Book Review: In The Afterlight by Alexandra Bracken

In the Afterlight by Alexandra BrackenTitle: In The Afterlight (The Darkest Minds #3)
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: October 28th, 2014
Standalone/Series: Third book in the Darkest Minds series
Genre: Dystopian – Fantasy – Young Adult

Goodreads link

My rating in stars: 4 stars
My rating in words: Really liked this book

 

WARNING: Spoilers for book one and two in The Darkest Minds series. Spoiler-free (ish) for In The Afterlight.

What it’s about:

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.

My thoughts:

“Now isn’t the time to change yourself to fit into the world,”Clancey said his voice raw with whatever thoughts were storming beneath his skin. “You should be changing the world to accept you. To let you exist as you are, without being cut open and damaged.”

It took me longer than it should have but I am so glad I finally read this third installment in The Darkest Minds series. While the first 200 pages or so were very slow to me, the final 200 pages were pure amazingness and reminded me exactly why I loved this series so much.

In case you have not yet read it, The Darkest Minds is a dystopian series in which a mysterious disease has killed most of America’s children. Those who did survive developed abilities that frightened the adults and got the kids locked up in brutal ‘rehabilitation camps’. Our main character Ruby has spent 6 years in one of the worst camps out there before she managed to escape. It’s an amazing series and one of my favourites out there.

Why do I love this series? Mostly because of Alexandra Bracken’s writing style. This series is written in a very introspective way, which makes you really connect with the main character Ruby and feel all of her emotions. In times when she is down, depressed or angry, this is pretty tough for the reader but when she is happy or determined it is pretty amazing. The words flow so beautifully and they will make you cry and laugh and feel all the feels.

This was again pretty present in this book. After the events that happened before, Ruby is devastated, grieving and having problems dealing with everything. That plus the fact that a lot of the book takes place in the same location are what makes the first half so frustrating and slow. But the final half is a rollercoaster ride of both action and emotions. Alexandra definitely doesn’t hold back and this series will seriously mess up your feelings and make you philosophize about it all along the way.

“I don’t mean to be such a burden,” I whispered. All I ever wanted to do was protect you.
“It’s not a burden if people are willing to carry it,” she pointed out.”

Another reason for loving this series is the characters and the character development. Ruby is one of my favourite heroines and her development since the start of book one is just astounding. Liam is just one big sweetheart. His relationship with Ruby has grown so organically and while they definitely have their demons and their frustrating moments (talk to eachother guys!), their scenes together are still so powerful and sweet. They really are the heart of this series.

But every single one of these characters was so well developed and had their own beautiful and at times heart-wrenching journey. Quiet little Zu. Smart and careful Chubs. Angry badass Vida. Broken genius Nico. Overprotective big brother Cole. Evil mastermind Clancey. Each character was so unique and felt so real and I love how they all played off of eachother.

Overall a wonderful series that is definitely worth the read. And though this book did start very slow, the last part more than made up for it and helped the series get a very satisfying, yet emotional ending. Enough questions are answered, while still leaving room for speculation about the future.

Favorite quotes:

“Ruby, what does the future look like?” Nico asked. “I can’t picture it. I try all the time, but I can’t imagine it. Jude said it looked like an open road just after a rainstorm.” […]
“I see it in colors,” I said. “A deep blue, fading into golds and reds—like fire on a horizon. Afterlight. It’s a sky that wants you to guess if the sun is about to rise or set.”
Nico shook his head. “I think I like Jude’s better.”
“Me too,” I said softly. “Me too.”

“There is one side. That is the side of friendship and trust and love and that is the side that everyone should be on, and I am refusing to acknowledge that any other side could exist.”

“That’s not very Team Reality of you.”
His smile matched mine. “Screw Team Reality – I’m leaving to join Team Sanity.”

“And the open road rolled out in front of us.”

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