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Rebirth Paperback – Jul 19 2011

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Product Description


"Littlefield turns what could be just another zombie apocalypse into a thoughtful and entertaining exploration of many themes.... Littlefield has a gift for pacing, her adroit and detailed world-building going down easy amid page-turning action and evocative, sensual, harrowing descriptions that bring every paragraph of this thriller to life." --Publishers Weekly, starred review on Aftertime

"The fresh, original worldbuilding solidly supports the unfolding narrative and Littlefield's compelling writing will keep readers turning pages late into the night to find out what happens next. Outstanding!" --RT Book Reviews, Seal of Excellence on Aftertime

"Stephen King's The Stand in a bra and panties.... Aftertime is a highly palatable amalgam of post-apocalyptic fiction, romance, and horror. Yes, the overall storyline is epic but ultimately this is a truly intimate story about one woman's search for herself." --Paul Goat Allen

"Littlefield creates characters with just the right quirks to charm." --Kirkus Reviews

"Rollicking... Delivers on the promise of her debut, A Bad Day for Sorry. Littlefield wields humor like a whip, but never lets it dilute the whodunit."
--Publisher's Weekly on A Bad Day for Pretty [starred review]

"Crime fiction hasn't seen a character as scrappy, mean and incredibly appealing as Stella in a long time. A-"
-Entertainment Weekly on A Bad Day for Sorry

"[Littlefield is] one of the brightest new mystery writers in the business."
-The Huffington Post

"Another of the year's best debuts, a standout mystery distinguished by its charming protagonist and her compelling voice."
--Chicago Sun-Times on A Bad Day for Sorry

"Sophie Littlefield shows considerable skills for delving into the depths of her characters and complex plotting as she disarms the reader.... [She] keeps the plot churning with realistic action that doesn't let up."
-South Florida Sun-Sentinel on A Bad Day for Sorry

"A Bad Day for Pretty firmly establishes [Littlefield] as a new brand of writer.... It's a joy when a new writer holds your attention from beginning to end. It's a treat when she has something so new to say."
-Crimespree Magazine

About the Author

Sophie Littlefield grew up in rural Missouri, the middle child of a professor and an artist. She has been writing stories since childhood. After taking a hiatus to raise her children, she sold her first book in 2008, and has since authored over a dozen novels in several genres. Sophie’s novels have won Anthony and RT Book Awards and been shortlisted for Edgar, Barry, Crimespree, Macavity, and Goodreads Choice Awards. In addition to women’s fiction, she writes the post-apocalyptic Aftertime series, the Stella Hardesty and Joe Bashir crime series, and thrillers for young adults. She is a past president of the San Francisco Romance Writers of America chapter. Sophie makes her home in northern California.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 37 reviews
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Not all monsters are monsters... July 18 2011
By Susan Tunis - Published on
Format: Paperback
I have always thought that the strongest writers have a deep understanding of psychology, an ability not just to get at the complex thoughts and emotions of their characters, but to articulate them as well. And to create characters who are internally consistent, believable, and who breathe life. I generally muse over such thoughts while reading some piece of delicate literary fiction. How astounding, therefore, that the complicated characters are what I find driving Sophie Littlefield's latest zombie apocalypse.

It is the "latest," in that it is book two of her Aftertime Trilogy. If you have not yet read Aftertime, please do so before embarking on Rebirth. Aftertime can stand alone; Rebirth can not. It builds on what has come before.

I'm not going to go into detail summarizing the plot here, but I will say a few things... This novel, like the previous one, is driven by a hunt for a missing child. In it, Dor, one of the secondary characters from Aftertime, comes front and center. And perhaps most daring of all for a novel in the zombie genre, the zombies are little in evidence this time around. Oh, their threat hangs over everything in this wholly changed world, but of the many monsters you'll meet on these pages, almost all are human. And they are all the scarier and more disturbing for it. The story told is compelling, fast-paced, and deeply chilling.

Second books of trilogies are notoriously tricky things. Often they are intermissions before the end game, and they can loose their narrative drive. Happily, that is not the case here. Cass Dollar, the protagonist of Aftertime, is still at the heart of this story. I, personally, don't relate to her any better than I did in the first novel. Nonetheless, I find her absolutely fascinating. She's a tough, volatile character surviving in an unbearably harsh world. Love and revenge, often at war with each other, are the emotions that drive these characters.

This is a zombie tale for fans of The Walking Dead, readers who can appreciate a truly smart, profoundly disturbing, and ultimately character-driven tale of horror--and hopefully redemption. I could have quit reading after Aftertime. That novel concluded its arc and ended at a satisfying point. Rebirth also completes a full arc of the story. However, by the time you get to the end, you will be aching to read on. Just a little more torture from Littlefield, as we collectively wait to get our hands on the final volume!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Gripping Post-Apocalyptic Read Dec 9 2011
By Regina - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
4.5 stars.

I love this series, I love it. I plan on re-reading it soon and am jonesing for the release of #3 in 2012. This book made me cry, made me laugh -- and made me stay up late reading. I felt Cassie's pain and her anger. Sophie Littlefield is an amazing author who tells an amazing tale.

The setting for this story is in post-apocalyptic California, post the bio destruction of the land during wars, post the collapse of the government, and post the rise of a zombie type creature that was created by bio-engineering to plants - it is After and everything that came prior to these events was Before. In Aftertime, there is no government, no infrastructure and everyday is a fight for survival. So that is the backdrop for the story - running from zombie like creatures, trying to find food, groups vying for power, true evilness coming out in humans that are no longer held back by societal rules, and attempts at creating a new civilization. All the good and fun parts of post-apocalyptic stories. But for me, the true story is one of self discovery and growth. The main character is Cassie. We learn in Aftertime (book #1 in this series), that Cassie is a recovering alcoholic, she is a woman who learned to survive and use her body early on in her life and thus thinks that much of her power lies in her sexuality, and she is a mother of a very young child. Cassie is desperately trying to create a life where her daughter, Ruthie, can survive and she is in love with a man, Smoke, that she hooked up with in Aftertime. But Smoke leaves on an expedition, which means there is no guarantee that Cassie will ever see him again. Dror, a man who is a leader in the community Cassie is surviving in, must head out on his own expedition and Cassie decides her and her daughter need to go with him if they are ever going to survive and find a safe place to live --- and Cassie hopes to find Smoke again. This story is a quest, Cassie, Dror and Ruthie traveling the now dangerous highways of California, trying to find refuge in abandoned homes, and fighting other survivalists along the way. The entire time Cassie is protecting her daughter Ruthie, mourning the absence of Smoke, and attempting to hope that Dror feels committed to her and Ruthie enough that he will continue to protect them.

Cassie's past is not pretty and she often remembers what she was like when she was an alcoholic, when she would go home with man after man in her alcoholic stupor, or the abuse she sustained as a child from her mom and step-dad, but despite the unattractiveness of her past Cassie is determined to make a change in her future. She is very concerned about those around her and she is leader. Sophie Littlefield is a very brave author, she allows her story to go places many authors are afraid to go. I was really impressed with the scenes between Cassie and Dror. First off, the scenes were incredibly hot. Maybe the hottest I have read in any book. Second, Cassie was in pain and reverting back to how she quieted her emotions and those around her when she was an alcoholic - Ms. Littlefield didn't take the easy way out, she brought Cassie's past to the forefront. Cassie believes all of her power lies in her body and sexuality and she believes she was manipulating Dror. What she doesn't know is that Dror cares deeply for her. This is not an easy topic to address, Cassie is in a relationship with a man she loves and a man to whom Dror is friends with - but who left her to go on an expedition. Cassie is a mom of a young child, yet she goes out in to dangerous territory seeking safety instead of waiting for death to come to her. I have read some reviews criticizing the "infidelity" or the fact that Cassie doesn't follow sexual rules of conduct. I have also read reviews criticizing the fact that Cassie brings her daughter on this dangerous quest. Well, this setting of this book is not present day California where Cassie could just hide out with her daughter and wait for the cavalry to come. She is in a situation where she has to be proactive and find something safe and good. She knows the man she loves in likely in danger and she does not know day to day if she will survive. Add on to that, this man left her without even saying good-bye. Cassie does not even know if he still wants her or loves her. People in very stressful situations do not always do the most socially appropriate things and I applaud Ms. Sophie Littlefield for allowing the story to naturally go where she wrote it.

A significant character in the aftertime books is Ruthie - Cassie's almost 3 year old daughter. Rarely are kids included in adult books of this genre and if they are - they are usually put there to pull on the emotional heart strings of the reader (e.g. The Passage by Justin Cronin). Ruthie definitely does some heartstring pulling, but she is not just a throw in. The fact of her existence reshaped who Cassie is and every step Cassie takes is tempered or governed by Ruthie's needs. During Aftertime I was very stressed about Ruthie and that does not change in Rebirth, but Ruthie has started to add to the story and she is an important character.

Okay, so lest you think this entire book was emotional and questing stuff - it wasn't. The last third of this book is action packed and tense. It is full good guys, bad guys and gray areas - fighting, interrogation and escape scenes. It has horror filled gore scenes with zombies eating people, lots of fun stuff! If I had any nails, they would have all been bitten off during the last 1/3 of the book. The first ½ to 2/3 of this book does have less action than Aftertime, however it is important to the story and I really loved all of it. I like Cassie, I like the characters and I love the story being told.

I cannot wait for book #3.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
No sophomore slump for this impressive series Sept. 27 2011
By Jenny Q @ Let Them Read Books - Published on
Format: Paperback
I was so impressed with Sophie Littlefield's Aftertime, that I had to read Rebirth right away. It's very hard to review this series without letting spoilers slip, so mostly I'm just going to tell you a bit about why I like these books so much. Aftertime was my first zombie novel and I thought Littlefield did a fantastic job of immersing the reader in her post-apocalytpic world without bogging the story down in details and backstory. Biological warfare destroyed the world's food supply and poisoned the majority of its population. Those that are left struggle to subsist in isolated pockets of civilization where there is safety in numbers; barricaded against Beaters (former humans who are now super-strong flesh-eating zombies thanks to eating contaminated genetically-engineered crops), and distrustful of the Rebuilders, a neo-military organization trying to re-establish control. It's downright scary and intense. But for me the best thing about this series is Cass Dollar.

Talk about someone who has been put through the ringer and never gives up. She's no wonder woman, no ass-kicking heroine--she just has this deep-seated primal urge to survive and to keep going no matter what. In Aftertime Cass was miraculously recovering from an attack by the Beaters--miraculous because those victims who aren't fortunate enough to be killed outright by them turn into Beaters. But not Cass. Her sheer grit and determination propelled her across dangerous country in search of her young daughter Ruthie, and along the way she reluctantly accepted the help of strong and silent hottie Smoke. Cass had learned the hard way never to trust a man and had vowed never to give herself to one again. But of course, she did. And she slowly came to rely on Smoke, to allow herself the luxury of feeling safer, of daring to hope they could have a future and a family in a world where futures and families don't exist. In the Aftertime.

And then in the beginning of Rebirth, Smoke leaves. Now don't judge--you don't know the whole story. But Cass takes it pretty hard. And ends up making some rash decisions and doing some stupid things and really messing with another man's head in the process. And Dor is such a hard character to read, but I like him. Leader of the safe camp where Cass and Smoke found refuge, he's leaving that safety behind to rescue his teenage daughter from the fanatical Rebuilders, and Cass and Ruthie are going with him, hoping to find a better life on the other side. And that's where I'll leave off with the plot because it is just non-stop action and tension from here on out. Whether it's an edge-of-your-seat life and death struggle or an emotional knock-out, it's all intense. And it's all good. My only real complaint is that I feel like Cass's introspection drags on a bit and gets repetitive. But this leaves off with a cliffhanger and one hardcore, gritty love triangle in place. I only wish I didn't have to wait so long to see what happens next. This series won't be for everybody; it's post-apocalyptic and it's got zombies, and some shock and horror, but at its heart it's really emotional, character-driven fiction, and the kind that makes an impression on you and stays with you long after you've read it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Cass Dollar is my new Kara Thrace March 14 2012
By Anissa Annalise - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I don't really know what to say after having read this second installment in Sophie Littlefield's Aftertime series. I was shocked, appalled, annoyed, bored & completely riveted in awe. There's a lot going on here & it's not for the faint of heart. Still, the Beaters are not the worst or most dangerous thing going on. I very much love that.

I must admit that my annoyance was mostly surrounding Cass & her reasoning to leave the Box... **SPOILER ALERT** WITH her child! I'm not a mother, but this seemed like a patently bad idea. Especially since the point is made that Cass only decided the place was no longer worthwhile after Smoke departed. Really, Cass? Ruthie didn't need to grow up around other children & have better until your man hit the road on a quest for revenge? It was all good until he left & then it was untenable? Whatevs. Now, as a character action, I was annoyed but from a storytelling POV, I took this as the way to get her out of the Box & on to Rebuilder world in Colima with Dor. I can live with it. I found her repeated use of Ruthie as her touchstone when presented with moments of peril & general crazy felt less solid than her plight in book 1. Afterall, for all Cass's "woe is me" Ruthie was brought into the present crisis directly by Cass's actions & decisions.

And then there's Dor. Honestly, I was not invested in Dor (this is where I confess boredom) & could never deeply connect with his character because I was still invested in Smoke's story (yes, I had suspected what his secret was tied to in Aftertime Book 1), so I wanted to get on to that. Also, I felt allegiance to Smoke & his plight & didn't much care for Cass seeking to hookup with Dor, not 48 hours after Smoke left the Box. Especially since for Cass she was bent on self-loathing, anger & usury. Her being angry over Nora (Smoke's long cast aside now dead ex) was made even more hollow for me after that. She yammered on & on about being betrayed but she displayed little to no loyalty & allegiance to anyone but herself, so it came off as narcissism & got very old, very quickly. Cass wallowed good & deep in her self-pity & bitterness & while I was interested in where this was all going, I found that often, I was losing patience with her being so all over the place. As a character she made me straddle the fine line between "I'm repulsed but I still care about you" & "I don't even care what your problems & issues or how damaged you are! Get yourself sorted!" I've walked this road with Kara Thrace of BSG & she was one of my favorite characters of all time, so I hung in with Cass. I believe in complex redemption. I won't know until the end of book 3 if Cass delivers, but I'm going to see it through.

I also have to admit that I wasn't very fond of the use of Ruthie as mute-but-prescient & able to dispense premonitions in toddler vernacular when sleep dazed. I thought having her mute was useful because being on the road with a toddler while trying to hide from Beaters & human threats is a lot more risky with a toddler you can't guarantee to be quiet. I was willing to let that bit go as a reader. But also a mono-syllabic clairvoyant? I'm sorry, I call shenanigans.

I want to say that I had enough energy & interest in Sammi & her plight but Cass took up just about all my energy, so I can't. It was interesting but I can't say I would have missed Sammi specifically if she weren't here. That part of the story could just as easily have been told through some other random girl & kinda was as it was picked up in a new character to take us into book 3.

I'm no fan of "love" triangles (I tend to believe that true love is not fickle, so easily waning & certainly not a group sport), so I won't pass judgment on the one offered here (I can't even recognize one of the angles here as anything resembling love). I tend to feel they're trite in general & never compliment the players/characters but only serve as a device that's often not expertly executed & make everyone involved a little less interesting & little more unlikable. The one here may be well executed if that's your thing but I am one to resist them on site, so I reserve objective opinion.

Honestly, & this isn't a slam to the story told in this book, I think I could have skipped this one & gone straight to the last & been perfectly happy. I won't reveal the exciting bits in the last half of the story but I will say it does not disappoint & made a great case for this installment & reading the final installment.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Yes indeed, Ms. Littlefield does it again! July 29 2011
By Alisha S. - Published on
Format: Paperback
In this sequel to the amazing Aftertime, a fascinating premise and excellent narrative execution is built upon and expanded. This book is certainly not its predecessor, taking a different tone and focus but absolutely shining in every aspect.

This is one of those books for which you'll not want to know many details going into the story. As such, describing the book very difficult, since it's so heavily centered around one major occurrence. The themes around which the plot revolves include abandonment and revenge; to know who's experiencing or partaking in these activities might be considered a spoiler. So, I'll stick with the general bits: we're back to following Cass Dollar from book one, and as before, we're treated to an in-depth look at her experiences and inner turmoil. But in addition to that, there's much more focus on others in the cast; in fact, there are several narrative shifts between characters. This is not as much Cass's book as it is her loved ones'...which is fine, considering it seems as though the series is shifting toward a broader, more epic scope as it goes on.

I love it when a storyteller can draw out the most intense, realistic, and honest emotion from fantastical situations or unfamiliar settings. Littlefield does just that and more. Her characters are raw. True. Loved, as evidenced by the care taken in crafting them. There is no simple "angst" but rather a complex assessment of human behaviors and emotions in the face of devastating loss and destruction, of a drastic redefinition of society itself.

Even as the dark reality of certain situations makes you want to look away, the story absolutely *compels* you to continue. It's the very definition of "darkly enchanting." Survival is never a given in this world, nor are tidy resolutions. But the thread of hope maintains, leaving the reader to really want to follow the cast through the hardest moments.

Reading this book has only further solidified by affection and excitement for this trilogy. Even if I read the third and final book (to be released early 2012) and decide I don't like it (highly doubt I would, but for the sake of argument), I'll always hold Rebirth and its predecessor Aftertime as some of my favorite books of all time.