In The Afterlight – book review

In The Afterlight

In The Afterlight is the last instalment in the breathtaking trilogy The Darkest Minds, written by Alexandra Bracken.

After an unbearable loss and surviving the government’s attack on Los Angeles, Ruby and her friends travel north to regroup. They can’t look back. They can only look forward – because they have a mission. With them is a prisoner: Clancy Gray, son of the president, and one of the few people Ruby has ever met who has abilities like hers. But Ruby is the only one who has power over him. One mistake could lead to Clancy wreaking havoc on their minds.

The group are armed with a secret. A secret that would change the world. They have the proof of a government conspiracy to cover up the real cause of IAAN, the disease that has killed most of America’s children and the government will kill to keep Ruby, and other people with powers like her, contained. But that isn’t the only problem they will encounter when trying to free thousands of Psi kids from ‘rehabilitation camps’. It might be their own internal strife that destroys their chances of freedom.

Meanwhile, reunited with Liam, the boy she would sacrifice everything for, Ruby must face the painful repercussions of having tampered with Liam’s memories of her. She turns to Cole, Liam’s older brother, to give her intense training that she knows she’ll need to take down Gray and the government. But Cole has demons of his own, and one wrong move may be the spark that sets the world on fire.

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Like the other two books in this series, The Darkest Minds and Never Fade, I really enjoyed reading In The Afterlight. I think one of the main reasons I liked it so much was because I was so attached to all of the characters and really cared about how this series ended up. I’ve read what feels like a lot of series that don’t have satisfying endings, but thankfully, this isn’t one of them. I was really happy with the way things worked out in this book.

However. There’s always a however, isn’t there? However, I didn’t feel as though this book was a well paced as the other two. In the other two, I found myself glued to the pages and the book seemed to fly by. This book seemed to drag on a bit. It didn’t feel like much at all happened in this book. I think probably the main reason for that was because we were in the same place for the majority of the book. That meant that Ruby was frustrated, which meant we were frustrated, and I just wished more happened in the first three hundred pages of this book.

The only time when I felt this book pick up pace and something actually happened was in the last hundred pages or so. But when you hit the marker for this, a lot happens. Sometimes I get the feeling that it’s hard for a series to fully rap up everything and make the series satisfying and worthwhile, but this book definitely finished things really well. I found myself getting a little emotional at the end of this book, simply because this series is over. I’ve grown so attached to the characters and the world they live in and I can’t believe that the story of Ruby and Liam and all the other kids is finally finished. But all good things come to an end, right? Well in this case, this book is a very exceptionally good thing.

I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with all of the characters again in this book. I feel like all of the characters aren’t just characters, they’re people. They’re so complex and unique and they feel so real, like they could walk right off the pages and become living, breathing people in our world. They are flawed. They aren’t one-dimensional. They’re human. And that’s what I liked best about them. Their actions could be unpredictable and yes, sometimes frustrating. But I loved them anyway. I feel like I’ve gone on a journey with them. And that journey was definitely worth my time.

I felt like all of the characters have grown so much since the beginning of this trilogy. They all seemed so much stronger – mentally and physically – by the end of this book. I was so happy with how all the characters developed and how their story played out. Ruby definitely grew over the course of the three books. I felt like she gained a lot of courage, bravery and especially determination. She was never willing to give up, which was one of the things I liked most about her. She fought for what she believed in, even if that meant thinking she would possibly have to sacrifice herself for that cause. She could be more than a little stubborn sometimes and could be a little cold at times, but that was Ruby and those were just the parts of her that made her feel human.

Let’s talk about Liam for a moment. In all three of these books, Liam had me swooning. Big time. Ever since the moment we met him, I fell in love with him. I loved hearing his opinions on everything and how he was always put other people before himself and cared about the happiness of his friends so much. Yes, sometimes the lack of conversation between Liam and Ruby was frustrating and annoying, because a lot of the problems in this book could have been solved by those two communicating, but I forgave them both. I liked it when they were finally on the same page and there were no points in this book I loved more than when they were together and without any secrets.

There were so many characters that I felt so attached to in this series. Cole, Vida, Zu, Jude, Sam and even Clancy. I loved all of their individual personalities and how they weren’t just one-dimensional. The thing I hate more than anything in the world is having predictable, one-dimensional characters. Okay, maybe the fact that I hate it more than anything in the world is being a touch dramatic. But I do hate it. However in this book we really get to see all the sides to the characters. We learn that there’s no strictly good or evil character and that there’s a mix of both in us and the side that we decide to play on determines our decisions. It’s really easy to see how good and evil can be very close to one another and how there’s often either a lot of grey space, or not much at all.

Another thing I loved about this series was the world building. It’s so unbelievably realistic. Overall, this book and this series will forever have a place in my heart. I’ll never forget the stories of Ruby and Liam and Chubs and Vida and Zu and Cole. If you haven’t read this series, I definitely, 100% recommend it. Admittedly, this book was a little slow, but it was definitely worth it and I loved the way things ended up. I’d give In The Afterlight by Alexandra Bracken a score of 8.5 out of 10. Please share your thoughts on this series!

Never Fade – book review

Never Fade

Never Fade is the second thrilling book in The Darkest Minds series, written by Alexandra Bracken.

Ruby’s an Orange – meaning she can see into others people’s minds and control them. But Ruby never asked for this ability. Now she must call upon her power on a daily basis to not only save the lives of her and her supporters, but to help bring down a corrupt government. Even though the other kids in the Children’s League call Ruby ‘Leader’, only she knows what she truly is: a monster.

When Ruby learns of a secret that threatens everything, she must leave the Children’s League behind and embark upon her most dangerous mission yet. Ruby must reveal the truth about the government and what they’re really doing to the kids who have abilities. But there is only one place this information is saved, and that’s in the hands of Liam Stewart – the boy Ruby once believed was her future, and now can’t recognise her.

Ruby must choose between protecting her old friends or staying with the League as she promised. Ruby will do anything to protect the people she loves. But what if winning the war means losing herself?

I really enjoyed reading Never Fade. It was one of those books that I couldn’t stop thinking about until I finally read it. After the shocking cliff-hanger that The Darkest Minds left us on, Never Fade immediately threw me back into the action. I found myself immersed in the dystopian world once again, however it took a while for me to understand what was happening. The ending of The Darkest Minds to the beginning of Never Fade didn’t flow as smoothly as I had hoped and it left me trying to fill in the blank spaces of information. It took a little while before I found out what was happening, but when I did, everything fell into place nicely. A real strength in Never Fade is the friendships, relationships and the romances.  Almost straight away a new character was introduced – Vida. At first, I really didn’t like Vida. I didn’t know whether I could trust her and her attitude annoyed me. But I found myself enjoying Vida’s feistiness the more I read on, yet I still didn’t know if I could trust her until towards the end. Cole, Liam’s older brother, also played a big role in this book. Like Vida, I was hesitant to trust him at first. Cole’s personality is very different to Liam’s, even though they may look and talk the same. When I found out Cole’s secret at the end of the book, my mind was blown. That changes everything. I can’t wait to see what Alexandra Bracken does with this in the next book! Then there’s Jude – what isn’t to love about Jude? He was definitely one of my favourite characters. He was a very dramatic person; most of the time he was either super excited or freaking out. Jude always had me smiling whenever he spoke. In Never Fade, Ruby is full of determination to set things right. Her heartbreak of taking away Liam’s memories was unbearable at times, yet she remained strong even in the hardest of situations. Ruby gains more control of her powers in this book and I loved seeing her learn to use her powers better. Ruby was a really admirable character for her strong-mindedness and determination. Although I loved all the characters in this book, I found Never Fade a bit too long. With 500+ pages, I felt like it dragged on a little. The pace was inconsistent. In some places, I couldn’t put the book down. In others, it was a struggle to make it to the next chapter. I found that the first half of the book was slower. Everything seemed to be crammed into the last half of the book – all the surprised, the twists and the shocks. I needed some of those surprises in the first half of the book to encourage me to read on. This book could have easily be shortened to 400 pages and still had been just as good, if not better. The end of Never Fade is another cliff-hanger. Although it doesn’t seem as major as the end of The Darkest Minds, I’m excited to read the next book when it comes out. I enjoyed reading Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken and I’d give it a score of 8 out of 10. If you’ve read The Darkest Minds and are considering picking up Never Fade, I highly recommend it. Although the first half of the book may drag on, it’s definitely worth reading!