My rating: 5 of 5 stars
How can I do this book justice? It has been two days since I’ve finished it, and I can’t even think straight for either the thesis proposal I was supposed to be working on and the words I’d use to describe Never Fade.
It’s mind-blowing how perfect (this is not even an exaggeration) the sequel of The Darkest Minds is as a sequel. It’s just..sjhahuhfbdl. There are plenty of sequels that are slow, unsatisfactory, doing a bunch of nonsense, and really are kind of a pointless waste of a book, but usually are a lead up to the explosive book three. Never Fade, unfortunately does not fall in that category. See, I make it sound disappointing, but it’s anything but. I say ‘unfortunately’ because really, this book is as explosive and well-written as its predecessor, and you just know the third book will smash it’s predecessors out of the water without disappointing. Because really, in experience, when the sequel is equal to or better than the first book, then the third is bound to be even better. And I’ve yet to find a trilogy that excites in books one and two, and then horribly disappoints in book three.
So, yes, I want book three right now. And Alexandra Bracken, you’ve once again made your way to the top of my favourite authors list (again).
So, to the story. Well, after the shocking ending of The Darkest Minds where Ruby wipes Liam’s memory of her and joins the Children’s League to save him, Never Fade begins with Ruby’s time at the Children’s League. I seriously love the way Bracken recounts how Ruby arrives at the Children’s League (like when she arrived at Thurmond), it’s paced well, and the details are there, so you never feel like you missed out on the moments. And yet, it’s all recounted in a chapter or two, easy peasy. Love it.
Then Ruby meets Cole, Liam’s brother, and Cole essentially sends Ruby on a secret mission to retrieve something he lost. The only reason he sends her is because Liam is involved. From there, Ruby goes all out to track Liam down.
The plot and subplot that unfold, unfold piece by piece and just when you think you got it, you’re falling over yourself just to catch up with the story. I will say I’m totally drooling over the story because well, it’s so engaging, I couldn’t pull my eyes away because I wanted to know what was going to happen next to Ruby. I wanted to know what problems and pains she’d have to deal with and overall, what was the big secret Alban (the head of the Children’s League) was hiding. Of course, then there were the moments between Ruby and Liam. I was totally anticipating their reunion, particularly after what happened at the end of The Darkest Minds.
And when it happened. It was explosive. Okay, so not quite. It more felt like Ruby’s heart was going to be torn into pieces after she saw him. I’m not going to spoil it, I think, because it’s such an intense moment, it totally sucks if I fail to describe how explosive it is. Actually nearly every action between them is like a spark of static because (okay so I’ll spoil it a little) Liam remembers feelings, but not the reasons why. It was awesome. I loved how Bracken handled Ruby, Liam and Liam’s confusion. I also loved how she explores Ruby’s powers a little more, expanding them in a sense of pros and cons lol.
Supporting Characters: Yay! Chubs is back. And Zu is not. As for the new characters, Vida and Jude. Well Vida has a potty mouth, and she never knows when to shut up, but yet, it’s cool because she’s the tough chick. Jude on the other hand is a whimpy like little kid, who’s not actually that little and who’s not actually that whimpy. Rather, I should probably say geeky? Tall and gangly, he’s like a child, always clinging to Ruby like she’s a mother. But he grows in the story, and becomes a little stronger. And becomes everyone’s kid including Liam and Chubs. I guess that’s another thing I love about Bracken’s work. She builds relationships, adds in the building block, piece by piece rather than like some authors, just chucking in a best friend, or people and friendship without any context in between. Of course, there are few authors who don’t build the relationships, but of those that do build ‘em, Bracken is one of the best.
The interaction between the characters is great, see:
“What?” Chubs scoffed, his voice just that tiny bit too light. “For once you’re speechless?”
“No, I’m just…”Liam cleared his throat. “Grateful, I guess. That you can looking for me and you had to do…this. I know it wasn’t…I know it couldn’t have been easy.”
“Just shut up and start sucking each other’s faces already,” Vida grumbled, leaning awkwardly against the stump. She would never admit aloud, but I knew the burns on her back were eating her alive with pain. “I’m trying to make up for the sleep I lost when you started screeching at each other like cats in heat.”
“Miss Vida,” Liam said, “Has anyone ever told you that you are positively the whipped cream on the sundae of life?”
She glared at him. “anyone told you your head is shaped like a pencil?”
“That is physically impossible,” Chubs groused. “He’d be—”
“Actually,” Liam began, “Cole once did try to— What?”
“Oh, I’m sorry,” Chubs said, “apparently the middle of my sentence interrupted the beginning of yours. Do continue.”
“I’m going to guess you probably don’t want to hear about the time he pushed my head through the neighbour’s fence…”
See? Love it. Liam and Chubs interaction, Vida and Chubs (their interaction is quite amusing throughout). Love it.
So lastly, after what feels like I have said nothing significant except ramble (potentially incoherently) about how great Never Fade is, I want to briefly say, I love Bracken’s writing. It’s plain, yet embellished. It’s not poetic, but there is a poeticness about it when she describes Ruby’s feelings. And yet, it’s also witty, in the way of Jim Butcher, yet not as witty? In conclusion. It’s Bracken and her writing (of her own right and not in comparison to others) that makes this series come alive. Her characters too are well formed, different and totally relatable, or at the very least, amusing to read about (or in some cases, heartwrenching). And the plot. So far, I find it a flawless plot with questions raised and answered and raised again.
I absolutely cannot freaking wait for Book 3. Meanwhile, I think I’ll read the short story: In Time