initially promised to get it read. Many thanks go to her for dealing with my lateness. :)

Honestly, I had a hard time figuring out how to rate this. The overall idea of the book – battle between good and evil and the preparation for the end of the world – was great, and I enjoyed reading about some of the characters. My biggest problem with this book was in the execution of the story. If I were focusing only on the author’s intent and the plot of the book, it would be rated extremely high, because I felt like the entire plot was very unique and fresh. But the style the book is written in caused me to set it aside time and again, because it wasn’t particularly gripping; I’d pick it up and read a chapter here, a chapter there, etc. The end redeemed it a bit in that regard, because the last hundred or so pages definitely pick up, but the storytelling definitely left a bit to be desired, at least for me.

My issue with the start of this book is that the narrative changes points of view constantly. I had a really hard time following along at the start, and spent much of the time confused, not only about who was telling their story but also in what was going on. I felt like the plot – good versus evil – took a very long time to develop, and I couldn’t quite see how all these characters were going to come together. In terms of nitpicky things, there were also several occasions of incorrect tense usage, where it would switch from past to present to future all in the same sentence, and there were lots of typos, including misspellings and punctuation mistakes. I was mostly able to overlook these things, but if issues like this bother you, you may want to give this book a pass.

However, the biggest problem with this story for me is the rather passive storytelling. You hear all the time about “show, don’t tell” and that unfortunately was not what happens in Dark Passage. I was always so disappointed when some big occurrence, instead of being shown to the reader, was told to them later in a conversation between two characters. For instance, there is a big showdown between Jen and her ex-husband which results in Jen seeing the angels, but the reader isn’t aware of the bit with the angels because it wasn’t written out for us; it was told to us when Jen recounts what happened to Ivy. It would have been so much more gripping for the reader to read this themselves instead of hearing about it later. There’s also a chapter from Peter’s point of view where he basically recounts everything that already happened. The chapter adds nothing new to the story and is basically just rehashing what the reader already knows. And then you have the romance between Jen and Bill, which the reader doesn’t get to experience because everything between them happened offscreen and was told to us later. There are all kinds of places where things like this happen in the book, and each time I found myself skimming because it wasn’t advancing the story at all. I wish this book could be thoroughly edited, because I think a great editor would cut out all of the unnecessary details and repetitions, which would really help this fabulous idea and plot shine to their fullest extent.

I also was confused about the preparations for the end of the world, because I felt like none of that was even a part of the story until the last fifty pages or so. We have all these descriptions of bunkers and gathering supplies and buying horses, and I’m just not entirely sure how the end of the world has come about. Is it because of the angel vs. demons thing? The mention of the warheads which will destroy the world? Where are these warheads? Who built them and is going to fire them? What role is the government – which is aware of the upcoming apocalypse – playing in this whole thing? I was just really confused about what the heck was going on, and how the two things are connected. More details would have been very much appreciated to better set the reader up for the end of the world. There just wasn’t enough description to get me properly invested in what was going on.

All in all, Dark Passage has a unique concept and an interesting overall premise. But the execution of the book and story lines leave so much to be desired that it was a bit of a slog in places to get through. I have seen plenty of five-star reviews for this book, though, so please don’t let my review be your deciding factor in whether you read this or not!


A copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.


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5 Responses to REVIEW: Dark Passage by M.L. Woolley

  1. Brittany says:

    Ahh yikes. It sounds like I’d probably agree with you – It sounds like a great idea for a book and a wonderful concept, but if it’s roughly put together, I think it’s really hard for me to look past that. Very nice review! Very informative :)

    • Merin says:

      Yeah, I had a hard time looking past some of the things, too. They definitely affected my rating. I felt really bad that I didn’t love this, because the author was SO nice, but it just really wasn’t for me.

      • Brittany says:

        That’s always the worst! I always get so excited getting review copies from authors and some of them are just so genuinely nice and it makes it really hard for me to say negative aspects or things I didn’t like about the book. It’s hard to do, but it’s part of our blogger’s code!

      • Merin says:

        Exactly. I refuse to lie about what I thought about a book, but always try to put my thoughts down in as professional a manner as possible. I felt even worse because the author contacted me after I posted the review and really sounded down and out, which made me feel awful. But lots of other people have loved this, and there have been regularly published books that others have loved and I haven’t, which is why I added that note at the end. I would hope that my single review would never be the deciding factor between reading something you’re interested in or not.

      • Brittany says:

        Exactly! People’s reading tastes differ so much that I almost never let a review change my mind to read a book. Each person has to try it, but it’s always good to be forewarned!

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