By Alexandra Bracken
The Darkest Minds #3
Hardcover: 535 pages
Publication Date: October 28, 2014
Rated: ✯ ✯ ✯
3 out of 5 Stars
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Related Reviews: The Darkest Minds; Never Fade
Categories: Dystopian, YA, New Release
Ruby can't look back. Fractured by an unbearable loss, she and the kids who survived the government's attack on Los Angeles travel north to regroup. With them is a prisoner: Clancy Gray, son of the president, and one of the few people Ruby has encountered with abilities like hers. Only Ruby has any power over him, and just one slip could lead to Clancy wreaking havoc on their minds.
They are armed only with a volatile secret: proof of a government conspiracy to cover up the real cause of IAAN, the disease that has killed most of America's children and left Ruby and others like her with powers the government will kill to keep contained. But internal strife may destroy their only chance to free the "rehabilitation camps" housing thousands of other Psi kids.
Meanwhile, reunited with Liam, the boy she would-and did-sacrifice everything for to keep alive, Ruby must face the painful repercussions of having tampered with his memories of her. She turns to Cole, his older brother, to provide the intense training she knows she will need to take down Gray and the government. But Cole has demons of his own, and one fatal mistake may be the spark that sets the world on fire.
I have one word to describe this book; meh. It was just meh for me, and I was more than a bit disappointed. I'm not sure why exactly I never reconnected to the characters. They just felt shallow and.. I suppose obnoxious is a good word to describe them. I found Ruby, especially, really irritating in this book. She internally over analyzed every freaking thing, and had the whole 'I hate myself' mentality going the entire way through the story, and it got old really fast. I have a hard time enjoying that kind of character, and Ruby was no exception. It seemed she wouldn't accept Liam's love, and then she would, and then she wouldn't; over and over again. She changed her mind at the drop of a hat, and her actions and thoughts were so inconsistent, I didn't know how she really felt from chapter to chapter. It was so frustrating at times. Liam's character was different as well; he had a more jaded personality, like an edge to him that wasn't portrayed before. Don't get me wrong, I did like his character. It just seemed like years had passed and they had all changed, instead of a few weeks since Never Fade. We also find out some crazy things about Cole that I was not expecting at all. All in all, I was pretty disappointed with the overall characters in this last book.
The plot line was about the same as the last two books; run from people trying to kill them, release kids from camps. It was just a continuation of Never Fade. It was full of action and dramatic scenes, and we get to meet a lot more Psi kids throughout. The world building has mostly become established in the first two books in the series, and not much changes from the apocalyptic scenes described in them. Children are still either dead, or locked up in the camps to control their abilities. The only ones that aren't have to run for their lives, stay hidden from adults, and scavenge for everything that they have on a consistent basis. President Gray is still running the country, forcing citizens to believe that their children are safe and being treated for their 'illnesses.' It is a really sad world, yet something that I could envision happening. It is not so far fetched that the impossibility of something like this happening is scarce. We finally find out where IAAN comes from and who is responsible for it. There is talk of a cure, but I don't want to give away any spoilers.
I was so disappointed with the ending to this series. I can't say enough how much I love puzzles, and unsolved ones drive me insane! It seems that we will have to live with this unsolved puzzle, because this was the last in the series. There are so many unanswered questions that I am baffled why Miss Bracken left off this way. What happened to the Reds? What will happen to the children? Ugh! If you have read it, you know exactly what questions I mean. The ending left a lot to be desired, and I hope that one day, Miss Bracken will answer the questions that I'm sure a lot of us are asking right now.
As for the romance, it was iffy at best. Liam and Ruby are constantly fighting, lying to each other, or feeling guilty about something they did. It's actually quite tiresome, and I was bored within the first hundred pages. Ruby couldn't make up her mind, and her moods and thoughts changed instantly. One minute, she was completely in love with Liam; the next, she would agree with Cole that Liam should leave the compound. I really just wanted to throw my Nook against the wall more than once. I can't stand a whiny ass protagonist, and Ruby filled that role completely. I don't remember the first two books being like this, and I wish I knew what changed that made me despise this book so much.
I hope I don't disappoint anyone, especially the fans of The Darkest Minds series, but this book was awful. The only reason that I finished it was my love of puzzles and my natural inane curiosity. I was hoping that the book titles together meant something- The Darkest Minds Never Fade in the After Light, but if it did, the meaning was never explained. All in all, I think I just expected so much more than Miss Bracken provided. I am disappointed, and just.. meh!
"It rained the day they brought us to Thurmond. And it rained the day I walked out.” -Ruby
"“Black is the color that is no color at all. Black is the color 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. It is a road. A forgotten night sky broken up by faded stars. It is the barrel of a new gun, leveled at your heart. The color of Chubs's hair, Liam's bruises, Zu's eyes. Black is a promise of tomorrow, bled dry from lies and hate. Betrayal. I see it in the face of a broken compass, feel it in the numbing grip of grief. I run, but it is my shadow. Chasing, devouring, polluting. It is the button that should never have been pushed, the door that shouldn't have opened, the dried blood that couldn't be washed away. It is the charred remains of buildings. The car hidden in the forest, waiting. It is the smoke. It is the fire. The spark. Black is the color of memory. It is our color. The only one they'll use to tell our story.”
"“Are you sure this isn't a nightmare?" he asked quietly. "And that we won't just wake up?" I stared ahead at the road, the way the dust blowing in from the desert covered it with a faint golden sheen even as gray clouds began to gather over us. "yes," i said after some time. Because dreamers always wake up and leave their monsters behind.” - Ruby & Liam
The Darkest Minds; Never Fade