Monday, 16 March 2015

In The Afterlight review

In The Afterlight
Dais Daily

I don’t think I’ve ever been so nervous about an ending of a series before. The Darkest Minds and Never Fade were both amazing books that I had given 5 stars too. In all honesty, I didn’t want the series to end. I feel like I could read about these characters for another five book and I would never find a single second of boring.

In The Afterlight delivered on every front. The ending was amazing and the entire series feels like it all comes full circle for Ruby. The is a touch of ambiguity in the ending of The Darkest Minds series. Throughout the book, I had assumed that Ruby would chose to get the procedure done to have her abilities nullified. But instead you don’t know if she does. And you don’t know if life for all of those children get any better. But I kind of like that.

Out of this entire book, the only thing I didn’t particularly like was the death of the older Stewart brother. I loved him, and I loved his a Ruby’s relationship.
What Clancy does to Cole was just plain cruel. Different in a way than I had seen from him previously. Yes he’d called in government officials to ransack/capture/kill the tweens of East River, but even he said that his decision was a bad one. However, in In The Afterlight, Clancy purposefully goes out of his way to manipulate Cole’s want and need to understand his abilities, and for that reason alone I thought Ruby was a fool to relieve Clancy’s scarring memories.
I really wanted something huge to happen with Cole. Like in the evacuation on Thurmond for them to be losing and then Cole comes out and BAM. Sends fire up everywhere. But later we read how there were Reds there at Thurmond anyway, so maybe that idea wouldn’t have been as explosive as I would have wanted it.
I wasn’t as emotional assaulted by his death as I had been with Jude’s but I felt like Cole’s potential wasn’t quite reached.
Oh and I also didn’t quite like how obvious it was that it was Ruby who was the one sending all the emails in the middle of the night. As soon as we first discover she’s sleepwalking, I knew it. And I had guessed that perhaps Clancy would somehow be involved. Though I will also say that I don’t blame Ruby for not figuring it out sooner because she hadn’t thought Clancy would dig that low.

I don’t think I’ve ever connected to a character quite as much as Ruby. We see her grow from this frightened and damaged girl into a force to be reckoned with, willing to do anything to protect not just those she loves, but also the people who don’t have anyone else. She is a hero in the truest sense of the word. She is perfect in a way that she is also as flawed as any of us. She was over bearing, cynical, outright cruel; and it only made me love her that much more.
We start at Thurmond, and we end it at Thurmond. The difference between these two Ruby’s is stark in contrast. Ruby goes in and makes her own rules, not afraid of what this place could to her. She’s outgrown that life. I was so proud of her.
That part where she’s telling Liam that she has to walk out of Thurmond on her own two feet, it was beautiful and bittersweet.

A lot of people have said that they had issue with the pacing of this final instalment, but I thought it was perfect. Though looking back on it now, yes they were in the Rach for a prolonged period of the book, the dialogue and events that went on there were never boring and so I didn’t find a fault with it. This book had me more hooked than the first one. It was all consuming and I couldn’t look away for a second.
The writing and sequence of events. The actions and reactions in this book. They all outshine the previous two books in my opinion.

When the first breakout on Oasis went without hitch* excluding the pop up of Liam* I was literally squealing in excitement.
Moving to the subject of a one Liam Stewart, I kind of had a love hate relationship with his in this book, which I found surprising. I found myself siding more with Ruby and Cole in the situations where they would butt heads. He was incredibly reckless, but we already knew that, and again it shows Bracken’s excellent way of making these characters more real with their flaws.
Chubs and Vida? Called it. Right from Never Fade I called that the two of them would get together.
I want to touch quickly also on the sibling rivalry between Liam and Cole, I found it really refreshing and at the same time frustrating. The same goes for Liam and Ruby’s relationship.
They’re in a strange place as a couple. They hardly communicate at all. We know that Liam is afraid of Ruby wiping his memory again, and we know Ruby still struggles with herself becoming a monster and Liam being unable to forgive her completely.

The Darkest Minds trilogy is strong from start to finish. I honestly think that it is the most consistently brilliant series that I’ve ever read. The characters aren’t changing, their evolving and the plots kept me on my toes from page one. I’ve never been connected or invested in a whole group as much as those from The Darkest Minds series. I’ll love them all dearly forever.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Never Fade review

Never Fade

As with most series, a middle book can sometimes fail to peek at the momentum created by the first book, and then the suspense for the final instalment. And while I feel Never Fade doesn’t fall prey to this reoccurring theme, I do have to grudgingly admit that I did like The Darkest Minds more.

Never Fade picks up 6 months after Ruby had wiped all traces of herself from Liam’s mind and I very interested in how the Children’s League and Ruby would fit around each other. And though we aren’t given an exact look into that relationship we know enough that Ruby doesn’t like the idea of being Leader to a small band of psi kids, and still wants out.
The story still has its darker edge, which I was glad for. The book is also more psychically demanding on its characters.

I said in my review of The Darkest Minds that Ruby had already gone through a hell of a lot of character development. And actually, the same can be said for Never Fade too.
All along we’ve seen Ruby struggling with her abilities, and in this book, she really gets a handle on them, but she also really sees the dark depths that her powers can achieve. And Ruby fights with the monster side of herself that she has always associated with herself.
Her scenes with Knox, and especially the one with Rob in the car was so engrossing.

The writing was as stellar as the first books, but I felt the very beginning of Never Fade suffered from a little bit of slow pacing. While Ruby was with the League, I was a little distracted in waiting for something to happen to get the story set off.

Never Fade certainly threw in some wicked curve balls. The biggest for me personal was the death of Jude. It felt so personal, and how it affected Ruby hit me that much hard. Through the trials that Ruby and the gang faced, I always thought Jude would make it through unscathed. I was looking forward to watching him grow and thrive.

Again, I loved the secondary characters. At first I thought Bracken was trying to replace Liam and Chubs, and yet still keep the humour from a diverse group, almost like Jude was taking Zu’s place as the one to be protected, and I kind thought that it was cheating slightly, but the more I read into these new characters, the quicker I fell in love with them. Vida won me over almost instantly and I loved every snarky quip that her foul mouth spewed. Jude was my particular favourite. The way Ruby protects him and comforted him.

Although Liam is very much a huge part of the plot in Never Fade, I felt his actual character lacked growth because of that.
A character I was very surprised about was Chubs. He has changed pretty radically when he is first reintroduced in the book. In addition, you see how dangerous and desperate a step it was for him to become a skip tracer so he could find word on the others. He really does come into his own.

Then there was Cole. Liam’s older and hard arsed brother, and as we find out in a few of the very last pages, a Red. I enjoyed Cole’s sporadic appearances and I really hope we get to see more of him in the third and final book.

I was unsurprised by Clancy’s reappearance, though I was very surprised by the how and why of it. His side of the plot was very interesting and comes sort of out of left field. I felt just as slow as Ruby does when trying to piece all of the titbits of information together.

The second half of the book was explosive, pretty literally too. I had no idea of where things would go and I much prefer that. I am honestly so consumed with what might happen in the final book In The Afterlight. I’m going to have to start it as soon as possible. 

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Champion review

Champion – Marie Lu
Dais Daily

Though I do admit to being somewhat disappointed with the Legend series as a whole so far, I also said that if the third and final book were better than the last two, that I would chose to look back at the series in a more positive light. And I’m happy to report that the third book had me pleasantly surprised.

I enjoyed Champion more than the previous two books, and was genuinely curious and attached to these characters.
The writing finally felt true and had me trying to predict what was going to happen next. The story telling was stronger and more engaging then the series previous instalments. There was so much more realism about the events and reactions.

I was very curious how Day’s illness would fit into the book, considering the way Prodigy ends. It was quite refreshing to have had a somewhat break between the books. I dislike when a trilogy seems all to have happened in the space of a couple months.
I was just as nervous as Day and June were when they were set to reunite.

Reading others reviews on Goodreads, I see that the ending to this series are split evenly between love and hate. I can quite easily say that I really loved the ending. I thought it wonderful and creative. I wouldn’t say ‘fitting’ and neither was it expected, but that just made the end so much better for me. It was a breath of fresh air that everyone doesn’t walk away right at the end into the sunset with his or her significant other.

Also, in my review of Prodigy, I was talking about how annoyed I was that June was all of a sudden ill, and basically had to be carried everywhere and was dead weight. I guess now I have a sort of answer. Though we never did learn if the Colonies were the ones that had administered the mutated plague to June.

June continues to be my favourite of the two main characters. She is a Queen, most definitely. Her courage and devotions was a wonder to read.
I really liked June’s decision to leave the political world behind and jump back into the world of a soldier. I was happy for her.

I also really learned to love Anden. His character was complicated and intricate, I actually wish there had been more of him, and not just a sort of love interest. Both Day and June comment on the darker side of his personality, and I wished that had been explored a little more, because we know he walks a hard path of pleasing people, and doing what’s right.

I was happy to see the way Marie Lu included him in June’s life, after main events ended. I felt it actually would have played out that way too. It was a logical thing for June, and I hoped they were somewhat happy.

It was truly a beautiful and bittersweet ending.