It was a dark and stormy night…It actually was, at the beginning of Vanished by Eden Darry, and outside my bedroom window as I began to read this novel. In fact, the wind was almost howling as the rain pinged and tapped against the windowpane as I read about the horrible storm Ellery, Loveday, Rocky the dog, and Claude the cat were living through before the blinding white light came and made everyone except them disappear. Thankfully that last part didn’t happen to me, and you all are still here. You are still here…right?
After the storm, Ellery and Loveday meet in the deserted town as they both look for survivors. They decide to stay together because both realize that storm and white light not only took away most of the living, it left something behind; something that is not human. This something seems to be watching them and wanting them to leave. Then the dreams start. The prophetic dreams tell Ellery and Loveday that they must head north and find a young girl named Dani before Rosemary Decker and her followers do. Rosemary is the leader of the Children of the Ark. She has been anticipating this disaster and has plans to make a new world in her own distorted religious image. Her visions and voices have told her that the girl Dani will destroy her plans if she is not killed. This has to happen soon, though, because another storm is coming, one greater and much more powerful than the first one.
I really like the way Ms. Darry writes. I loved her first book, The House because of its complex and frightening plotline. I also happen to like post-apocalyptic stories in general. This book delivers both with the apocalyptic storyline as well as an intricate and complex plot. She grabs you at the beginning with the wild storm and light, and she doesn’t let you go until the last page.
The most frightening part of this story for me was not the disappearance of all the people or the non-human characters. It was the part that Rosemary Decker played. You see, there really are multiple Rosemarys in the real world. Given the right circumstances during a major disaster where law and order and societal norms are suddenly missing, I could see people like Rosemary taking advantage. To me, that is the true horror in this tale.
There are some problems with this book. I hate comparing the two books, but The House seemed to be more polished, more fleshed out than this one. There were a few places in the story when Ellery and Loveday were talking where I became confused about who was speaking. That is a major no-no because it interrupted the flow and pulled me out of the story. The ending also seemed to be rather rushed, and some elements of the story were left unanswered.
I considered giving this book a three star rating because of the glitches I mentioned above, but in the end I added a fourth star because, in spite of the problems, I did enjoy the novel. I think some of you might like this novel too, but if you do decide to read it, take my advice. Read the book during a bright and sunny day, not a dark and stormy night like I did.
I received an ARC from NetGalley and Bold Strokes Books for an honest review.