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Review: Horizon by Sophie Littlefield

25 Jan

Horizon by Sophie Littlefield
Harlequin/LUNA (Jan. 24, 2012)
Trade: $14.95; ebook: $10.99 (ebook available 2/1/2012)
ISBN: 9780373803422

Favorite Lines: “She did not yet know the limits of her strength, but she was ready to be tested, and tested again. She would be tempted and discouraged and broken, but she would come back each time, into this world that had been bequeathed to them, into the dangers that threatened them and the joys that waited, buried but not impossible, for them to unearth and cherish.” (p. 400, egalley)

Of living things there were few….but they carried on.

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…

Horizon is the final book in Sophie Littlefield‘s dystopian Aftertime series. If you haven’t read books one and two (Aftertime and Rebirth) do NOT attempt to read Horizon. (Check out Littlefield’s comments on writing this gritty series here.)

I’m almost at a loss on how to write this review. If you’ve checked out my previous reviews of books one and two you know I REALLY liked them. They are dark and gritty and push the limits. I alternate between disgust, acceptance and wonder at all the recovering addict and single mother heroine does in order to survive in a world gone mad. I’ve followed her on her journey to recover her daughter and finding her self-worth. I’ve watched her risk it all to save a man. I’ve been sick in my stomach with worry about the depths Cass has fallen and rooted for her to make it just one more day sober. All of that comes to an end in Horizon, but not until the final page is written.

Horizon shows a Cass struggling to survive. The stress of “normal” living has knocked her out of sober living. She wants to be a better person so badly, but her need to escape the stresses of life have chased her into sneak meetings with Dor and alcohol. Meanwhile the man Cass risked it all for is struggling to survive the torture inflicted upon him during the events of book two. Littlefield has done an excellent job writing an indecisive character who has had nothing but bad heaped upon her for years. I felt Cass’s pain and revolt throughout the story. Emotionally this book wore me out. I wanted to rest when I finished it and that’s how you know it’s worth reading. I needed to think about it, not to decide if I liked it, but to ponder on everything that happened.

Watching Cass figure out if she wants to be in a relationship and with who, along with the way the men treated her, had me nervous that Cass would self-destruct. Watching her pull up her big girl panties and make hard decisions, made me proud of the woman she could be. Even better was the way all the plot lines were wrapped up. Sure one, was unexpected and almost too easy, but I’m so happy it was included. I don’t know of any better way that familial plot could have been addressed, so I’ll brush by it.

Horizon, like Aftertime and Rebirth, is a hard book to read. I don’t see myself re-reading it often, but I will revisit it. There is something about the trilogy that speaks to me. When the world is devastated, there will be good and bad people who survive. There may even be zombies. But the human will to survive is a powerful thing. Littlefield brings a glimpse of hope to a world beyond destruction. It’s not a feel good experience. However, it is keeper bookshelf material. It’s something to remind you that there is more than fluff in the urban fantasy/paranormal/dystopian field. It’s a trilogy written by a grown woman for adults. It’s not pretty, but it’s so worth reading. Off the top of my head, it’s the only zombie series that I consistently recommend.