by Alexandra Bracken
Series: The Darkest Minds #2
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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?
Last year Darkest Mind blew me away with its dystopian tale, and I was anxious to read the second installment Never Fade by author Alexandra Bracken. Action packed with a corrupt US government and kids with unique capabilities, this action packed tale kept me entertained. Three word review: action-packed, suspenseful and yes another cliffhanger!
The tale picks up a short time after Darkest Minds ends. Ruby is now working for the Children’s League, a rebel force working against the government to undermine the president and extract children from camps. Ruby is forced to use her powers, makes new friends and discovers a sinister force working within the league. She is sent on a secret mission to retrieve a flash drive from Liam Stewart, the boy she loves and whose memory she erased. The tale that unfolds is action-packed, with twists and turns and new characters to love and loathe.
Ruby faces a lot of trials, heartache and physical damage in Never Fade. Despite it all, she is brave, emerges as a leader and handles her abilities with class. She is tired, scared, but so dang determined that you cannot help but root for her. She makes new friends within the league, despite trying to stay unattached. Jude a soon to be fifteen year old is taken under her wing. He is smart, oh so sweet and Ruby develops a parental position with him. Vida is a powerful character with a sassy mouth and enough snark to make you giggle. I adored her as she stole some scenes and added to the tale. Zu is absent from this novel, but Liam and Chubs make an appearance. We see growth in Chubs, and a shift in his attitude towards Ruby. Liam hasn’t fared well since we last encountered him, but I loved the thread between him and Ruby. He is still stubborn and opinionated, but I adored him all the same. Other characters from book one and new ones that are introduced added to the tales suspense.
Never Fade took us on one heck of a ride, with twists and spins that kept the action and suspense running high. While admittedly, I did not love this as much as Darkest Mind, I did feel this was a powerful second book and that it avoided the dreaded middle book syndrome. Bracken continues to flesh out the world and reveal things to us that had my jaw dropping and stomach flipping. Despite all this I was still left wanting more world-building and answers to some nagging questions. Liam and Ruby’s fragile romance/friendship sees some development. The author made it feel genuine all while delivering a fuzzy warm feeling. Bracken allows us to become attached to the characters emotionally and takes us from laughter to tears. This is war, and it isn’t always pretty and she delivered some realistic scenes. The last part of the book evolved at a maddening pace and just when I had a moment of happy we end on a cliffhanger. I will say that as anxious as I am for book three, this book wrapped up well, and I have a clear idea of where the next book is headed and for that I am grateful.
Fans of action-packed dystopians will enjoy Never Fade and the Darkest Minds trilogy. Bracken does an excellent job of fleshing out the world and characters she has created making them memorable. The third and final novel is scheduled to release in 2014 and has yet to be titled.