Horizon, by Sophie Littlefield, is the final novel in the Aftertime trilogy. As the story picks up, several months have passed and Cass Dollar is now living in a new community called New Eden with other Aftertime survivors. As a side job, she plants gardens while raising her little girl Ruthie who is slowly coming out of her silence mode. Cass is also back to drinking once again which got her in trouble before time. Cass thirsts for oblivion now that she has fallen off the wagon. She has to keep it hidden away from Ruthie however for fear that other mothers may find out and ask her to leave.
Cass is one of those characters that is as far from perfect as one can get. Yes, okay, so she survived being turned into a Beater, and somehow found her humanity was still within reach. She does a good enough job with Ruthie, but her relationship issues with not only Dor, but with Smoke as well, are mind boggling. You know that she loves them both, which of course leads to the dreaded and hated 3-way love triangle that I loathe like over cooked liver.
Cass also gets a surprising reunion with her once missing father who also just happens to have found his way to New Eden. Unfortunately, their reunion is pretty much on the back page because of everything else that happens including a near massacre at a shopping mall, and traveling north to find a community where Beaters don’t tread.
Dor McFall has become a relative nobody in this new community. No longer is he in charge or telling others what to do. He instead joins crews building the community as well as other essential jobs. His one grace is that his daughter Sammi was rescued by Smoke, Cass, and Dor, and brought back to New Eden with them.
Sammi has her own issues she has to deal, including the fact that she was nearly forced into an unwanted pregnancy by the Rebuilders who also killed her mother. She has to come to terms with the fact that her father seems to once again be playing the field with both Victoria the perfect, and Cass, the disturbed and troubled.
As for Smoke aka Edward Allen Schaffer, he remains in a coma after the awful beating he took at the hands of the Rebuilders. He slowly regains his ability to be a value to the survivors and once again believes he is picking up with his relationship with Cass. For me, the Smoke tale is one of heart break and serious mistakes in his past which he has been trying to correct. Readers finally figure out what has driven Smoke so hard and it’s a real shocker.
What’s worse for the survivors of Aftertime is that it seems the Beaters, aka Zombies, are becoming more aware of their abilities to the point of almost understanding and moving in concert with each other. This causes tremendous problems for the survivors of New Eden.
1. Please by all that is righteous in the world fix the obvious errors before this book is released! The changing of the POV's was incoherent at times, and there was even a point where one character was confused with the other phonetically. As I write this review (12/29/2011), I’m hoping that these things have since been found and cleaned up before release.
2. The ending of this series will blow you away. I am speechless right now. Littlefield knows how to tell a story, there is no debate in that. Her world is set in the year 2022 where the Aftertimes have wreaked havoc on the survivors across America.
3. As I have said so many times now that it’s gets tired of saying it, Love triangles are like the fungus that grows in-between floor boards and shower stalls that just won't go away no matter how hard you scrub, or use powerful cleaners. They are like that obnoxious neighbor who plays his/her music so loud that it rattles your very soul and makes you numb to do anything else. I absolutely hate them and curse the day they were made to be normal in any genre. Most likely, however, there are those who will eat it up because of who the characters are and what they have gone through since the Aftertimes began.
4. There is a major surprise character (Cass’s father) that shows up in this book. Yes, he was once an asshat and left her behind, but, when the time came to standing up and showing his cards and taking responsibility, it was a very emotional moment and goes a very long way of redeeming his errors in my eyes and in the characters he ended up saving.
5. Could this story have been any better? That remains to be seen if the publisher, author, and editors catch all the mistakes before it is released. Here is my fervent wish that someone in the group reads these reviews.
*ARC Provided by NetGalley
*This is the third book in the Aftertime series; Releases January 24, 2012