Book Review: Never Fade

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Book synopsis from Goodreads:

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?

As far as sequels go, Never Fade was a wonderful success. With more twists and turns than The Darkest MindsI couldn’t put this book down. The novel starts a bit after Ruby has been with The Children’s League and then leaves us with a million questions after the first chapter, when Alexandra Bracken then takes us through flashbacks to when Ruby first arrived at the League’s headquarters.

Why, Bracken, why? Probably because I sped through the next few chapters wondering what had Ruby so freaked out and the reveal did not disappoint. In this novel readers meet so many new characters, giving answers into the good and bad sides of the League and Liam’s past. We also get to see some old faces and some faces we were hoping to never see again.

The level of danger in this novel is taken up a notch from the first book. Although Ruby went into the League not trusting anyone, she doesn’t realize just how unsafe she is inside the League’s walls until it’s too late. Plus once she’s out, she no longer has to deal with just running from the government and PSFs but also the League and their top hunter, Rob. Ruby also has decide who she can and can’t trust while also trying to deal with the aftermath of taking away Liam’s memory of her and the loss of her little family with Zu, Chubs, and Liam.

Overall, I really loved this book. There were sometimes I wanted to slap Ruby because she couldn’t see what was going on right in front of her face but for the most part she made a great Leader even though she never wanted the title. The return of Liam and some other characters from the first novel kept this book interesting and the interactions between the people from Ruby’s life before the League and after was hilarious. I can’t wait to see what happens next and how this will all end.

Favorite Line:

“Oh, I’m sorry,” Chubs said. “Apparently the middle of my sentence interrupted the beginning of yours. Do continue.”

Stars: 5 out of 5. I’ve already reread some parts of this book. So great and so many good one liners. It was hard to just choose one.

Borrow or Buy: Buy! Definitely one you’ll want on your book shelf.

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Book Review: The Darkest Minds

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.

When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.

When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.

I’ve had this book on my book shelf for so long and I’m so glad I finally got the chance to read it. Dystopian fiction has become one of the hottest genres right now so you’re hard pressed to find a dystopian novel that really stands out but The Darkest Minds does just that.

Alexandra Bracken has crafted a novel that weaves together a rag tag group of characters that in a normal world probably wouldn’t make sense but works perfectly in this dystopian world where children are either dead or outcast. There is Liam, the hopelessly hopeful hero, who just wants to save and protect everyone. He cares for everyone and always looks for the good in people even when it’s not there. He’s optimistic but not in an annoying way.

Of course in a dystopian world where children are being hunted down by the government, bounty hunters (also know as skip tracers) and an anti-government terrorist group, being optimistic isn’t always helpful. That’s where Charlie “Chubs” Meriweather steps in. He’s a realist that’s untrusting of strangers and always guarded. He doesn’t like taking risks and prefers calculated plans. He’s the kind of kid that knows how to cross stitch in case someone needs stitches, which is handy but isn’t something you expect from a kid.

Rounding out the group is little Zu, the youngest and smallest of the group, that everyone wants to protect and keep safe. What’s great about Zu, though, is she doesn’t actually need the group’s protection. If anything they need her. She’s got the strongest ability out of the group, right after Ruby, and can handle her own when need be. The fact that she is mute and afraid of her powers makes her the perfect mirror image for Ruby who has been running scared from her abilities since the age of 10.

Ruby, herself, is the type of heroine that you want to root for. She makes mistakes but they’re mistakes that can be expected of a sixteen year old girl that’s been locked up for almost half her life. What I loved about Ruby is even though she can’t see it herself she is one of the most, if not the most, selfless character in the novel. All she wants to do is protect the people she cares about and she does that in any way she can. Although I didn’t always agree with her choices I respected her for them. I cheered with her when her plans worked and cried when they fell apart.

Following these four on their journey as they tried to find East River, the Promised Land for “freaks”, and everything that happened after I laughed, screamed, had butterflies, went back to reread, and cried. There are so many elements in this novel that you have to be paying attention to keep up. No one can be trusted and nothing is ever as it seems and just when you think you have it all figured out Bracken hits you with another curve ball and you’re floored. It’s brilliant!

If you haven’t checked out The Darkest Minds yet you really need to. Meanwhile, I’m going to get started on the next book.

Favorite Line:

‘The darkest minds tend to hide behind the most unlikely faces.’

Stars: 5 out of 5. No doubt about it.

Borrow or Buy: Buy!!! I’m so glad I own this book!

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