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 slowly 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...
I absolutely adore the zombie genre, and happen to have a bunch of zombie books that I haven't gotten a chance to read yet... so, I've decided to read a zombie book whenever I can. I've also been going out of my way to check out what else is out there in this wonderful genre.
This happened to be the next book I decided to read.
And, wow. This is one awesome book, starring a seriously scarred heroine. She's so damaged that every action she makes, and every thought she has, fills her with self-doubt and a rush of memories about all the things she did Before. In this dangerous and dead world, there's Before and Aftertime.
Aftertime is where Cass lives now. In a world full of Beaters, disgusting creatures that feed on human flesh and are starting to evolve in their own manic way. There are communities of survivors hidden in schools and libraries, while others choose to hide alone in their homes, but the threat of the infected is always there. And Cass knows all too well, because she was attacked and actually became one... even if she can't remember much about it.
My gosh, this book was amazing. It sucked me in right from the very beginning. I couldn't wait to find out what Cass had gone through to get where she was. Could feel the devastation and desperation she suffered through every moment of her life, because she didn't know where her daughter was. And that's her drive--finding Ruthie. All she wants in this horrible world is to have her daughter back. At the core of everything, that's all she ever wanted: her daughter.
Of course, meeting Smoke changes her life. And leads them both on a harrowing adventure in search of Ruthie. Leading from one action-packed moment to another. But that's not all there is. This book has a rich backstory, people that you'll love, others that you'll hate, a zealous cult, a new (and very human) threat called the Rebuilders, and so much emotion. It's a fascinating, tense book that kept me on the edge of my seat.
I loved it! And can't wait for the next one.
H&UFRC books read: 25/24