Review: Horizon by Sophie Littlefield

Filed in 5 Stars , featured , Review , Sophie Littlefield , The Needy Lover Posted on February 21, 2012 @ 12:00 pm 18 comments

Format read: ebook (eARC and purchased final copy)
Publisher: Harlequin Luna
Genre: dystopian fantasy, romance elements
Number of pages:
400 pages
Publisher: Harlequin Luna
Formats available: trade paperback, ebook
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Book Depository, Author’s WebsiteAmazonBarnes & Noble, Kobo

Blurb:

Aftertime Trilogy, Book #3

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 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…

My Thoughts: 

Okay, so first things first. There is simply no way I can adequately convey how much this book–and by extension, this trilogy–bowled me over and amazed me. What I mean by that is that the book has so many elements and minor details and memorable bits that I would have to write an full-on essay in order to convey my thoughts.

That said, I’ll say this: Horizon was a magnificent trilogy ender. It had the elements that made the first two Aftertime books so powerful: epic plot, grim and chilling situations, highly nuanced characters, and a solid thread of realism–the last of which is remarkable, the book’s being a post-apocalyptic paranormal tale.

This story takes up only some months after Rebirth ends (review here) and no more than a year out from the first book, Aftertime (review here). Taken together (as they must), the three stories chronicle the harrowing journey of one Cass Dollar as she struggles to survive not just the external threats of a post-apocolyptic landscape, but also the internal scars of a long, hard, traumatic life, lived when society was “Before.”

The characters, particularly Cass, don’t pretend to be heroes. They’re survivors, intensely flawed and prone to grave mistakes and inadequacies….but as Littlefield writes them, they’re beautiful–at the very least, fascinating. (Well…Sammi, the petulant teenager who has some narrative time in the book, tested my damn patience ^_^, but in truth, even her character was honest, a realistic reflection of youthful frustration and growth). The author never once shies away from putting her main cast through fairly impossible situations, and it’s something that kept my eyes glued to the page and had me thinking about the characters well after finishing the book.

This specific installment closed out the trilogy with balance and a clear connection to the books that came before it. Much of Horizon‘s strength does come from those two books, so I would highly recommend reading those first before starting this one. Horizon is full of revelations that won’t have the same impact without the context.

Along those lines, the connections between characters were so very complex, so multi-layered…the characters hurt each other, they love each other, and it’s hard to swallow sometimes but it’s real and honest. This book is not “a romance,” but the romantic elements were stellar, providing more nuance than one might find in any given book fully classified as “romance.”

As with books one and two, this story has a sharp sense of visuals that lend to a high chill factor. The zombies (“Beaters”) are back with a vengeance, and every action scene is intense, creepy, vivid. Another area where the author doesn’t shy away from detail. ^_^

Now, I originally had this book set at a rating of 4.5, owing mostly to the fact that the first quarter of the book for some reason was harder to get into, and to the fact that some of the mechanics of the tale pulled me out of the illusion a handful of times. But I couldn’t keep my rating as it was. This book deserves a five for being unique, riveting, exciting, powerful, and totally memorable. I actually went back and reread much of the trilogy right after finishing this book, because I knew any other book that I read would be a bust, through no fault of it’s own. ^_^ Compared to anything outside of the trilogy, it’s phenomenal.

If you like dystopians; if you like zombies; if you like anything that is highly intense… do yourself a favor and pick up this book and the two that precede it. Horizon is the perfect end to a perfect series that will stay with you for a very, very long time.

And just because I can (and because it’s so preeeetty), I’ve posted the trailer for the trilogy below…


——–

I give Horizon 5 stars!

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.

About Alisha


Alisha, the bespectacled and ever nerdy California girl, simply won't leave home without a book in hand. She loves language learnin' and is working toward becoming a bonafide grammar ninja. On any given day you'll find her haunting local libraries or baking scores of cupcakes and sweet treats.

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18 Comments

Join the Discussion
  • Mel S February 21, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    That was one of the most eloquent reviews of this fantastic trilogy I’ve read (mine came across as just babbling about how fantastic this is!). I agree with everything you said 100% – one of the most intense reading experiences I’ve ever had! :)

    • Alisha February 22, 2012 at 2:03 pm

      Thanks, Mel! ^__^ If you want to read a mind bogglingly eloquent review on this book, check out Paul Goat Allen’s (the famous paranormal book reviewer for Barnes & Noble, The Chicago Tribune, Publishers Weekly, BookPage). Titled: “A Monumental Post-Apocalyptic Work – Littlefield Pens Her Magnum Opus With the Aftertime Trilogy”.

      But I must disagree re: your review being babbling. ^_^ I concur with every point you brought up. I love the parallel you made with one scene and Dawn of the Dead; I didn’t make the connection at the time, but it totally does have that feel!

      I see you mentioned recommending this series to fans of Mira Grant and Stacia Kane. Both are still on my “authors to try out” list, but the mention just bumped them to the top. Thank you ma’am!

  • Jen at Red Hot Books February 21, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    Great review. This series really got under my skin –and took twists and turns I never expected. Very, very good.

    • Alisha February 22, 2012 at 2:06 pm

      Yeah, that’s the beauty of the series. I’m sure many people didn’t expect it to go where it did, but Littlefield seemed to make it all make perfect sense.

  • melliane February 22, 2012 at 5:38 am

    it sounds like a nice series, I really need to try this one. I keep hearing great things about it and the world looks very intriguing! Great review, can’t wait to learn more about the first book.

    • Alisha February 22, 2012 at 2:05 pm

      This one is definitely epic in terms of world building. I hope you enjoy it. ^_^

  • Tamsyn February 22, 2012 at 9:18 am

    That was a really great review. Makes me want to try this series. Thanks.

    • Alisha February 22, 2012 at 1:44 pm

      Thanks, Tamsyn! If you don’t mind a zombie creep/gore factor…I would HIGHLY recommend you read this. ^_^

  • Draconismoi February 22, 2012 at 10:48 am

    Zombie Apocalypse! Fabulous series, thanks for the review.

    • Alisha February 22, 2012 at 1:43 pm

      YW! Do you have a fave book of the three?

      • Draconismoi February 23, 2012 at 1:02 am

        Well I haven’t read Horizon yet.

        It’s just so devastating. I presume you snatched it up before the review request trickled down to the guests AND then my delinquent relatives failed to provide the customary Book Depository gift certificate. What did I get instead? Pot holders and a microwave. Neither of which will have any use in the inevitable zombie apocalypse.

        I’m DOOMED! (sobsobsob)

        • Alisha February 23, 2012 at 1:17 am

          Oh no! Major unfortunateness, dude.

          I originally got the book on Netgalley, but the copy was pre-copyedit, and had so many mechanical issues going on that I just waited for the release to buy a final copy. And when I get the chance and $, I’ll buy a hard copy too. Why? Cuz I’m crazy.

          Question: you ereaderer or pbookerer?

          • Draconismoi February 23, 2012 at 1:57 am

            Depends. I buy paper versions of all the books I really love. Often importing them from the UK or AUS if the covers are better. Which, well, they always are.

            For books I am just trying out for the first time, I’ll read ebook or paper. Whichever is handier. Right now it’s all paper because I am traveling all over the bloody place for work. I can’t read ebooks on the plane. “NO ELECTRONICS OR WE’LL ALL DIE FIERY DEATHS. THIS MEANS YOU.” They are so picky on the tiny planes flying out to the Bush.

  • aurian February 22, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    Glad you enjoyed it so much, but dystopian/apocalypse books are not my thing.

    • Alisha February 22, 2012 at 1:41 pm

      Thanks, aurian! I most definitely enjoyed this one.

      yeah, such genres/themes can’t be everyone’s thing. I happen to be a sucker for dystopians, and while this series is *technically* not within the literary definition of a dystopian (tho that doesn’t stop me from calling it such! lol), it was already something I knew I would like before I’d even read it.

  • Melissa (My World...in words and pages) February 27, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    Oh man! I’m not a zombie lover, but this trilogy sounds like one I really need to get. :) Thank you!!!

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