Series: The Darkest Minds #2
Published by Disney Hyperion on October 15th 2013
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal, Dystopian
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?
Never Fade is a lot darker and grittier than its tame predecessor The Darkest Minds, which means we get a tougher Ruby, violence, guilt, and an overall action-packed plot where no one holds back. And with the Children’s League, a powerful new player has entered the field, wanting to claim it as its own. Prepare to be amazed, people.
So, do you remember that plain, helpless girl who refrained from using her bad, bad, bad powers? Well, passive Ruby is gone, replaced by a darker, powerful Ruby. Meet a Ruby who defies orders, pushes through with her own plans. Meet a Ruby who doesn’t take shit from no one, especially not bullies who used to intimidate her. Meet a Ruby who actually uses her powers, though never forgets the responsibility she has by being able to influence people’s will. Meet a Ruby who realizes how seductive holding this power over others can be, which brings us a step closer to the messed up mind of Clancy Gray. Though Ruby may still present herself as deserving of a punch or two, she has finally grown a backbone. Liam, on the other hand, is still a lost leaf in the wind. In the aftermath of The Darkest Minds, Liam is in a fucked up situation, and it’s not his fault the reader doesn’t get to know him better in this instalment. Though I certainly felt sorry for him at one point or another, I still feel he has a lack of personality. And there was so much angst, help. The angst is also part of the reason why I still cannot get on board with the romantic subplot. Yes, it’s cute and smoochy-smoochy but it just doesn’t feel natural, doesn’t feel real. Now, Chubs is the shining star as ever when it comes to the male cast of this series. He’s that loyal sidekick who’ll keep you going by spouting sarcastic remarks, which are strangely motivating, every now and then. With Vida and Cole, two new characters enter the stage. Vida is the epitome of female badassness, and though she gave Ruby hell at first, I enjoyed how their relationship turned from distrust to respect. Cole, Liam’s older brother, is a snarkfest. He charms his way through life and provides a challenge for Ruby. (Honestly, I would’ve rather seen Ruby with Cole than with Liam, but I’m probably a minority here). And where’s Clancy you ask? Thaaat you will have to find out for yourselves.
Then he was stepping back, away, letting distance flood between us again. His voice was low, rough. “Give ’em hell, darlin’.”
“And for the love of God, bitch, don’t get stabbed this time!” Vida added.
The plot increased the tension noticeably. Hardened characters meet more difficult tasks and challenges as the stakes are raised, tempers flare, and betrayal lurkes around every corner. This book had me glued to the pages. I could literally not catch a break with this one. The world-building has improved slightly but what I really want to talk about is the writing. The writing is smoother and more comprehensive than in The Darkest Minds. This made the action passages a lot more coherent and therefore easier to follow.
Second book syndrome? Seek elsewhere, for you won’t find it here. Never Fade steps up the action, the pacing, and the tension compared to the first instalment in this paranormal series. Though my issues haven’t vanished into thin air, for example regarding the romantic subplot, this series has improved a lot with Never Fade.