A copy was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review
If you’ve not read The Darkest Minds check out that review and not this one since the summary (below) has spoilers for the first book.
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.
I didn’t have time to reread The Darkest Minds before jumping into this book. I was able to slowly remember all that had happened so it wasn’t necessary to reread though I think it would have been helpful since I was foggy on some of the details. Never Fade picked up where the last ended and gave the reader a new viewpoint from within the League. I found this incredibly interesting to see things from their side and to get a feel for their everyday tasks.
As with The Darkest Minds, Never Fade had wonderfully descriptive action scenes yet had real heart. I felt the pacing varied from slow to fast but though it is a long book it didn’t drag (though I could easily see some pages edited out).
This is one of those sequels that is nearly impossible to write a spoiler free review because so much has happened from where our character’s journey began in the first book. I love Bracken’s writing and feel that it pulled me into the story and kept me riveted to Ruby and her struggles.
Ruby has grown so much since we first met her character. She is much stronger and has started to understand her ability though she still hates possessing it. Throughout the book she struggled with her choices in regard to her old friends and tried, in her own way, to make amends for her guilt. I love how well developed and rounded she is. I find her emotions to be incredibly realistic and relatable.
I found both this and the first book greatest strength to be the connection I’ve formed with the characters. We do get to see some of the characters from The Darkest Minds but the majority of the book is focused on the people that Ruby comes to know in the League. I connected to the new characters easily, especially Jude. He is the perfect foil to Vida’s bravado and Ruby’s coldness. Jude’s loveable nature and anxiety helped to connect me with what was happening to them and really brought an element of relatability (since I’d be freaking out and anxious like he was).
Though Never Fade is a bit long in parts the story moves fairly fast and the characters are once again the strongest feature; a stellar sequel that progressed the storyline and characters effectively. Needless to say, I can’t wait for book 3.