Author: Alexandra Bracken
Release: October 15th 2013
Genre: Dystopia, Paranormal, YA
#2 in the Darkest Minds trilogy
Series: The Darkest Minds (#1), In The Afterlight (#3)
Ruby never asked for the abilities that almost cost her her life. Now she must call upon them on a daily basis, leading dangerous missions to bring down a corrupt government and breaking into the minds of her enemies. Other kids in the Children’s League call Ruby “Leader”, but she knows what she really is: a monster.
When Ruby is entrusted with an explosive secret, she must embark on her most dangerous mission yet: leaving the Children’s League behind. Crucial information about the disease that killed most of America’s children—and turned Ruby and the others who lived into feared and hated outcasts—has survived every attempt to destroy it. But the truth is only saved in one place: a flashdrive in the hands of Liam Stewart, the boy Ruby once believed was her future—and who now wouldn’t recognize her.
As Ruby sets out across a desperate, lawless country to find Liam—and answers about the catastrophe that has ripped both her life and America apart—she is torn between old friends and the promise she made to serve the League. Ruby will do anything to protect the people she loves. But what if winning the war means losing herself?
“And sometimes life just happens to you, and you can't dodge it. It crashes into you because it wants to see what you're made of.”
A really outstanding and stellar sequel to a book that I enjoyed immensely. I have to say that I did have my doubts because of the ending of The Darkest Minds, and I was afraid she'd just sweep that under the rug when it came to resolving that issue, but it was something, along with a lot of other things, that Bracken managed to tie up wonderfully.
I think the characters are really pulling this series along, and they do it extremely well. All of these are so well developed and characterized, it felt like I have known them personally for ages. I'm especially impressed by how much I love Ruby, because she's such a strong and inspiring heroine without coming across as too pristine and perfect. Ruby has a lot of her own demons to battle in this sequel and she wasn't always shown in the best light, but she was trying to break through and be a better person for herself. Because she wanted to, and not for any other outside reason. I mean, yes, she was worried about her friends' safeties, but I think the main motivation was herself, and I think it's important to make a point to show that you have to make decisions for only yourself. Bracken does this well.
The other characters were very endearing and interesting as well, although I have to admit that Ruby is really the brightest star of this show and steals the spotlight. However, I think Liam stood out too, and while I admit that I didn't care that much about him in the first novel, now I can safely say I really like him. He was a bit saint-like in The Darkest Minds and like the perfect Prince Charming, which was probably what threw me off a bit the first time around, but now that he isn't the precious boy candy anymore, he got a lot more edges to his character, which rounded him up very well. Chubs was still one of my favorites, even though he too undergoes a bit of development and realization about who he really is deep down, which was great. Now, Jude was sweet and even though he annoyed me a little at first, he kind of crept up on me, much the same as he did on Ruby. A very deep character, where you don't really see how much depth he really has until you take the time to look, because otherwise, he simply looks like he's a very shallow and naive little kid. He's not, though, and I liked the contrast. His story resembles the "Innocence Lost" for this series, I think, which added a very heartbreaking atmosphere to the story.
The plot was amazing, sometimes it felt like they were just standing on the same spot for ages and doing nothing, while at the same time, it all went way too fast. I enjoyed that paradox vastly and in the end, I think it was simply a little overwhelming. There's a lot more happening than in the first installment, and while it was all always the same basically, it never got old somehow. I should be angry about this, that Bracken can get away with the same general gist the whole time, but I'm not. How could I, when I enjoyed the story immensely anyway?
All in all, I think a very successful sequel to a great series, and I can't wait for the next and final book. While a lot of other sequels have the tendency to fall through for various reasons, mainly plot or romance, Never Fade balances everything it has going for it really nicely, which in the end, makes it a really great read.