Written by: Chad Lutzke
The second in Padavona’s Dark Fantasy dystopian adventure opens with the series’ antagonist, Victor Lupan, showing a very humanistic and even vulnerable side while concerned for his demonic critter that is on the prowl for survivors of the mysterious “rapture-like” event which occurred in the first book. Seeing this side of Dark Vanishing’s antagonist is rather refreshing actually, as it brings the inevitable match between good versus evil into a more realistic setting while still giving a fantastic approach.
Padavona’s already well-crafted prose has clearly matured with each release he’s given us, and while there may be some that could do without Dan’s poetic visualizations, there’s a very entertaining story being told between them.
The book revisits the characters from the first in the series, and we meet new ones as they come together to build a care-free community within the solar-powered “Florida Bliss.” The character, Tori, starts making her way as the role of heroine, as she makes an attempt at grasping the power she holds within her, while the motives of those who would stop her are still unclear, as is the reason for the world’s current situation.
While I’m not all that familiar with the subgenre of dystopian and post-apocalyptic fiction, I’ve no doubt most involve some element of “freedom” in a world near empty. Padavona certainly brings that exciting—yet fearful—element with more locations and scenarios that we almost wish we could be a part of: An empty shopping mall all to ourselves; a vacant, serene beach setting to clear our clouded thoughts, and a tight group of individuals all in the same boat as ourselves, pulling together for both answers and survival.
While I can’t say that it’s superior, it very much stands up to the first book in the series and like the first, leaves you wanting more.