In The Afterlight
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.