My rating: 2 of 5 stars
What this book is about (if you haven’t read The Darkest Minds or Never Fade be warned, there are spoilers ahead for these books. Click here to read my reviews of Book 1 The Darkest Minds and Book 2 Never Fade):
Ruby, Chubs, Liam, Cole, Vida, Zu and the rest of the Children’s League have made it out of the tunnels; but not Jude. They all decide to move up North and regroup. Ruby and Cole come to a leadership position and try to keep everything together, give the rest of the kids a sense of safety and organisation amidst the chaos. And most importantly, they are working on a plan to free every single child from the PSF camps. All this while Clancy is held under Ruby’s supervision. How is Ruby and her friends going to construct a solid plan to free the camps? And how is she going to be able to deal with Clancy on a daily basis without giving him any opportunities to seize control of the Psi kids again?
We have arrived to the end of this trilogy, The darkest minds never fade in the afterlight. And now it’s time to write my thoughts on this final book, In The Afterlight. Unfortunately, I cannot say that I liked this book the way I enjoyed the first two novels. There are many reasons behind my disappointment which I will talk about now.
Black is the colour that is no colour at all.
Black is the colour of a child’s still, empty bedroom. The heaviest hour of night – the one that traps you in your bunk, suffocating in another nightmare. It is a uniform stretched over the broad shoulders of an angry young man. Black is the mud, the lidless eye watching your every breath, the low vibrations of the fence that stretches up to tear at the sky.
Slow paced until the end. Unlike the first book where our friends were constantly on the move and things were happening most of the time, this is the story of Ruby and the gang when they arrive at the Ranch, a safe location in which they regroup. The biggest chunk of the book takes place at the Ranch. There is not much action going on. There is a lot of planning, discussing, arguing, fighting..But overall, to me it felt like things were not going anywhere. The drama was too much. What he said, what she said, how she felt about this, why did he do that..Now to be honest, I did enjoy some of the argument that were happening. They were intense, they were actual, real-life fights between people who truly felt disappointed in each other. I appreciate this realistic element to it. But the drama was just too much. It took over the story, it became the story and I kind of lost interest for a while.
“It feels like I’m always at the edge of it, and I can’t…I can’t step in, not without feeling so damn scared I’m going to ruin everything. I want to stop ruining every good thing that comes my way.”
The plot was predictableThere is an element of mystery to this book. Somebody has been doing something secretly and we don’t know who and why. Only problem was that it’s too easy to figure out what is happening and how it’s happening which was disappointing. I want in my books to have this moment of “Nooo, shiiit!!” which definitely didn’t exist in this novel. I don’t want to refer to other points in the plot that I saw coming because I don’t want to spoil anybody, but there were many parts, from small things to big things that I was like “Yes, of course, saw that coming”.
Because dreamers always wake up and leave their monsters behind.
Parts of it were confusing, were not fully explained or just didn’t make sense. I know we are reading a science fiction book and things are not realistic. But that’s not my problem with the story. The problem is that I want to have explanations that at least have face validity. Basically, that at least sound like the make sense even if in reality they don’t. I want to be given the feeling that “Oh, okay, I understand why this happened like this, makes sense” even if the thing that happened is that somebody waved a wand and he gave somebody a scar on the forehead. Just saying.
I’d fallen right back into that strategy at the League, functioning from moment to moment, Op to Op, lesson to lesson, numbing every stray feeling to avoid exploding with how unfair it all was, how terrifying, and how crushing. So no one, even for a second, would question my loyalty to their cause. For a long time, it had been the only way I had of protecting myself from the world and everyone in it.
Not an ambiguous ending, but still not fully explained.This is not a minus point for me. If you want your books to have a clear ending where things are wrapped up and you are not left in a state of “Wtf just happened?” you will probably be satisfied here. But, as I explained in my previous point, things were not exactly explained. Why did they say that? Why was this plan decided? Who decided it? I’m not going to go into details because spoilers, but you get the point.
Yes – that was it exactly. The freedom that came hand-in-hand with being able to make choices about our lives once our abilities were gone. The freedom to live where we wanted to, with whomever we wanted to, and not to be scared of every passing shadow. For kids not to grow up with the fear that one daythey might not wake from their sleep, or that they’d blink out like a light bulb in the middle of an otherwise normal day.
In general, this book was definitely not at the level of the previous two novels. I’ve seen amazing writing styles in stories and I’ve also seen very bad writing styles. This was somewhere in the middle, sufficiently clear, not complicated, not a literary jewel. The story was very slow, the characters were too angrsty, the plot was too predictable. Overall, meh. Should you pick this trilogy up? Many people haven’t actually read the last book in the series. But in my opinion, this is a solid YA dystopian that I would have fallen in love with if I were younger. I do recommend checking out these books. The first two as I said, are good and maybe the third one was disappointing to me but other readers have enjoyed it. Give it a try!
Now, let’s take a look at the physical hardcover itself:
We have a simple, all black hardcover with gold shiny letters on the spine.
What is more special about the hardcover edition is the dust jacket which is nicely decorated on the inside with various small designs that are part of the story. I think we all appreciate these little details that publishers add to their books to make them look pretty on the outside too.
So, what are your thoughts on The Darkest Minds trilogy? Which of the three books was your favourite and least favourite one? Have you read any of the novellas that accompany the main books? Are you planning on reading more books by Alexandra Bracken? I’d love to talk about this series!
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