Book Review: Rebirth by Sophie Littlefield

Rebirth
Sophie Littlefield
Luna Books, July 2011
ISBN 9780373803392
Trade Paperback

This series hooked me with the first book, Aftertime. Zombies are an odd subject for this writer of western type books, but really, in post-apocalyptic fiction, aren’t the characters in much the same position as those who forwarded the western movement? I think I see similarities. Anyway, that aside, in Rebirth, author Littlefield continues the story of the seriously messed up Cass Dollar and her daughter Ruthie.

Cass and Ruthie are living with Smoke, the man who helped save them from the Rebuilders, in an area known as the Box, a sanctuary headed by the mysterious Dor. Cass, having fought off her need for drink for several months now, is almost ready to believe she and her daughter are safe–until Smoke abandons her. He’s heard the Rebuilders have burned and killed many of the occupants of  the house where he’d found Cass. He sets out to wreck vengeance, or maybe find atonement, by killing those responsible. Rebuilders have taken Dor’s daughter, Sammi, from the house alive, with the intent of using her for nefarious purposes of some sort. Cass, believing that without Smoke there is no longer a place for her in the Box, talks Dor into taking her with him when he sets out to rescue Sammi. They meet unspeakable horrors along the way to Colima where the Rebuilders have fortified the college campus. The zombie Beaters are not necessarily the worst of the lot. Plenty of action ensues when Dor and Cass, in an extreme and uneasy relationship, go after Sammi, only to find Smoke, badly injured and in dire danger, is a captive, too, in need of rescue. And even if the rescue is successful, where in this broken world will the small group find safety?

The setting and circumstances, our familiar world in ruins, is enough to ensure a reader’s attention. Non-stop action brings home the characters’s struggle to live. The what-ifs in this series seem so logical you may read the morning paper wondering if it’s about to happen for real. Even the making of the zombies seems possible. At first thought you might think they’d be easier to kill completely, but really, how do you eradicate something that doesn’t know it’s already dead?

What really sells these books is the characters. Complicated, flawed, full of strife, full of life, just wanting to survive. Love it.

Reviewed by Carol Crigger, February 2012.