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.