Rebirth by Sophie Littlefield
Harlequin (July 2011)
Mass Market: $14.95; ebook: $10.99
Favorite Lines: “I don’t need you. and I won’t thank you. And I won’t care about you. I mean it, Cass–I’ll never care about you.” (p. 65, egalley)
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.
Rebirth is book two in Sophie Littlefield’s dystopian Aftertime series. The first book is Aftertime and the short novella is Survivors (free download). Don’t start the series with this book. You will not understand the world or events that set up the story.
Rebirth picks up shortly after the events of Aftertime. Obviously it’s been a few months because while narrating Cass thinks about her daughter’s hair that was as “short as a boy’s” and remembers while Ruthie was in the convent Ruthie was shorn bald.
Don’t expect to see much of Smoke in this installment. For the most part you get Ruthie, Cass and Dor, and a changing setting. I had wondered at the end of Aftertime how Littlefield was going to move the plot forward. How was she going to get them out of the secure box where they lived? Well, she managed to do so spectacularly.
I love Littlefield’s storytelling. It pulls few punches and tackles the hardness of life. The characters remain true to form. Cassie is a recovering druggie and the underlining issues which pushed her to drugs still exist. Sometimes she wins and other times she loses. She doesn’t turn to drugs though. She has older vices which make her disgusted with herself. How can you not like this damaged heroine who is trying so hard to learn right from wrong while surviving hell on earth?
There are shocking moments filled with violence and self-loathing. Moments which in a pre-Beater world which would have instantly destroyed hope of a happy family. You’ve got to keep firm hold of who Cass is and how she became the character you know. Remember her being molested as a child, her using sex as a tool and later as a drug addict. That mentality doesn’t change just because the world has come to an end.
Rebirth is an emotional, gritty, down and out filthy look at humanity. The dregs of society seem to survive because they’ve misplaced or ditched their morals in favor of life. It’s not always a good thing though. Hope, dreams and love have no place in this dark world. It’s a barren place filled with danger. Unless you dare to grab hold of a better life. At the end of the book I was exhausted. Through the bad decisions, life threatening situations and the courageous choices, I learned about Cass. Watching her missteps were painful, but by the end of the book I knew those mistakes were necessary for any type of future to occur.
Side note: Those who hate cliffhangers may not be thrilled with Rebirth. Know that the biggest plot line is wrapped up and a new plot twist occurs at the very end. We’ll have to wait months before learning how it turns out, but I’m good with that.