Mar 20, 2014
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?
The past follows you. It never leaves you. It’s there, in the deepest and darkest corners of your mind, no matter how hard you try to repress or forget it. Life has not been easy for Ruby Daly in the months since she joined the Children’s League in order to save a friend and protect the one person that she loves the most. Being an Orange, her skills are highly regarded within the ranks of the League, and she is often sent on missions or summoned to question hostages. She stills mourns the loss of her companions, but she acknowledges that what she wanted the most was to protect them, even if it meant agreeing to a life within the League. It all changes when she goes on an operation, and the face that she rescues is a little too familiar, a little to similar.
Soon after, Ruby is assigned to go after the one person that she keeps in her heart – the one that she keeps a secret, something only for herself. She needs to find Liam, and recover a flash-drive that holds the secret to the disease that has ended the lives of so many American children. A secret so crucial and well-kept, that someone has risked their life to keep it that way. It’s hard to recognize that she will be looking into the eyes of a boy who used to love her, a boy who used to be her future – especially with the knowledge that she chose to take that away. On this trek, Ruby brings with her new companions while also reuniting with old ones – and the question of her loyalty to either side may prove to be more troublesome than she ever expected. And when a familiar face appears, Ruby and her companions begin to realize that this flash-drive – this secret – is much bigger, much more significant than any of them could have ever imagined.
I spoke wonders about the first book of this series, The Darkest Minds. I truly adored the characters and the storyline, and it was one of my favourite reads of 2013. I did not enjoy Never Fade to that particular extent, but I thought it was a very solid follow-up in Bracken’s The Darkest Minds series, and has set up well for a big finale. I still adored the characters that were present in the first book – Ruby is truly one of my favourite YA heroines, and Bracken didn’t let me down on that aspect. Ruby is still courageous and extremely loyal, but she undergoes a great amount of character development in this book. She acknowledges that with her power comes the ability to do evil and wrong acts – and it takes a while for her to really accept that. I still adore her relationship with Chubs, it really pulled at my heartstrings at how two friends can love and protect each other so fiercely. Liam, really, I love Liam and he didn’t disappoint me in this book. His reactions were perfect, and he was still the Liam that we met in the first book, despite losing his memory of Ruby. The new characters took some time to grow on me, but eventually I really began to appreciate the group collectively. I think they balanced each other out.
The storyline was a bit… overwhelming. I recognized that as Never Fade is over 500 pages, it would have a very extensive storyline – but I felt that it was all over the place. Too much was happening all at once, too many antagonists and too many issues were being introduced. I just thought that there were points where the book dragged on unnecessarily – It took a while before I really got into Ruby’s story again. Also, it lacked romance. I recognize that since Liam doesn’t remember Ruby, there really shouldn’t be any romance – and I agree with it. But I thought that we would see small little moments that remind us of the old Liam and Ruby, I really would’ve liked to see more moments between them. I found myself missing the lightness and the banter that we saw in The Darkest Minds.
I truly love the world that Alexandra Bracken has created in The Darkest Minds and Never Fade. It is still one of my favourite YA dystopian stories, and I am so excited to see how Bracken chooses to finish this trilogy. I will definitely be counting down to book #3 and any future works by Alexandra Bracken. For readers of dystopia and adventure who also appreciate comraderie and romance, Alexandra Bracken’s The Darkest Minds series is definitely worth checking out.