Audiobook Review: Aftertime by Sophie Littlefield

7 10 2011

Aftertime by Sophie Littlefield (An Aftertime Novel, Book 1)

Read by Ellen Archer

Audible Frontiers

Length: 10 Hrs 30 Min

Genre: Zombie Apocalypse

Quick Thoughts: Aftertime is a intriguing zombie tale in a well built world with a complex character. It has just enough horror and zombie mayhem to appeal to fans of the undead, yet also provides a complex romantic tale that should please fans of Romance novels willing to take a chance.

Grade: B

Zombies are probably my favorite of the supernatural creatures. Now, before you get all technical and rant and rave about the true definition of what a zombie is, I need to stop you. I don’t care. I don’t care that the zombies from 28 Days Later aren’t really zombies because they didn’t die. I like to live in a world of creativity where zombies are not required to only exist under a strict set of technical rules. If they walk, shamble or run, live in an altered cerebral state, and crave the flesh of human, I’m pretty much cool with calling them zombies.  For me, whether they are classic Romero zombies or some unique version of flesh eating automatons, what really fascinates me is the reaction of the world around them. Yes, I love a good zombie chase, and I support zombie killing but what truly fascinates me is the systems built by the survivors to live with the new threat. For this reason, I always enjoy Post Apocalyptic zombie novels, more so than just simple outbreak novels. Aftertime by Sophie Littlefield is such a novel. It centers around Cass, a women with a past full of self abuse, alcoholism and sexual degradation. Then The Siege came, a time of terrorist attacks, and a failed government program that ended up causing a disease that turned people into zombies called Beaters. One day Cass and her 3 year old daughter are attacked by Beaters, and then Cass wakes up alone, rife with scars and scabbed over wounds, not remember anything since the moment of the attack. After some mindless wandering, unsure about what really happened to her, Cass decides to go on a mission to find her daughter.

I found Aftertime to be a unique twist on the Post Apocalyptic zombie mythos. While much of the themes can be found in other zombie tales, Sophie Littlefield does a good job of building her world. It’s an interesting world, and we only skim the surface of much of it. I found Cass to be a well drawn character. Despite being a third person tale we spend much of the time in Cass’ head, experiencing her nearly crippling self doubt and her belief that she cannot truly change. We see the world through the filter of Cass’ thoughts and perspectives. For such a hard woman, she was often quite naive. Spending so much time in Cass’ thoughts made it harder to connect with the other characters of the book. Cass’ guide and romantic interest Smoke seems like a compelling character, but you learn little of his motivations or history since everything was filtered through Cass. He seemed like a character I would want to know more about, yet we really were not given much of a chance. There isn’t a ton of action in the book, but when it does come, it is crisply written, with no unnecessary details to muddy up the picture. This works well, especially in audiobook form, because it allows the listener to visualize the scenes filling in their details without them being spoon fed. Conversely, the Romantic scenes were quite detailed, to the point of awkwardness for me. I think Romance fans who are willing to take on a zombie novel will find this fulfilling, but for me, outside of what it revealed about Cass’ character, I would have been OK with less detail, Overall, Aftertime is a intriguing zombie tale in a well built world with a complex character. It has just enough horror and zombie mayhem to appeal to fans of the undead, yet also provides a complex romantic tale that should please fans of Romance novels willing to take a chance.

Ellen Archer was the narrator for this tale, and has a smooth beautiful voice. Perhaps, a bit too smooth. I would have loved to hear Archer take a little more risk with Cass’ character, putting more of an edge into Cass’ voice. She showed she can do it with some of the other characters in the book, but for Cass she went with her default voice. Other than that, I thought she handles the material well, providing a clear, crisp reading of the action scenes as well as the romantic ones. She has a nice flow to her voice that captures the rhythm of the words, and she handles both genders and all age ranges well. I look forward to listening to her reading of Rebirth, the sequel to Aftertime.

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2 responses

7 10 2011
Jenn's Bookshelves

I just picked up my copy of AFTERTIME from the library; dying to start it!

20 10 2011
teresasreading

Zombies are something that are completely foreign to me. I think your point about romance fans taking on zombies is interesting. Trying to capture a new audience?

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