Horizon (Aftertime 3)
- Sophie Littlefield
Publisher: Luna Books – released on 31st January 2012
E-Arc courtesy of netgalley and Harlequin Books
Cass Dollar is a survivor. She's overcome the meltdown of civilization, humans turned mindless cannibals, and the many evils of man. But from beneath the devastated California landscape emerges a tendril of hope. A mysterious traveler arrives at New Eden with knowledge of a passageway North—a final escape from the increasingly cunning Beaters. Clutching this dream, Cass and many others decamp and follow him into the unknown.Journeying down valleys and over barren hills, Cass remains torn between two men. One—her beloved Smoke—is not so innocent as he once was. The other keeps a primal hold on her that feels like Fate itself. And beneath it all, Cass must confront the worst of what's inside her—dark memories from when she was a Beater herself. But she, and all of the other survivors, will fight to the death for the promise of a new horizon...
Throughout all three books in the Aftertime series I’ve been on such an emotional rollercoaster as I’ve followed Cass’s journey to find her daughter, to find the man she loves and to find a home all whilst battling her addictions, the end of the world and of course the body-eaters or beaters. It’s been less than a year since the blue-leaf strain of keesev created the terrible virus that created the beaters and lead to the destruction of everything. In that time Cass has attempted to make various homes for her and her daughter – in the library, in the box and now on Eden, an island across the river safe from the beaters but something has always moved them on in past – will Eden be any different...?
While I like my heroines to be stubborn, tough and brave and while Cass is all these things and more, she is also vulnerable and weak in a way not many heroines in books are allowed to be. Even without the end of the world every day is a struggle for her and this makes Cass infinitely more human and I just wanted to give her a hug at times – although I don’t think she would accept it! Her relationship with the men in her live is the main focus of Cass’s emotional journey in this book – particularly her relationship with Smoke and Dors, the two men she has worked with since Aftertime began and even her relationship with her lost father comes under scrutiny. Cass has to make a decision about what she wants and even if she wants its for the right reasons – and I was never sure what she was going to do.
Despite all this emotional upheaval, there is plenty of tension and action when they confront the beaters. The evolution of the beaters and how they are learning is particularly intriguing and tense. There is a confrontation in a shopping centre which is a great tribute to one of the great zombie films, Dawn of the Dead – putting the zombie back in their natural habitat! The gun fights and attacks by the beaters are as nail-biting as before and while Aftertime and Rebirth focussed on humanity being as destructive as the beaters to their fellow man, it feels as if Horizon has some humans attempting to help others – although not always successfully and does leave you with a feeling of hope – even if there is still a long way to go!
This has been one of the most intense, emotional and exciting series I’ve ever read and I’ve been waiting impatiently for each book to come out. This is intelligent zombie fare with the most intense and fraught action scenes I’ve ever read. I really can’t recommend this enough! Brilliant. J
Recommended for fans of Mira Grant and Stacy Kane. 10 out of 10.