Review: Never Fade (The Darkest Minds #2) – Alexandra Bracken

Release Date: November 1st 2013
Published By: HarperCollins (Aus),  Disney-Hyperion (US)
Pages: 508
Goodreads: Add it to your reading list

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Synopsis:

Ruby never asked for the abilities that almost cost her her life. Now she must call upon them on a daily basis. 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 – in the hands of Liam Stewart, the boy Ruby once believed was her future and who now wouldn’t recognise her.

As Ruby sets out across a desperate, lawless country to find Liam, 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 survival was never an option?

Review: This review does contain spoilers for The Darkest Minds.

After the devastatingly bitter-sweet ending of The Darkest Minds, I couldn’t wait to pick up Never Fade to see where Alexandra Bracken would take us. And wow – what a follow up it is! This is one amazing sequel!

Never Fade is filled with action, confusion, panic, enemies, and heartache. I laughed, I gasped, I choked up. Alexandra Bracken will rip your heart out, smash it on the ground, repair it, and then do it all over again. One quote in the book best sums up my feelings about Never Fade “If a heart could break once, it shouldn’t have been able to happen again.” In this astonishing sequel, everything is more dangerous, with the storyline moving along at a rapid pace, which will leave your heart pounding as you turn the pages. It is filled with descriptive action scenes, emotionally-charged reunions, some amazing new characters and twisting plots.

Never Fade picks up about 6 months after we left Ruby in the hands of the Children’s League in The Darkest Minds. Ruby has learnt a lot in her time with the Children’s League; she has learnt some much needed survival skills, and has gained more control over her abilities. Although Ruby now leads dangerous missions, breaks into the minds of the Leagues enemies, protects other League members and seems to be embedded deep within the League, Ruby is building up to achieve her  goal: to escape the League.

Then her plan gets flipped upside down when on her latest mission results in learning that there is evidence that there is crucial information about the disease that has turned the children in America into hated outcasts. If she gets hold of this information, she could help free the children being held at camps. The only problem is, this information is unknowingly in the hands of Liam – the boy that she loves, the boy that she will do anything to protect, including giving up a future with him – the boy that no long knows who she is.

As Ruby embarks on her new mission of getting this crucial information from Liam, Ruby is thrown together with some new friends, as well as connects with some old ones. She struggles to keep the League away from those she cares about most, but as her two worlds collide, she may not be able to keep them from destroying each other.

A lot of characters from The Darkest Minds return, and some of these characters show a lot of character development, while some do not – and that is a truly terrifying thing. Evil has many faces, and comes in many colours.

Ruby struggles with the choices she has made when it comes to her old friends, and she undoubtedly still cares for them, and she does try to make amends her previous actions. But as the story develops, tension rises as Ruby is torn between her dedication to her old friends, and her new promise to expose the truth. And some of the scenes between Ruby and her old friends will break your heart. So much love, confusion, determination, hurt, loyalty and protectiveness. The final scenes of The Darkest Minds were so beautifully painful, and those emotions are once again brought to the surface when those who Ruby cares about most come back into her life. Some scenes will fill your heart with joy, while others will leave you shattered (but yet filled with hope).

We also get to meet a lot of new characters. Most noteworthy are fellow League members Vida, Jude and Liam’s brother, Cole. I utterly loved Vida. She is breath of fresh air – actually no, she isn’t, she is more like sudden hurricane – but I love her honesty, her bluntness and her attitude. She is kick-ass, sassy and dependable – something that not only Ruby, but this twisted and deceitful world needs. Then there is Jude, the sweet and innocent character that you cannot help but find adorable. I will admit, that at times I felt sorry for him, as he often was overlooked, but he really showed that honesty, virtue and trust can exist in a world filled with darkness, hatred and fear. The other League member we get to meet is Cole – I still have my reservations about him, but I cannot wait to see how things develop with him and Liam.

Ruby  is determined to make things right and she is tough enough to make the hard decisions needed to ensure that happens (as evident by her heartbreaking decision to erase herself from Liam’s memory in The Darkest Minds). But as Ruby continues to gain more control over her powers, she struggles more with herself. As Ruby’s powers get stronger, so does her feeling that she is turning in to the very thing that she has been fighting against. But she is determined to do what is right – even if there is no way right of doing it.

As the dark and intricate plots weave together, Never Fade proves to be an electrifying, heart-pounding sequel that moves this terrifyingly dark and nerve-racking journey to the next level in this chilling and twisted world. But, there is a little light at the end of the tunnel – so while we can’t really trust any colour in this world crafted by Alexandra Bracken, I really hope that we can rely on the light.

 

Quotes:
“You are actually the worst person I have ever met,”
“And people like you are the reason we have middle fingers.”

“You lied to us before about what you are, and I got it. I understand why you did it, but now . . . you’re out, and we can all be together again, and you’re choosing the only option that ends with us apart?”

“Maybe I was still broken and would always be—but now, at least, I was piecing myself back together, lining up one jagged edge at a time.”

“This kid has more mood swings than a toddler’s birthday party.”

“Since when did you start drinking from the half-full glass?”

“Because here was the truth. Here it was, tearing up and out of me, drawing my feet toward the far corner of the tent, rising like a whimper. I regretted it.”

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