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January 28, 2015

Shelley Liked It: In The Afterlight by Alexandra Bracken

Series: The Darkest Minds # 3 
Format: Hardcover, 535 pages
Release Date: October 28, 2014
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Source: Library
Genre: Young Adult | Dystopian
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


In The Afterlight is the final installment in The Darkest Minds trilogy, bringing everything to a head. Ruby Daly and the survivors of the attack on the Children's League & Federal Coalition in Los Angeles are fractured, and struggling to survive. Cate and other agents are missing, other agents want to ransom the kids for money to fight President Gray, and Ruby is feeling the loss of a certain character who she was supposed to take care of. 

With President Gray and his thugs squeezing them like sardines, and with broken trust and betrayal on the horizon, Ruby becomes a totally different character. I would say that in many ways, she was as cold as the other side of the pillow, and had the emotional baggage of someone who slept around one too many times. But, we can't expect that Ruby will be the perfect character. If you do, then you didn't pay attention to the previous two novels. She has had to do things in order to survive, including removing Liam's memories, make difficult decisions as a leader, and working with the devil himself, Clancy Gray.

I want to be able say that I had no qualms or problems with this story, but then I would be a liar, and that's just not the way I roll. You want to know what this story really was set up on? Conflicts. Conflicts between Ruby and Cole over the direction they should be heading. Between Cole and Liam because that's how brothers act. Between Ruby and Liam, Vida, Nico, Cate, and especially Clancy who is supposedly the key to finding his mother, and the supposed cure for IAAN. 

It's also a story about struggle and survival. Ruby's struggle with her powers which have grown exponentially. Her struggle to make things up to Liam who she loves, but can't trust herself to ensure that he won't be killed or do something stupid in order to save her. Ruby wants to end the rehabilitation camps, but it isn't until almost the end of the book and a shocking loss before she makes a life or death choice and finds her way back to Thurmond.

I will say this, the last chapters of In The Afterlight truly saved the entire book from being a disappointment for me. There are still a whole bunch of non-answered questions, but that is part of life I guess. I liked that almost every character, including Suzume (Zu) gets their return engagement. I was a bit worried that Bracken had written her off, and actually did a little jig once the original group of Ruby, Liam, Zu, and Chubs were reunited. Add in Vida, and you have a really awesome group of characters.

Since the book is over 500 pages, I would have liked to see more story development from Senator Cruz, Dr. Lillian Gray, and especially Cate who helped Ruby escape from Thurmond. After everything that is said and done, Cate kind of was left out in the middle of nowhere, with no particular storyline to finish, with only a brief nod to thank her for being the only family Ruby had at the time.  

In the end, this series has been filed with heartbreaking deaths, fantastic and often time humorous relationships, frustrating tensions, especially between Liam and Ruby, and an ending that leaves room for the imagination since there are no more books in this series. Oh, and let's not forget my favorite part, Vida and Chubs!!!




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25 comments:

  1. If only the final chapters saved it, hm, I would have a hard time forgiving that

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    1. There's just a whole lot of stuff that happens, but the real action happens in the final third of the book.

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  2. This one has been staring at me from my shelves since its release. I seem to have a thing about not wanting to finish series for some reason. Maybe all those expectations and the possible let-down? I need to read this though and see if I feel the same way. Great review!

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    1. I don't blame you, actually. I've had a hard time not complaining about final novels in a series for the same reason, being let down. Ever once in awhile, I'm surprised. Thanks Tressa :)

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  3. It was released in october, so maybe you'll have another book this year to answer your questions ?... I hope ;)

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Unfortunately, lots of final books in series leave questions for readers to ponder on their own with no hope of actually learning what really happens. This just happens to be one.

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  4. It's always so difficult about last novels... I'm always really anxious because it's easy to be disappointed... It's a lot if you had to wait the last chapters to be really into the story...

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    1. I agree with you. Last year I was left severely depressed over series endings that just didn't make any sense.

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  5. You aren't the only one who has been let down by this one. I have read similar reviews. It is too bad that it didn't end as strongly. Still it is a series I need to check out.

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    1. OH, I agree with you. It's a fantastic and different world, and the characters aren't all that bad. I do love how strong Ruby ends up, and how her relationship with other characters grows, instead of dissolving

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  6. I really wanted to read this series until this last book came out and so many people were let down by it. I still can't bring myself to start it.
    Sorry this wasn't better. There is nothing worse than being disappointed with the series ender. :(

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    1. Thanks. I could actually say the same about The Hunger Games series even though the ending DID make some sense.

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  7. I have to in the right frame of mind for a book loaded with conflict so I'll keep that in mind about this book/series. I've got the first book, but just haven't gotten around to it. Thanks, Shelley

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  8. You're very welcome! Thanks for stopping by!

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  9. I always wanted to try this series but Disney-Hyperion has never given me books I fall in love with. Too bad the ending wasn't the shit, but at least it was a little saved.

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  10. I've had the same experience as well. Especially when it comes to denying, or approving titles.

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  11. I'm glad that the final chapters ended this series on a good note for you, Shelley. I like the sound of all the conflict but worry about the execution since it almost ended in disappointment. Great review.

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  12. Same here- I thought the last third of this was the strongest part. Once I got to those last chapters, I couldn't put the book down. And Chubs and Vida were awesome; love those two!

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    1. Thanks, Lee! Thanks for taking the time to read my review!

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