Dark Advent Mass Market Paperback – Sep 1988
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
without going into too much spoiler details, this book does a very admirable and believable job of covering the Apocalypse and what happens to the few unlucky survivors of the End.
Hodge does a magnifient job with the characters in this book. I found myself genuinely caring what happens to everyone, whether I wanted the character to live or die. Hodge explores the depths of human depravity in a world where there are suddenly no morals or laws (or at least no way to enforce them!). It is an interesting observation on how society probably would behave in this situation.
It doesn't have the mystical/spiritual element of "The Stand" and doesn't just end with a mysterious Godlike intervention, the way other Apocalyptic novels do. There are no mystical dream sequences, nor is there a clear-cut Good & Evil presence after the End. Hodge lets the characters seemingly become who they REALLY are, underneath the makeup of civilization, which is removed in a most-forceful way (civilization, not the makeup!).
The ending is believable, realistic - given the scenario, and this book is an AWESOME read. If you are a fan of post-Apocalyptic literature, this book is a must-have.
I look at all the lists I can about "end of the world" fiction
and I am amazed at how this book is over-looked.
I've read "The Stand", "Swan Song", "Alas, Babylon","Lucifer's Hammer", and "On the beach" and this is one of the better ones.
What really puzzles me is that there is so little mention of this novel anywhere. Why is this novel so underappreciated? I wonder if the cover art has anything to do with it? The cheesy picture on the front really made me hesitate to pick this book up at all--a demon with its mouth open with horrified children wading through fire inside...W..T..F??? As I read the book and was drawn into it, I kept wondering when this demonic being would come into the picture and hoping it wouldn't ruin what was turning out to be an excellent story. Thankfully, there was no such supernatural being, just good gritty drama and a story that seems all too possible.
This new book includes an Afterword that was mistakenly excluded from the printed hardcover, yet is available online where Mr. Hodge describes the inspiration for his original story, and he admits that Stephen King's novel The Stand was a huge influence.
This seems to be everybody's favorite Stephen King novel, but I always thought the first half of The Stand was an extremely exciting post-apocalyptic story while the second half sputtered into long-winded monotony. There was no way I was going to subject myself to its later unabridged edition, and the second half of the TV miniseries suffered the same fate.
Like The Stand, Dark Advent is about a weaponized plague that kills most of the world's population except for a tiny number of survivors. And like The Stand, a charismatic villain takes advantage of the misery around him to build his own empire on the backs of former criminals. It even includes a stammering, crazy loon who reminded me of Trash Can Man. But unlike The Stand, the second half of Dark Advent is a very brisk, fast-paced story that builds to an explosive finale. And while The Stand involved many supernatural elements, this book confines the paranormal to a few prophetic visions.
While reading his Afterward, I had to laugh out loud when he described The Road Warrior movie as another inspiration for this story because his final battle scene between the forces of good and evil turned into Mad Max: Fury Road on steroids!
This post-apocalypse story includes horrifying scenes of brutality, yet you'll be so absorbed in its character's fates that you'll completely disengage from reality while you suffer along with them in their nightmare world. Dark Advent 2015 is an unforgettable horror novel.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. If you're a fan of the post-apoc genre, it fits the bill quite well. My only reason for not giving it five stars is that, even though I enjoyed the book a lot, I wasn't consumed by it. Until the final third of the story, I wasn't overly compelled to keep reading it. I'm not sure why that is, as it is a solid story and it is surprising that it's not more well known.
And yes, as mentioned before by other reviewers, and the author himself, the cover has absolutely nothing to do with the story. Not a single shred. Though I don't judge books by their covers, they can often have a subtle influence on the overall feel of a book that's hard to describe. This cover is unfortunate. Try to ignore it.
I'd definitely recommend this book, though.