Sequel to The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken, readers are taken on the continuation of the breathtaking journey made by main character Ruby in Never Fade. Ruby is a head-strong protagonist and fiercely loyal friend, who has snagged readers on her adventure since the first page of The Darkest Minds. However, in Never Fade, Ruby learns to control the one thing she couldn’t in the first part of her journey: the monster within her. There’s triumph, sacrifice, love, and death–But, nothing seems to be able to unhinge Ruby except herself.
That, to me, is the most heartbreaking piece of the entire story.
If a teenage girl of today’s society was placed into Bracken’s post-IAAN world, she most likely would face the same fault. She would battle with herself and who she is more than she would with the man pointing a gun at her face. Ruby portrays this in every sense. She’s reasonable, sometimes a bit rash, but very level headed. She appears to have this aura of confidence, though being readers we know that isn’t completely true. I could sit here and write about Liam, or Chubs, or even Zu…But, it’s Ruby who is the real story. I think she’s someone many of us wish to be: strong, a fighter. We wish to be able to tackle situations like she does, and maybe even have her ability to make people forget a few moments. Ruby constantly battles the idea of her being the same kind of monster Clancy is. Clancy, who can keep a whole camp of kids under his mind control, is a monster she fears to become.
One of my favorite parts in Never Fade is Ruby and Vida’s bonding moment. Vida points out to Ruby the biggest difference between Ruby and Clancy, which OF COURSE we’ve all been screaming at Ruby since day one…
“Are you shitting me?” Vida said. “The fact that you can even ask these questions means you haven’t fallen to their level and you probably never will. I get it—I mean, I understand why you’re afraid. I do. But you’re missing the key difference between you and those two (Clancy and Martin).
“You are not alone,” she said.
So, Bracken essentially highlights the importance of friendship and loyalty, especially with people so unlikely to love each other like Ruby and Vida. Once someone means enough to you, it’s like they’re imprinted onto your heart. You can’t remove them, and the knowledge that they’re always going to be there is typically enough to keep us going in the end, which brings me to Liam and Ruby.
This couple is perhaps one of my favorites of all the Dystopian novels I’ve read. In The Darkest Minds, after Ruby erased herself from Liam’s memory, I was heartbroken. I seriously just wanted to scream at her. But it turns out, it may have been a very smart decision. If Ruby hadn’t erased his memory, would she have ever realized that it could be undone? The feelings Liam feels for Ruby had sent some kind of trigger to his mind, which helped him remember everything again, showing Ruby that her ability may cause someone to forget, but not for long if they desire to remember enough. The moment in the gas station, when Ruby first realizes this with Liam made me cry. Truly, I did. One, it meant my favorite couple was back, and two, it gives hope for a happier ending to Ruby’s story in book 3.
My hopes for In the After Light?
I hope Clancy becomes good, first and foremost, because I feel like he has potential to be a great president with the help of Cate and Cole.
I hope Liam and Cole stop hating each other, because every “almost” bonding moment between them was priceless.
I hope Ruby and Liam get to live their beach dream.
I hope Chubs and Vida fall hopelessly in love. I ship them so hard.
I hope Jude isn’t actually dead, and President Gray has taken him hostage.
I hope Cate gets a child in the end.
I hope the cure for the disease is found, or that people finally make peace with it and open REAL rehabilitation centers for kids to learn how to control their abilities better.
I have lots hopes. What are yours? Did you love the sequel as much as I did? Respond below, and if you like my post, please share it!
STAR RATING: 5 out of 5 STARS
Jinapher J. Hoffman