Rebirth (Aftertime 2)
- Sophie Littlefield
E-Copy courtesy of netgalley and MIRA
The end of the world was just the beginning. Civilization has fallen, leaving California an unforgiving, decimated place. But Cass Dollar beat terrible odds to get her missing daughter back—she and Ruthie will be happy. Yet with the first winter, Cass is reminded that happiness is fleeting in Aftertime. Ruthie retreats into silence. Flesh—eating Beaters still dominate the landscape. And Smoke, Cass's lover and strength, departs on a quest for vengeance, one that may end him even if he returns. The survivalist community Cass has planted roots in is breaking apart, too. Its leader, Dor, implores Cass to help him recover his own lost daughter, taken by the totalitarian Rebuilders. And soon Cass finds herself thrust into the dark heart of an organization promising humanity's rebirth—at all costs. Bound to two men blazing divergent paths across a savage land, Cass must overcome the darkness in her wounded heart, or lose those she loves forever.
This is the second book in Sophie’s Aftertime trilogy set in a world where terrorism and war has lead to the end of civilization and a zombie virus arose to turn people into body eaters (called beaters). I adored the first book, Aftertime (Read my review here), so was really looking forward to seeing what happened next to Cass, her daughter Ruthie and Smoke. Rebirth starts a few months after the end of Aftertime with Cass scraping a living, but happy with her man, Smoke and her daughter. Then news arrives that the Rebuilders have attacked the school where Smoke and Cass first met – and either killed or taken the women and children there...including Dors daughter.
Cass is still the emotionally scarred woman we met before; with her every action informed by her experiences both good and bad. This time we see her running away, rather than running towards someone as in Aftertime. While I don’t necessarily agree with all her actions, I can understand them and I felt so much for her. Despite her strength, in many ways Cass ease fragile and easily bruised. Trusting others and loving is new to her and easily broken – all elements which help make Cass such a unique heroine.
The other element in Rebirth is the continual conflict – between Cass’s love interests Smoke and Dors; between rebirth and rebuilding. I loved the continual comparison between natural growth of nature verses the rebuilders forced growth – very symbolic of Cass’s journey. For me this was a much more emotional book than Aftertime interspersed with moments of pure adrenaline and rushing excitement as Cass heads towards challenging the rebuilders. The excitement and action is sudden and intense – leaving you breathless.
Nothing is black and white in this world and anything can be lost. It’s interesting that the beaters are not the big bad as such, but it’s the human element where the greater risks come from. I can’t wait to read the last Horizon – the last in the trilogy to see what happens next! Can't wait!
Recommended for fans of Mira Grant and Kate Griffin. 8 out of 10