Friday, December 30, 2011

Early Review of Horizon (Aftertime, #3) by Sophie Littlefield

We've all got our burdens to bear. Some are worse than others. So is the case with Cass. In the Before time, Cass struggled with both an alcohol and sexual addiction. Sexually abused by her stepfather for years, she was just overcoming her addictions and coming to terms with what happened to her when the apocalypse hit. In 'Aftertime', she seemed to be recovered, but relapses are sometimes part of the course to recovery. While she didn't sink as low as she did in the Before time, Cass will need to meet her inner demons full on, and this time do it not just for her daughter. She'll need to do it for herself.

At the end of 'Rebirth', Cass and Dor managed to rescue both Smoke and Sammi from the Rebuilders. The rescue had landed everyone in a new predicament. They found themselves at the mercy of a new group of survivors whose status--friendly or hostile--was unknown. Thankfully the group, who lived in a settlement called New Eden, was well organized and welcomed them into their midst.

In 'Horizon', Cass will need to come to terms with what Smoke did and whether or not she can forgive and forget. Plus, the relationship is further complicated by what happened between her and Dor. She'll have to decide if Smoke truly is the man for her, but before that can happen, Smoke will need to come out of the coma he fell into. 'Horizon' starts up two months after 'Rebirth' left off and the Beaters are becoming smarter and their attacks more organized. Just as everyone is starting to feel like things are starting to get back to some sort of normalcy, that false feeling of security is blown to bits as the survivors are forced to run once again for their lives.

I truly love this series, and if this truly is the last book, I will be extremely sad. I love how the book was nothing like I expected and the emotional connection to the characters was so real. The threat of becoming a Beater is still a constant threat either by the bite of a Beater or the eating of blueleaf which still creeps into the gardens of the survivors.

Cass, as I stated before, has fallen off the wagon. Hurt by Smoke's betrayal and trying to deal with the fact he's in a comma, she's reverted to some of her old bad habits. She's begun drinking again, and the affair that she and Dor were supposed to end once their rescue mission was complete is still going on in secret. Cass has slowly reverted into herself and is becoming withdrawn. In 'Aftertime', she worried what she'd done in those lost days between when the Beaters dragged her off and the day she found herself aimlessly wandering on her own. That is something that still haunts her thoughts and is yet another thing that drives her to drown out some of her pain at the bottom of a bottle. In 'Horizon', we finally find out what events took place in that blocked out time period. Plus, we find out what happened to her real dad, the one who left her and her mother all those years ago.

There is so much going on in this book. New Eden is very different from the Box and Cass has a hard time adjusting. I think she's filled with guilt and self loathing and just feels like her life is out of control. The only thing that keeps her even remotely grounded is her daughter Ruthie. I love how in this book we don't only see how Cass is affected, but how the teens such as Sammi are as well. There is a lot of action and many twists, turns and surprises I didn't see coming. I loved this one as much as the first book in the series.

Why is the book titled 'Horizon'? Well, while there are several mentions of the horizon in the book, none of them truly seem to define the title. If I had to take a stab at why 'Horizon' was picked as a title, I would have guessed it was because Cass and the rest of New Eden are traveling East toward the horizon. Plus, if you look up the definition of horizon one of its definitions is 'range of perception or experience' and the perception of those from New Eden is that the East is what holds the best chance of survival. Yet, the true answer as to why the title was picked lies in the official book synopsis where it's stated, 'But she, and all of the other survivors, will fight to the death for the promise of a new horizon….' Thereby, they're looking for a new beginning like the dawn of a new day which incidentally, starts in the east with the rising of the sun and can be noted on the Horizon. I'm loving the title.

I felt it had a great blend of action and drama. If you love the series so far, I doubt you'll be disappointed. This one focused so much more on the main story then on the romance, even though there is romance intertwined throughout, that I'm opting not to rate it on my romance rating scale. Overall, this book gets 5 out of 5 roses.

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