Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken | Rating: ★★★★★
“Oh, I’m sorry, apparently the middle of my sentence interrupted the beginning of yours. Do continue.” / “I don’t want to just see someone’s face; I want to know his shadow, too.”
It’s no secret that out of a majority of series on the young adult book market The Darkest Minds was one of my favorites of recent years. It combines all familiar tactics of story telling for this reading range and it manages to come across as smart and witty without coming across as cheesy.
Which goes without saying: I was super-duper excited to buy the sequel of this planned trilogy.
Unlike most young adult series in this genre The Darkest Minds and Never Fade are extremely well written. Alexandra Bracken continues to paint a clear image of Ruby and CO’s world that is haunting and will also warm your heart to see the way these kids eventually care for one another. And that while there is romance in the story, she doesn’t carry it over the top and cram it down our throat.
By the end of The Darkest Minds we were all left with many, many questions: Will Liam ever remember Ruby? Will Ruby ever be the same? What is going to happen to all those kids in all those camps? Did Chubs survive? Will we ever see Zu again? What is really the story behind the League? Can we trust Cate? When will Clancy and his cocky, troubling mind make a reappearance?
Like I said: many questions and the perfect starting point for the second story.
We do get some answers and surprises. We also are introduced to many new characters — Jude, Vida, Nico, Cole (who is, of course, Liam’s brother).
While at first I was hesitant to really become interested in this new batch of characters, they are all great additions and offer quite a bit to the next chapter of Ruby’s life. Out of the new characters Jude is the first you get to know pretty well — he is sweet and caring and a little bit like the little brother Ruby’s never had. Which can be taken in many ways. He is probably my favorite out of the new characters.
He’s just that endearing, you know?
And then there’s Vida. Vida is… well, Vida. Which is great! Because she is a character that has a rougher and tougher exterior than the others, she leads to some pretty bad ass antics and she definitely grows on you. Her sarcasm is a great addition, especially when (SPOILER! ALERT!) she, Ruby and Jude come in contact with Chubs (I’M SO HAPPY! MY FAVORITE IS ALIVE! More sarcasm! More amazing friendship moments with Ruby!) — let’s just say that some of the best comic conversations come from arguments between Chubs and Vida.
But as the story progresses, you can see that Vida really does seem to have a good heart and you can’t help but to wonder more about her backstory.
As for Nico — there isn’t much to tell about his character in this book. He has a purpose, don’t get me wrong — and a surprising backstory. Based on what I’ve heard about the as of now untitled third and final book in this trilogy, we will be hearing more about Nico.
And finally, there’s Cole Stewart. We don’t have the greatest impression of Cole when it comes to what Liam has told us. Because of this and what we saw of him in this novel, the verdict is still out on him as a character. For me, anyways. But he is entertaining and very cocky, which really does make him a fun character to read. He has some similar qualities to his brother (including his looks) and although he isn’t featured heavily in this story it is his request that sets our course for the duration of Never Fade.
By the end of the novel you will have many questions left lingering, but there will also have been many answers given to you. There’s action, sarcasm, romance and heartbreak served to you in countless ways. There are some deaths in this sequel: one that is majorly satisfying and one that is extremely heartbreaking.
Did I mention there’s heartbreak? Like, explosive heartbreak in the “I feel like you just punch my heart, ripped it out and then stomped on it before shredding it to a billion pieces!” sort of way.
So grab your tissues now, kids. I mean it. Have tissues ready by the end of the novel. I repeat: HAVE TISSUES READY BY THE END OF THE NOVEL. And although you need those, remember that this sort of heartbreak in literature is what makes good storytelling. So go out there and buy the sequel, buy the first book if you’ve yet to, and enjoy this spectacular story.
(And cry with me in heartbreak over one of the deaths please I beg you all.)
No but seriously I would recommend this series to anyone. Everyone. I’m literally thinking about buying a bunch of copies to just give away, actually. Stay tuned for that.