Friday, August 2, 2013

Review: Never Fade

Title: Never Fade
Author: Alexandra Bracken
ISBN: 1423157516
Release Date: October 15th 2013
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion 
Book Source: NetGalley

Goodreads Synopsis:

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?


This will probably be the longest review I wrote so far due to the fact that I just finished reading the book and am currently overwhelmed by so many feelings toward it.

I ordered a copy of "The Darkest Minds"  a few months back. But for some reason I never got around to reading it. It had been on my wishlist for so long, and all the written and video reviews of the book were exceptionally amazing, but I kept feeling it wasn't the right time for the book, I wasn't well prepared - because books that are said to be this good usually require a perfect timing. Eventually I got around to reading it, and the problem was getting over it. That book was so overwhelmingly brilliant it was hard to recover from, I needed to get back into that world. The next best thing was to read 'In Time' the novella that just came out a couple of months ago, and that only made things worse. I had to wait until October to read the second book in the trilogy and I wasn't sure how I'd manage that - at least not with my sanity perfectly intact, after all I'm not a very patient person by nature. I decided to request the book on NetGalley and see how it goes, since I wasn't expecting to be approved. But I was.

So I just finished reading Never Fade, and I can't possibly explain to you guys exactly how I feel. I don't think I can find the words, I really can't. I never expected the sequel to be just as good as book one because book one was as I mentioned brilliant. There was so much going on in it, unlike many trilogies out there where there are huge lulls and long periods of nothing happening at all. I frankly expected the same from Never Fade, I mean, what else could happen? Aside from what already happened in book one you know? I was bracing myself for a few lulls but a still acceptable read. You guys, there were no lulls. It was not an acceptable read. It was spectacular.

I'll start off with what I didn't like about the book, because it's a minor point: there was no Zu. I get that the novella that just came out 'In Time' was meant to compensate for the lack of Zu-ness in this book, but still, the novella only kindled my curiosity to what happened after that and in Never Fade there was no mention of it. Zu was a great character in book one and I had come to completely love her. I hope she at least comes back in book three, because there are so many unanswered questions around her, and I just love her.

As to what I loved about this book: Everything. Seriously, I'm not kidding here or exaggerating, it was a very impressive read. It was action-packed, a lot going on at the same time. Many surprises pop up to keep you alert and on edge - I love the surprises and the many unexpected occurrences. I loved the development of the characters, their growth, how different and yet just the same they are. I loved the new additions, and the new enemies and bad guys. It was all phenomenal.

There are two characters in The Darkest Minds that are mentioned or do happen to appear, but you don't exactly know much about them, and they happen to intrigue you. Okay, maybe it was just me, and those two characters would be both Cole - Liam's brother - and Cate. Cole was mentioned in passing in book one when Liam talks about his old life in the league, but you never get around to understanding much about him. The only picture you develop of him is a bloodthirsty kid that was older than Liam and enjoyed killing so much he even kept count. That's not really all there is to know about Cole, no siree. He plays a more active role in this book. There's so much about him that would come to surprise you. As for Cate? Ruby wondered at the start of book one why Cate would choose to stay with Rob when he was that cruel and malicious. Ruby assumed she knew and just stayed with him anyway. But personally I thought she was on the same league as him, that she was just as cruel and malicious. The thing is, neither of us is exactly right when it comes to Cate. There is so much more to her than meets the eyes.

Another thing I had wondered about was Liam. If you recall how things ended in book one, Ruby had fully expected to stay away from him in order to save his life. But let's face it, none of us bought into that. We knew she'd see him again at some point, sooner rather than later. The question was, what on earth would happen then? Would he treat her as a stranger? Would he remember her? Would he hate her? Would he forgive her? Admit it, you're wondering about that too. I wondered about his reaction to seeing Chubs and Zu again after what Ruby had done to him, and I wasn't sure how Chubs and Zu would react to what she did to him. I mean of all of them, she was the outsider, and she was the one who messed with his head. Would they take sides? Would they hate her? Understand where she was coming from? I swear I had so many scenarios running in my head.

Enter the new characters: Vida, Jude and Nico. They happen to be members of the group Ruby is unwillingly the leader of. Nico doesn't play as active a role as the rest, but I absolutely loved Jude. Honestly, he was the only consolation to the lack of Zu in this book. He was hearbreakingly sweet, you just want to hug him and hand him a hot cup of cocoa as he chatted his life away. Vida was completely different. The one you don't know if you can trust, the one who expresses her fear or stress by picking up fights and beating something or someone up. She was completely different to Jude in character, but I found her dynamics with both Ruby and Chubs absolutely hilarious. There's definitely more to her than meets the eye.

Enter characters I wish would just drop dead already: Rob and Clancy. I don't need to tell you guys why right? But boy do I hate them more now. Especially with Clancy's very unexpected appearance.

From book one I was lured in by Alexandra's amazing writing, her way with words, and the absolutely vivid and colourful descriptions. The world she created is nothing like anything I've read before. There's so much bleakness and destruction out there that you can't possibly think there's anything worth living for. There's so much damage, and yet life is still going on, it's so fascinating. It makes you wonder about the possibility of something like that actually happening. Yet, some of it did happen somehow, I mean, the Concentration Camps? Hitler? It was like me going back in time to reading Survival in Auschwitz. All these sides in an ongoing war that's destroying a country in the aftermaths of something that people neglect to think of. What if you lose an entire generation of children to disease or the terror of what those children might be capable of doing? What if everyone's terrified of having kids and suspicious of anyone harboring a child under the age of twenty? What if the entire country goes bankrupt and the people in power refuse to let go and focus on the big issue? It's so interesting.

This book had me in so much of an emotional upheaval. I was so emotionally invested in the characters, I got worried with them, scared with them, annoyed with them. I caught myself crying and emotional at times - like that part at the end that was kind of heartbreaking - yet laughing at times, because this book held so much more humor than book one and I loved it!

The best thing about these books is the fact that they don't end with killer cliffhangers. They give you a tiny bit of closure at the end. Even though it isn't enough, it still quenches a bit of your curiosity, but at the same time you will still definitely come back for more. It should make you a little more restful, and less likely to tear your hair out waiting for the next book in the series. The problem is, it didn't. I'm very restless at the moment, and very worried about my sanity. To anyone who read The Darkest Minds when it was first released and has to still wait until October 2013, I salute you. I don't know how I would have managed myself, and I had a mere few days between both books. I'll probably understand how you guys feel though now that I read Never Fade before its release and have to wait until book three is out. See? You have to wait two months less than I do, so you're honestly the lucky ones. I'll most definitely be ordering the hardback in October too, and maybe read both books again just to torture myself some more. Yeah, I'm a masochist.

I have to admit something. I'm not exactly sure if this book in itself is a quick read, or that I just devoured it because I couldn't stop reading and wanting to know what happens next. There's still so much I am waiting to find out in book three. Like what happened to Ruby's parents? Her grandmother? Sam? The camps? What's going to happen with The League? Clancy? The president? What happened with Gary and Zu? Liam's parents? What is going on you guys? I need more of this world, more from these books!

There are a lot of books I have been reading lately that were great. Great is good of course, but I find myself constantly looking for something different, looking for: Mind-Blowing. I enjoy reading good books sure, but I love books that stay with me days after I'm done reading them, haunting me with their magnificence. So this book, this incredible sequel, you can just imagine how I was feeling whilst reading it - and now that I'm done with it - because it most certainly wasn't great, it was mind blowing.

Rating: 5/5!*

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