Saturday, July 9, 2011

Review: Aftertime

Sophie Littlefield
Aftertime/Book 1
Luna/February 22, 2011

From the back cover ~

The World is Gone.

Worse, So Is Her Daughter.

Awakening in a bleak landscape as scarred as her body, Cass Dollar vaguely recalls surviving something terrible. Having no idea how many weeks have passed, she slwoly realizes the horrifying truth: Ruthie has vanished.

And with her, nearly all of civilization. Where once-lush hills carried cars and commerce, the roads today see only cannibalistic Beaters - people turned hungry for human flesh by a government experiment gone wrong.

In a broken, barren California, Cass will undergo a harrowing quest to get Ruthie back. Few people trust an outsider, let alone a woman who became a zombie and somehow turned back, but she finds help from an enigmatic outlaw, Smoke. Smoke is her savior, and her safety.

For the Beaters are out there. And the humans grip at survival with their trigger fingers. Especially when they learn that she and Ruthie have become the most feared, and desired, of weapons in a brave new world...

The blurb is a little misleading. It makes it sound like civilization vanished when Ruthie did but when Cass wakes up alone in a field, it's actually been month since the world went to hell due to wars of bio-terrorism. Cass wakes up far from where she last saw Ruthie, not knowing how she got there and if Ruthie is okay. So begins Cass' journey back to the town where she last saw Ruthie.

Cass Dollar has one messed up life. She's a recovering alcoholic with a history of abuse at the hands of her stepfather. Her mother wasn't much better in that she didn't believe the abuse was happening. Cass' one bright spot in her life is her daughter Ruthie and she will do anything to get Ruthie back. Aside from finding out what happened to Ruthie and how it would all play out, I didn't have much emotional investment in Cass. In fact, no characters really pulled at me or kept my interest. It was the story and the world that kept me reading.

If you want to put the label of hero on a character, I guess Smoke would be it. His character is not very well developed and is kept at more of a secondary character status. Within hours of meeting Cass, Smoke has decided to help her in anyway he can. He was like a puppy, following her around into danger and leaving his "people" behind. I never could figure out why he was so quick to help Cass.

The Beaters - not zombies in the real sense of the word. To zombie purists, and I'm sure there are some out there, zombies are the dead come back to life. The Beaters are humans infected with a disease that makes them want to eat human flesh, preferably fresh. They did not die then come back to life, in fact, they are hard to kill. They infect with their bites so even if you manage to get away after getting bit, you're infected.

As Cass and Smoke search for Cass' daughter, they face many obstacles, most of the deadly variety. The survivors have begun to form groups, one calls themselves the Rebuilders. They use force to get results and take what they want. Smoke has a history with the Rebuilders and it's not a good one. Cass and Smoke do make there way to where they hope to find Ruthie and here's where the plot took a bizarre turn. It turns out religious zealots will always survive and Cass finds out just how crazy they can be. At this point I merely wanted to get to the end, with hopefully Cass and Ruthie reunited.

So, liked the world building for the most part. The characters less so. I didn't feel a connection with Cass and it's told from her POV. She's determined to find her daughter but then she would venture into these thoughts of how dying might just be easier. So which is it? Give up or keep going until she finds Ruthie? I didn't understand how she could even think of giving up when she had no idea if Ruthie was okay. I do hope we see greater character development in future books. Even with the problems and weak characters, Aftertime proved to be a quick read with potential for the rest of the series.

Rating: C

Books in this series ~

Survivors (free ebook)
Rebirth (July 26, 2011)
Horizon (February 2012)


  1. I love your review of this book, but the book just doesn't sound tempting to me. I'm not a fan of zombies and then the fact that the narrator is not likable? I don't know...

  2. Hils ~ Thanks! I think the series has potential but there are better post-apocalyptic novels out there.

  3. Hmmm, doesn't sound like a book for me ^_^;

    Great review as usual, Les!

  4. Nath ~ you're not much for dystopian are you? For some reason, I've been in the mood for them lately. :)

  5. Nope, not a fan of it. I think it's because most of it, I find depressing. And while the events, details and etc. are different, the feel is the same.

  6. Nath ~ it can and is depressing but with the right author it can also be exciting and hopeful.