Review: Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken

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Genre: Young-Adult, Dystopian
Pages: 507
Series: The Darkest Minds #2 (Trilogy)
Release Date: October 15, 2015

3 Stars

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In The Darkest Minds the protagonist Ruby is one of the only surviving Oranges, a.k.a. kids with telepathic abilities. She escapes from the prison camp Thurmond and then from the Children’s league and joins Liam, Chubs and Zu on the road. They meet another Orange, Clancy, who’s totally evil. Shit goes down and, in the end, Ruby does something very ill-advised; she wipes herself from Liam’s mind and joins the Children’s League to “protect him” (I’m still mad at her about that).

In this book, she’s still with the League, which is quite corrupt, and is biding her time until she can escape. Then, due to circumstances, she gets her chance. She has to go find Liam to retrieve a flash drive. But she also has to come back. That’s the premise of the novel. And it worked, in the beginning.

For the first quarter, I liked how things were going. Ruby was doing good, we were introduced to new and interesting characters and the pace was good. Then shit started going downhill and the next 300 pages were basically just a series of head aches and injuries. I’ll elaborate.

Ruby’s abilities are very much linked to her brain being able to function properly. So imagine my frustration when, for most of the novel’s duration, her brain never seemed to be able to work. It was all ‘Ow! I have a headache and can’t use my powers.!’ and ‘Ow! Someone hit me on the head and I’m useless!‘ and ‘Ow! I hit myself on the head so I can’t help!‘. It was so annoying to see Ruby become utterly pathetic. She was basically whining the whole time and I wanted to scream because I liked her in the first book! Why would you ruin a good character?!

And the fact that Liam wasn’t present for most of the time didn’t help. Without Liam and Chubs being awesome together, this book was boring. And the plot turned became very convoluted. There were so many times when I thought to myself, What exactly was the purpose of that?, and the answer was usually ‘uh…‘.

And due to Ruby hitting her head more often than a trashed Noddy, the narrative was disorienting enough to make my head spin. Seriously, it was like I was reading those few pages near the end of Mockingjay (you know the ones I’m talking about), except they went on for most of the book. I really wasn’t happy with the writing. Or the ending. Because even after the book improved (not much, though), the direction things took… I don’t even care what’ll happen in the next book. Which is probably why I won’t be reading it.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m still interesting in Liam, Cole (Liam’s brother), Chubs and Vida. And Clancy. But I’m not sure I can put up with Ruby’s narrative for another chapter, much less a 535 page novel. Maybe I’ll skim a scene or two if I get too curious (unlikely) but as far as the blog and GR are concerned, I’m done.

As for the rating, part of it is due to me liking the first book and this one having characters I liked, and part of it is for the parts that didn’t suck, liked the first quarter, some parts near the end, scenes with Liam, some with Chubs, Vida and even a scene or two with Cole.

Overall, this book really wasn’t for me. I didn’t like the dragging pacing, the writing, or the direction that the series took. I made me lose interest in the series and also made me concerned about reading Passenger, which I’m starting today. But I’m gonna try to ignore my experience with this novel and focus solely on that one. If you’ve read this book, tell me what you thought. I know a lot of people liked it. Did you?

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