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Earth has Fallen: Return from Darkness


Worth reading 😎

A Sci-Fi dystopian novella. Loreto dreams of the surface world and the future of his underground community.

Written by author Peter Servidio, Earth has Fallen: Return from Darkness is a dystopian science fiction novella set on Earth after the world has seemingly been destroyed due to nuclear war. The story follows protagonist Loreto and his community at Emery Deep.

From the set up of this novella and the details included in the writing, I got the impression that Servidio really enjoys the world building aspect of storytelling. Indeed one of the strengths of Return from Darkness is its world building. Straight away the reader is given a very thorough description of Earth’s new history and a lot of information about what life is now like for survivors. This made it very easy for me to instantly visualise the world I was reading about.

There are strong themes of entrapment and escape throughout Return from Darkness. The story’s two main locations, Emery Deep and Elysium, both feature communities with long-established regimes and structures in order to ensure the survival of the people living there. Although Emery Deep is underground and thus physically restricting, I got the sense that it was mental and emotional freedom Loreto was seeking. By becoming a Topsider, Loreto’s fulfils both his feelings of wanting to be free and his dreams of seeing the surface. By contrast, it was when Loreto encountered the Ash Walkers and found Elysium that I felt his need to escape the physical boundaries and limitations he was contained by.

Personally I preferred the first half of the story when Loreto is in Emery Deep completing his Topsider training to the Elysium storyline in the second half. The plot had a steady pace in the first half with one event naturally leading to the next. The second half was more frenetic with the story jumping from plot-point to plot-point. For example when Loreto finds the trapdoor and Elysium’s history, the discovery unintentionally feels convenient because there has been no build up to reach the information.

Due to the radiation many of Emery Deep’s inhabitants are described to have physical and mental disabilities. Loreto only has a very minor disability in the form of a single knuckle on one of his little fingers. As a result Loreto is “not weak in body and mind, as are many who are alive today”. Again this is only my personal opinion but I believe the story would have been more impactful if Loreto had had a more pronounced disability and was still shown to be the strong and capable character he is…rather than being strong and capable because he is not like the other inhabitants.

There was the occasional spelling error in the novella but these did not impact the story, with the exception of chapter ten where one of the character’s names accidentally changes twice.

I have mixed feelings about Earth has Fallen: Return from Darkness. There are definitely some good aspects to the story but also areas, like the pacing, that could be improved on. The novella actually ends on a strong plot twist so I will remain hopeful for the second instalment in the series.

Reviewed by

I have always been fascinated with fiction, especially fantasy and sci-fi. In 2020 I set up my own website called: Lair of Reviews where I publish reviews on books, films, and plays. I have degrees in both English Literature and Creative Writing. I currently work as a freelance writer.


About the author

Peter Servidio is an author and professor with a passion for storytelling. After graduating from St. Thomas University with a Doctorate in Educational Leadership in 2018, he has written over a dozen novels, short stories, and nonfiction works. He lives in New England with his wife and 3 children. view profile

Published on August 05, 2021

20000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Science Fiction

Reviewed by