After reading the first book in ‘The Darkest Minds’ series and not enjoying it as much as I thought I would, I finally picked up the second book in the series ‘Never Fade’ and was pleasantly surprised.
Alexandra Bracken turned things around in this book, and i have already nearly finished the third book in this series.
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?
While I felt that the first book in this series was a drag, the opposite was true with Bracken’s second book in the series ‘Never Fade.’ The tempo was fast from the very beginning, and even though there was a long passage of time between the first and the second book, it flows seamlessly, taking the new developments in Ruby’s character in stride. We see her in a new phase of her life and gaining more confidence after leaving the camp, going on OPs and missions, leading a team, and ‘somewhat’ using her abilities. However Bracken does not shy away from the mental problems that Ruby suffers from due to her previous experience, as well as her protectiveness of her friends and her fear of what she can do with her abilities.
While I was not a fan of the Ruby and Liam romance in the first book, every scene between them in this book I loved. The way they parted in the previous book set up their reunion to be heartbreaking and the progression of their relationship in this book felt much more natural and was more enjoyable to read. Her established friendship with Chubs and the new friendships with the members of her team Vida and Jude are also important aspects of Ruby’s character, that become important as the book goes on. The plot is interesting and well thought out, building to a climax as more and more information is found and secrets revealed.
I enjoyed every moment of this book-the society that it is based in has been built upon, there are little moments of political discussion which I always enjoy, and it is much more action packed and thrilling then the first book. I though the general idea of the story, that children developed various abilities that frightened society and adults, causing them to prison the children in camps until a cure was found, was ‘forced’ in the first book, but it really comes into its own in ‘Never Fade’. This book ended on a cliff hanger. I instantly picked up the next book in the series (it took me months before i picked up this book after reading the first in the series). This seems to be one of the rare cases where the second book may be better then the first.