*Spoilers for Aftertime are present in this review*
Rebirth takes place a few months after the events of Aftertime. Cass has Ruthie back, and the two of them, plus Smoke, are now a seemingly perfect little family - but this semblance of a fairytale life (as much as one can have in a post-apocalyptic, zombie-ridden world) in the Box is about to change.
Smoke receives word that the Rebuilders, who give people two choices: JOIN or DIE, have executed a group of people in the school he used to take refuge in. Not only that, but Dor's (the man who founded and runs the Box) daughter, Sammi, was one of the few that were taken into their custody. And now? Smoke is out for vengeance. He leaves the Box without even a word to Cass - leaving her to feel abandoned, heartbroken, and positively infuriated.
Cass quickly finds out from Dor that he also plans to leave the Box the next day. With resources beginning to diminish and her lover gone, Cass decides it's time for her to move on as well. So, she convinces Dor to let her and Ruthie go with him on his mission to save Sammi from the Rebuilders.
Things only become more complicated from here. Dor and Cass develop and odd love/hate relationship. Dor is hiding something about Smoke. Ruthie, who is usually a mute child, is beginning to blurt out seemingly prophetic words in her sleep. Blue-leaf kaysev, dwindling resources, desperate/violent squatters, and Rebuilders aren't the only dangers out there; The threat of the Beaters is ever present.
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Gosh, what to say about this book? It was fantastic! I don't have any complaints about it whatsoever. I knew Sophie Littlefield would not disappoint.
The characters are as multi-dimensional and intense as ever. Cass is passionate and damaged, but puts the people she cares about front and center. She sacrifices again, and again, and again. Smoke is becoming quite the enigma. What the heck is going on with him? I have no idea. It wasn't revealed to us in Rebirth, but the prospect of this secret's big reveal is almost too much for me to handle. And DOR, oh... Dor. He is my new favorite character. I love his broody outer-shell, and his big heart. Talk about paradox! One minute he's talking about how selfish he is, how much he could never care for anyone but himself - but the next he's throwing himself in the line of fire to protect people he doesn't even know, carrying precious Ruthie on his shoulders, and treating Cass with tender care. While I am on that subject: I love Cass and Dor together. Their relationship has this amazing passion that teeters on the tightrope of love and hate. You can just TELL something amazing is there. I hope with all my might that they are going explore this further in Horizon. The intimate scenes between these two were downright steamy. I needed to fan myself afterward. Phew!
The pace of the book was pure perfection. The continuation of the story was as epically amazing as the beginning. I could not get enough! I read it in about 6 hours. Every single paragraph left me in need of more more more! The author threw in all sorts of bombshells, too. The Rebuilders are up to some hardcore, terrible things. Smoke and Dor are both riddled with secrets. We learn more about Cass' past and the hardships she had to endure. Something completely strange is going on with Ruthie. The Beaters are getting desperate and smarter. The story also comes complete with a total cliffhanger of an ending.
Rebirth is the best sophomore novel I had the pleasure of reading in all of 2011 (It's December 3rd, but I am completely confident I can say this and not have to take it back later). It's raw. It's brutally honest. It's mesmerizing. It's intense. It's emotional. It's chilling, haunting. It's a roller-coaster of genius. In a world replete with dangers, in a setting as bleak as they come - Sophie Littlefield has created a passionate web of human emotion that you really just can't, no... shouldn't miss.
If you want a post-apocalyptic, zombie-infested, powerful, and moving novel - this book is for you. :)
*Contains adult content - definitely not suitable for minors*