Saturday, January 24, 2015

Review: In the Afterlight by Alexandra Bracken

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. Only Ruby can keep their highly dangerous prisoner in check. But with Clancy Gray, there's no guarantee you're fully in control, and everything comes with a price.

When the Children's League disbands, Ruby rises up as a leader and forms an unlikely allegiance with Liam's brother, Cole, who has a volatile secret of his own. There are still thousands of other Psi kids suffering in government "rehabilitation camps" all over the country. Freeing them--revealing the governments unspeakable abuses in the process--is the mission Ruby has claimed since her own escape from Thurmond, the worst camp in the country.

But not everyone is supportive of the plan Ruby and Cole craft to free the camps. As tensions rise, competing ideals threaten the mission to uncover the cause of IAAN, the disease that killed most of America's children and left Ruby and others with powers the government will kill to keep contained. With the fate of a generation in their hands, there is no room for error. One wrong move could be the spark that sets the world on fire.

Okay you might be asking, "Why are you starting with the last book in the trilogy?" Frankly it's for the sole reason that it was the last one to come out. There will be spoilers of the first two books in this review.

So this book was nothing like what I expected. Throughout The Darkest Minds and Never Fade Ruby becomes more and more independent. She starts to take charge more. In the Afterlight is no exception. As her role grows as a leader, so do her Orange abilities and her dangerous friendship with Cole. With this, her relationship with Liam is put to the test. She thinks he doesn't trust her to not wipe his memory again. He doesn't know his brother's Psi secret and doesn't trust him.

As a sci-fi I think this totally works. I could definitely see corrupt governments fighting to control freak kids supposing something like this could ever happen. There was even a small moment (and really it was just a moment) where I learned the cure for IAAN and thought, "maybe Clancy isn't the asshole I always thought he was." Nope, he is totally the biggest douche.

Bracken very carefully weaves through themes of death and love in this entire series. And I love the way she balances the two. Even though most children have already died from IAAN, we still see our fair share of death in this book. I totally cried. Like, a lot.

What did I like? I like the interaction and rivalry between Cole and Liam. And *spoiler* we are brought back to Thurmond for the first time since The Darkest Minds. We also get to see more than the factory, the cabin and the garden.

What did I not like? I think the ending maybe fell a bit flat. Yes, it was a nice ending. And yes I was kind of glad to see Clancy suffer the way he did. But the ending was kind of underwhelming for me. Especially when I think that Ruby has the education of a 10-year-old. What is she supposed to do after everything that has happened?

What did I think overall? I love this series. And even though the ending wasn't my favorite, I still love the book. I would recommend it to anyone who likes dystopian novels.

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