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The Darkest Minds #3

In the Afterlight

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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. With them is a prisoner: Clancy Gray, son of the president, and one of the few people Ruby has encountered with abilities like hers. Only Ruby has any power over him, and just one slip could lead to Clancy wreaking havoc on their minds.

They are armed only with a volatile secret: proof of a government conspiracy to cover up the real cause of IAAN, the disease that has killed most of America's children and left Ruby and others like her with powers the government will kill to keep contained. But internal strife may destroy their only chance to free the "rehabilitation camps" housing thousands of other Psi kids.

Meanwhile, reunited with Liam, the boy she would-and did-sacrifice everything for to keep alive, Ruby must face the painful repercussions of having tampered with his memories of her. She turns to Cole, his older brother, to provide the intense training she knows she will need to take down Gray and the government. But Cole has demons of his own, and one fatal mistake may be the spark that sets the world on fire.

535 pages, Hardcover

First published October 28, 2014

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About the author

Alexandra Bracken

37 books24.4k followers
Hi! I'm Alex and I write books. Please note that I don't respond to messages here on GoodReads. Please send me a note on twitter or IG @alexbracken. xx A

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5 stars
28,891 (47%)
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3 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 5,826 reviews
Profile Image for Jesse (JesseTheReader).
468 reviews169k followers
December 17, 2015
I'll admit the first chunk of this book was slow & it felt like not much was happening, but those last 200 pages were GOLDEN. Great finale, even though I didn't much enjoy the first section of the book.
Profile Image for Mari.
56 reviews84 followers
Want to read
April 2, 2014
Profile Image for Bex.
16 reviews
November 6, 2014

Okay, so it's officially been a week since In the Afterlight was released, and I must admit, it took me a little longer than I anticipated to finish... but oh, god, when I finished it...

It was a little emotional. Not because of anything that happened in the end necessarily (this is going to be a spoiler-free review for those who haven't finished), but just because IT'S OVER and that makes me sad on so many levels that I can't even fully express my desolation.

Only rarely in my life has a book actually made me feel emotions for every freaking thing the main character felt... and I mean Every. Freaking. Thing.

God, I actually just laid down on my bed with the book on my chest with a tears leaking out of my eyes when I finished the last page because that is how attached I got to the main characters.

I swear to God. If you haven't read the series yet, (first of all if you haven't read the series yet, gtfo this page because you're gonna spoil yourself but first read this) you should just know... this series will fuck with your feels. It will make you stupidly happy and ridiculously sad and angsty and giddy and all the emotions on the emotional rainbow in between. If you cannot deal with your emotions being fucked with, don't read this series. But if you want something that has a plot and a purpose and the best goddamn character development arc ever, READ IT.

I am both scared and excited for Passenger...

Alex Bracken, you are a genius.
Profile Image for Petrik.
675 reviews43k followers
June 9, 2017
Once I sleep on it and think about it clearly, I finally decided to give this book a 2 stars, I really wanted to give this a higher rating because I liked the first two book, especially the second one but I just can't. There will be a LOT of negative opinions on this review so if you're not up for that you might wanna stay away.

The Darkest Minds.Never Fade.In the After Light

How cool that sounds for a book trilogy title? sadly, the last book doesn't do justice to the title of the trilogy. I'm heavily disappointed with the last installment and here are my three main reasons.

1. Disastrous Pacing & Plot
It's freaking insanity to push through the first 380 pages of this book where nothing is happening and all the plot happens in ONE fucking place. No I'm not joking, other than first two chapter and the last three chapter, everything happens on one place called The Ranch, which is their HQ. With one setting, nothing happening at all in the story, combined with all the dramafest, it became really painful to read. At one point, I literally almost fell asleep while reading it. Most of the story within the first 380 pages revolves around one of the worst trope I hated the most in any kind of story, "misunderstanding based on assumption", which I'll dive more into now with my second reason.

2. Ruby (or Rubitch in my head)
Rubitch degrade herself more and managed to slid her way into one of the worst heroines I've ever encountered in my whole life, together with Tris from Divergent and Bella from Twilight. Prepare yourself for a HUGE amount of angst teenage drama "oh my fucking god, I should be the one to do this otherwise no it's wrong, I am the monster, the strongest, I am god I am the best hell yes I am" 5 minutes later "why am I doing this?" *I cried in Asian*

I could write a short novel on how much I dislike her character and actions, not to mention dumb + unnuecessary but I'll try to simplify it. Here's how it goes: "I can't tell Liam every single thing I do, I'll hide all fucking things from him cause I love him. I know it will ruined everything if tell him, he can't take this kind of information" which is ridiculous cause in the end where the lies are revealed, Liam weren't even angry and Ruby still acts surprised, oh dear lord save me from this teenage drama.

The craziest part is there is ONE occassion where Liam finally hides something from Rubitch after being treated horribly by her and his own brother and guess what Rubitch did? throw tantrum "HE HIDES THINGS FROM ME OH NO HELP ME I CAN'T TRUST HIM HE DOESN'T TRUST ME" girl pls, eat some lasagna and think really on how many things you've hidden from him and knowing his personality, Liam eventually always forgive her and say sorry. Rubitch's character rating = blackhole/5 stars

3. No actions at all
This is the last book of the trilogy, and considering the main plot of the trilogy is around their powers there really should be more actions compared to predecessors but nope, there is none. The trilogy revolves around the powers the kids have and yet the only power we see used in this book are Ruby's "Orange" ability. Should've changed the title of the book to "Orange Country" Forget all the other powers and finding the cure, they don't even use it anymore. There's also no clear explanation on how Ruby's power works, one moment it required touch to happen but now it only requires her to see the person.

There's some positive things of course, all other side characters still shine, especially Chubs and Zhu. Chubs is still the best character of the trilogy and I flew through the pages every time he appeared. I wish there's more of the first TDM cast appearance rather than all the drama fest between Rubitch, Liam's brother Cole, and Liam. The last 150 pages and the ending were also really well done which brought me to the point that the book itself could've been condensed to 300 pages and I would have given this a 4 stars. There's WAY too many unnecessary part.

In the end, I'm really disappointed by the last installment of this trilogy. However, I will still look into Bracken's other work cause I really love her writings and even though the last book doesn't suit my taste, her writings still pull me in and brought me to finish the book in 2 days. I hope her next work will not be another YA as I would really love her to try writing books like what V.E Schwab did, where she divides her books into YA and Adult series. I should state once again that this is my review and it's purely my opinion, you could end up liking it much more than I do.

Series Rating
The Darkest Minds: 3.5/5 Stars
Never Fade: 3.5/5 Stars
In the Afterlight: 2/5 Stars

The Darkest Minds Trilogy = 9/15 Stars
Profile Image for Ferdy.
944 reviews1,110 followers
November 3, 2014

I experienced a lot of deja vu whilst reading this, so much of it was similar to the other YA dystopia I'd already read. There was the usual insufferable heroine and the same old world building and dynamics between teenagers/adults/the evil government. It wasn't all bad though, I did really enjoy most of the secondary characters and the friendships/relationships between them.

-The majority of the plot was dull, there was the typical teen heroine and her merry gang fighting to take down the evil system they were in.
The story was dragged out and slow, Ruby and co spent most of their time angsting and arguing about nonsense. There was very little action and plot development, instead there was a lot of repetition and pointless dialogue/narration, I didn't need to read Ruby moaning about Jude or Liam again and again. I already knew what she was feeling the first dozen times she mentioned how upset she was about everything, repeating it over and over again was unnecessary.

-There was very little I liked about Ruby. The best thing about her was her bitterness and unforgiving attitude towards people who had wronged her. It made a nice change from the usual heroines who automatically forgive and forget all the bad things people have done. Ruby held out longer than most, it was still disappointing when she did eventually cave. I would have liked her to hold on to that rage instead of being all understanding and giving undeserving people second/more chances.
What I really loathed about her was her feeling she was responsible for everyone and their mother. Liam and her friends made their own decisions but idiot Ruby acted like everything they did was down to her - What teenager thinks like that about their friends?! No-one feels responsible and guilty for the decisions their friends make all by themselves, they have minds of their bloody own. I found Ruby's way of thinking really unrealistic.
I especially got sick of Ruby banging on about Jude, she didn't even know him that long and she acted like she'd lost her first born child. They were both kids, he wasn't her responsibility. The silly cow spent most of the book whining about Jude or how she had to look after everyone or how she was so messed up and broken. She really needed to get the fuck over it. I wasn't interested in her angst, her martyr complex or her non-stop guilt.

-I couldn't believe how daft Ruby was thinking stress and tiredness were causing her to blank out, sleepwalk, and miss huge chunks of time. That had never happened before when she was tired and under pressure, so why would she so easily accept it as an explanation to her odd behaviour? How did she not even consider Clancy was messing with her mind? Why wouldn't she be a little bit suspicious of him messing with her mind? It was too far-fetched and contrived her not suspecting anything.

-Cole and Ruby's speshul-snowflake-nobody-understands-us attitude was ridiculous. They really needed to get over themselves, all the teens were in the same boat as them but they thought their brand of powers were so much worse than everyone else's, when they really weren't. I would have had more sympathy for them if they weren't so up themselves.

-Ruby and Liam's romance was poorly written and developed. I hated how Ruby tried to keep Liam safe and how she coddled him like he was a child, she was an overprotective harpy and she made Liam look like a weakling.
Ruby didn't respect Liam or treat him as her equal, she was never honest with him and never asked for his opinions. In every conversation they had she was keeping something from him, by the third book of a series I expect more maturity from the protagonist.
Ruby worrying about Liam, kissing him, and occasionally having shallow conversations with him wasn't enough to convince me of their relationship. Ruby had more genuine and deep interactions with Cole, they had an actual connection and balanced each other out well. Not that I wanted them together, but why was there so much effort and page time dedicated to their relationship instead of Liam and Ruby's?

-Liam/Cole's sibling relationship was done well, they read like genuine brothers. It was sad they never made up properly before Cole died.
I was disappointed with Cole's death, he was a major character yet he pretty much got an off page death, it was lame.

-Absolutely loathed Clancy, what a prick. He didn't deserve to get a clean slate, he wasn't misunderstood or messed up because of the circumstances he was put in. He was a stone cold bastard who was happy to use and abuse other kids, he didn't even care when he caused multiple deaths. He showed no remorse or guilt, all he showed was self pity, he wanted everything his way and didn't give a fuck who he hurt in the process. He was responsible for Jude and Cole's death and probably loads of others, he was an irredeemable fucker. I was waiting for him to die horribly, but instead he pretty much got a happy ending, it was so unsatisfying.

-The ending was anticlimactic, I was looking forward to Ruby going back to Thurmond and helping to free the kids, but it turned out to be rather underwhelming. There was hardly any tension and not much emotion either, it was all so predictable.
I also didn't like how pretty much all the adults throughout the series were remorseless fucks, but then at the end there was suddenly a load of caring parents and soldiers. Where were all the decent adults when the kids were imprisoned for years? Why didn't they ever protest or help their kids? Why did they blindly believe the president? As if parents would just be cool with being separated from their children for years, no matter what the government were saying. All of it was super contrived.

-Liam leaving Ruby in the hospital so he could chill out at a hotel and act the hero showed how little he cared for her. His feelings for her were so lukewarm, and even though Ruby wasn't honest with Luke, it was still obvious she loved him. The one sided feelings between them was another factor which made their relationship rubbish.

-I loved the main secondary characters (Zu, Vida, Chubbs, Nico), they were far more entertaining than Ruby/Liam. The more minor side characters were rubbish: most of the adults were one dimensional villains and the teenagers were all scared, useless sheep (except of course for the heroine and her chosen friends).

-The science behind IAAN/the random powers/the cure was laughable. How could a chemical that affected kids so much have zero effect on adults? How was it that none of the other scientists/doctors in the country were able to figure out the cause behind IAAN? It wasn't like the cause turned out to be something unusual or obscure, the chemical that caused the disease was in the entire country's water supply! And a brain pacemaker as a cure/treatment to super powers? Really?! It was nonsensical.

-What happened to Lucas and the other Reds? Did Lucas get back to his old self? Did he find his sister and remember Sam? Where did Sam end up? Did she go back to her strict parents? Was Clancy in love with Nico? What happened to the president? Him just disappearing was rubbish. What happened to all the kids without parents or parents that didn't want them? Did the full truth about the camps/treatment of the kids ever come out?

In the Afterlight offered nothing new to the YA dystopia genre, it was the same old, same old. I enjoyed the novellas in the series a lot more, they had interesting stories and engaging main characters, it was a shame the same couldn't be said about the main novels.
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,470 reviews9,636 followers
March 18, 2017


I sat here for about an hour trying to figure out how I wanted to rate the book and what to say.

I'm still at a loss as to how I really feel but I decided on the middle ground. I liked the book well enough. Anything from 3 stars and up is good enough to me.

I was pretty happy with the ending. How to put this without spoilers. I liked that there were reunions and stuff but I kind of wanted it to be a little more than that. I wanted people to stay together forever. <--- Geez, just read the book.

I was so happy that Zu got to come back in this book. She's so sweet.

I have a few favorite characters but my all time favorite I believe is going to be Chubs. I mean, he's just awesome and sweet and funny. I love him and Vida together. They are hilarious.

I hate that some had to die but that happens in books.

Overall, I enjoyed the whole trilogy and I look forward to the book of novella's!

MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List
Profile Image for Kassidy.
339 reviews11k followers
November 14, 2014
This book is so stressful and emotionally intense, but it's a great conclusion! I love how everything wrapped up and my questions were answered, and it definitely brought some tears to my eyes, so bittersweet!
I think some parts dragged on because they pretty much stayed in the same place the whole time, and it took me a while to read, but it was worth it. The characters are so wonderful and I love seeing their relationships develop. Although Ruby and Liam's relationship got frustrating!
I still love this series SO much and it's definitely a favorite <3
Profile Image for lauren ❀.
282 reviews419 followers
November 30, 2019
I am so upset that this is over. This book was amazing, actually, it was like a hundred times better than amazing! This book was honestly perfect and I’m struggling to explain how great it is. I feel so weird now that I’ve finished this series because I really didn’t want it to end and I know I’m going to miss the characters so much!! I have such a hollow feeling in my chest right now because I have no idea what to do or what to read next because I really don’t want to let go of these characters. I actually kind of feel lost, like what am I supposed to do now?

There were many times during this series that I wasn’t in engrossed in it and it was really tricky to carry on reading. I loved the first book and flew through it but when I reached the second book I had left such a big gap between the reading the first book and the second that it took so long for me to get into it and the same happened when I started to read this book. It was so on and off because of school and when I had time to read I didn’t want to. When I got around 40% through that’s when I really started to get into the book and like it.

This book is not only amazing but has been able to bring back my love for reading. I think for maybe over five months I haven’t been reading that much because of school and I just wasn’t feeling it. Last year because of all the pressure of wanting to finish my reading challenge I was forcing myself to read and I wasn’t enjoying it as much but after reading this book I feel like my love for reading has come back. I flew through the rest of this book and I didn’t want to stop and it reminded me of exactly a year ago when I used to read like this. School really got in the way of my reading and I wasn’t enjoying it that much. I am honestly so glad I finished this series because even though after this ending it's going to take a while to try and read another book, I still know that I will enjoy reading like I used to. I always read books super fast and never read it properly and practically skim them. I took my time with this book and managed to able to read it properly and pick up on quotes that I liked and everything.

So now on the plot. This book definitely had a lot more action and lot of new characters or maybe they weren’t new but I just didn’t remember. I have to admit I was getting confused at times but that was because I’m a really fast reader and often zone out when I read and have to reread what I read.

The ending was wonderful, it wrapped up the entire story so perfectly. I personally hate unfinished endings and this one wasn’t. Usually, when an ending is unfinished I get so agitated. I��m the type of person that needs every single answer at the end and although I still have some questions, the ending wasn’t killing me. The last part was remarkable and just made me feel fluffy inside.

Cole is my favourite character and I absolutely love him. Everyone seems to love Liam but I adore Cole. He was perfect and in my opinion, one of the best characters in the book

Clancy…Well, what can I say about him other than I ABSOLUTELY HATE HIM!! All the way up until 70% through the book I was thinking he’s not so bad but NOPE. I hate him and I wanted to rip him to shreds because

So I know this review is really basic and the writing is not so good but I’m not bothered to make it sound good because I just wanted to write about all my feelings about this book and how AMAZING it is. I know I’ve used that word a lot to describe this book but it actually really is. I am not a fan of dystopian and don’t read it anymore but this book is actually so good so if you think “oh this book is dystopian and I don’t like that anymore” still pick this book/series up and just give it a chance because I guarantee it will be amazing!!! :)


no No NOOO!!!!!

Omg this book was amazing and so was this series!! Every time I finish a series I love I get this weird feeling and get so SAD that it ended!!!! I need time to comprehend everything and get my thoughts together. I have this empty feeling in my chest!!!!

I actually have no idea what to do with my life now



UPDATE: I managed to find a very detailed summary online of Never Fade which was really good and I think I can finally read this book without being clueless.


UPDATE: I am taking a break from this book because at the moment I am not in the mood to read this it. Also I can't remember what happened in the other books.


UPDATE: I am so confused because I can't remember what happens in the first two books. I guess that's what happens when you wait a while before carrying on with the series. :(


I am sad and excited to read this. Sad because this is the last book and excited because I want to know what happens next. I just hope that I don't lose interest quickly because I left a gap between reading the second book and this one.

Profile Image for Leahxx.
116 reviews60 followers
March 16, 2015
I can't breathe. I can't function. I am lying on my bed in a trembling ball, unable to discern individual emotions coursing through my core. It's over. It's really and truly over and I have no idea how to deal.
Liam was my perfect little sunshine, as usual. And sure he had his moments where he was dark and hidden behind the clouds, but he always came out in the end.
Ruby is the most badass of all badass female characters to ever exist, and I absolutely adore her.
Chubs is forever my gangly and awkward knight in shining armor.
Vida is just pow. I love her.
Zu is adorable and powerful, and I love her character development.
Clancy can suck a d***, but I still value everything he brought to the table, even if it did screw everything up all the time, and I constantly wanted to wring his neck.
Cole is everything I would want in a big brother and just an amazing fighter.
And every single other character is equally awesome, well almost, but you know what I mean.
I just can't believe that it's all over. And this was the conclusion.
It was an excellent way to end the trilogy, but it just left me wanting more and more and more. I could honestly have books about Liam Stewart be published every single year for the rest of my life and be completely happy.
This whole plot had me gasping and flailing and falling off my couch. So many twists and turns and moments when I physically had to put the book down because I was trying to process what happened. My hands shook the whole time I read this.
And don't even get me started on the Liam and Ruby moments. They brought me to tears! I adore them so much. Clearly they had their bumps, but they were so perfect and it makes my heart melt.
I'm so happy with how this ended. I need some to recover from this book, this whole trilogy to be completely honest. I love it all so much...
Profile Image for April.
146 reviews259 followers
June 6, 2017
Stuck it out even at times I really didn't want to finish it.
Profile Image for Emma Giordano.
317 reviews116k followers
August 11, 2019
Update 8/11/2019

Dropping my rating to 3 stars to reflect my more recent thoughts. It's clear to me I did not enjoy this book as much as my 18 year old self! I found the pacing significantly slower and the plot much less entertaining. It really did not compare to the previous two installments in those respects. I do think there was a ton of fabulous character/relationship development! I also felt the ending was well done and it made me very excited to read the recently released sequel, The Darkest Legacy!

Original Review:

Spoiler Filled Video Review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SRgth...
Profile Image for Maureen.
507 reviews4,199 followers
October 21, 2014
Profile Image for Ninoska Goris.
262 reviews157 followers
September 19, 2017
Español - English

Finalmente terminé este libro. Aleluya! Si no fuera porque en este año leí La espía diría que es mi peor lectura del año hasta ahora.

Razones de porqué este libro se me hizo pesado de leer tengo varias, pero no los cansaré, solo mencionaré tres:

1. Demasiado lento. Literalmente solo pasa algo interesante en las primeras cien y últimas ciento cincuenta páginas. Pudo quedar razonable con 250 o 300 páginas.

2. Tengo tantas quejas con relación a Ruby...
-No entiendo porque se siente responsable por la muerte de Jude. Sus quejas y lloriqueos por esto es insoportable.
-Porqué "tiene" que rescatar a los niños de todos los campamentos. Se siente culpable por haberse ido y dejar a sus amigas, eso lo entiendo. Pero ella no se fue, la rescataron.
-Si Clancy es el más poderoso de todos los psis y sin razón de un día para otro lo puedes controlar, lo menos que puedes hacer es cuestionarte cómo pudiste hacerlo. Opino yo.
-Nuevamente digo: no me creo el amor incondicional, del tipo "no puedo vivir sin ti" entre Ruby y Liam.

3. Cuando al final encuentran la razón de la enfermedad, es para nada interesante y aunque el final no es horrible, quería algo más. Quería una gran batalla épica contra los rojos. Ni eso me dio esta serie.

A partir de este momento, y gracias a esta serie, entro en modo vacaciones de distopias. Hasta luego.


I finally finished this book. Hallelujah! If it were not because this year I read The spy would say that it is my worst reading of the year so far.

Reasons why this book was heavy to read I have several, but I will only mention three:

1. Too slow. Literally only something interesting happens in the first hundred and last one hundred and fifty pages. Could be reasonable with 250 or 300 pages.

2. I have so many complaints about Ruby...
-I do not understand why she feels responsible for Jude's death. Her complaints and whining about this is unbearable.
-Why she "has" to rescue children from all camps? She feels guilty for leaving her friends, I understand. But she did not leave by choice, they rescued her.
-If Clancy is the most powerful of all the psis and without reason overnight you can control it, the least you can do is question how you could do it. I mean, I would ask myself.
-Again I say: I do not believe the unconditional love, the "I can not live without you" type between Ruby and Liam.

3. When they finally find the reason for the disease, it is not at all interesting and although the end is not horrible, I wanted something more. I wanted a great epic battle against the Reds. Nor did that give me this series.

From this moment, and thanks to this series, I enter into dystopian vacation mode. Bye.
Profile Image for ♥ℂĦℝΪՖƬΪℕÅ.
230 reviews3,934 followers
October 28, 2018
3.5 Black is our color. ★'s

Black is the color that is no color at all.
It is a road. A forgotten night sky broken up by faded stars.
It is the barrel of a new gun, leveled at your heart.
The color of Chubs's hair, Liam's bruises, Zu's eyes.
Black is a promise of tomorrow, bled dry from lies and hate.

“It rained the day they brought us to Thurmond.
And it rained the day I walked out.”

Buddy read with Nancy

*I'm gonna keep this review simple and straight to the point.*
I'd like to say I'm surprised to be again rating a book in The Darkest Minds series in the 3 ★'s range. But I'm NOT. I really did enjoyed reading In the Afterligh. It didn't drag so much as all the others did, the second half was faster paced which I liked. I enjoyed all the twists and turns and it was a lot more action-packed. All the great heroines, flawed heroes, the betrayals, secrets, and truths revealed, sacrifices, the turmoil, the plot twists, and the heartbreaks were very intriguing and held my attention the whole way through. Alexandra Bracken's writing does get better but still, it could use a lot of improvement. The same can be said for the details that I am always craving. Her world and character building also keeps improving as well just not enough to appease me. I loved that we finally got Zu back. I missed her so much in the second book. I wish there would have been more Chubs (A LOT MORE CHUBS) and I so called the relationship between him and my girl Vida :) I love these two characters! Ruby and Liam both had things to work through and it took them a while to get to a good place together but they figured it out thank goodness. I totally fell for Cole, he became of my favorites and I just couldn't get enough of him. In the Afterligh gave me so many feels not all them pleasant ones. Like the unnecessary death of a character, that I came to love and respect. It was completely senseless and it made my blood boil! Ohhh man it seriously pissed me off!!! Also, one of my most favorite character in this entire freaking series Liam annoyed the crap out of me for the first half of the book and Ruby really bugged me at times as well. I also felt that the revelation of what caused IAAN was kinda lame. And for these three reasons alone, I cannot rate this any higher. But... despite the stupidity of the decisions, I did really like the book overall. I'm so happy to be moving on to The Darkest Legacy Suzume "Zu's" story so that I can finally put this series to rest!

“They'd never fade, even in the afterlight of all of this”

“I don’t care,” I said, leaning my head back against the seat. “Can we just get lost and see where that lands us?”

“And the open road rolled out in front of us.”

“What I’m trying to get at is, as bad as everything seems, I think, at its heart, life is good. It doesn’t throw anything at us that it knows we can’t handle—and, even if it takes its time, it turns everything right side up again.”

“I love you. With my whole heart. My whole life, however long I'm lucky enough to get, nothing will change for me.”
589 reviews1,031 followers
January 27, 2015
See more reviews at YA Midnight Reads

2.5 stars

The Darkest Minds was one of the first ever books I reviewed on this blog. No, I'm not going link it up because it's god awful and the only reason why I keep it on the blog is so I can look back and laugh at myself. I really enjoyed The Darkest Minds for the brilliant characters and world that Alexandra Bracken constructed, and Never Fade was just as fantastic. But, In the Afterlight seems to be a dud for me. Whether this is the reading slump speaking or not, I am not sure but here are my thoughts.

Ruby suddenly became an insufferable and awfully weak character that I could barely stand. In my review of Never Fade, I couldn't stop gushing on and on about how strong mentally and physically Ruby was. She had her flaws and I loved her through and through. However, like Marga @ Deadly Darlings mentions in her review, Ruby reminded me an awful lot of Tris from Allegiant. She's constantly thinking that everything is her fault and that the world will come to an end and it will all be due to her. Please honey, you're not the centre of the universe.

Moreover, I was bored. MAJORLY. I get bored in books a lot if not enough is happening, and this was the case here. Alexandra Bracken's novels tend to move on the slower side, and I do like that about her books. It worked nicely for The Darkest Minds and Never Fade. Unfortunately, In the Afterlight had me drifting off to sleep in the middle of my read. And this was in the morning, guys. (Not a good sign.) I simply felt that the plot line turned into a generic dystopian story, unlike it's wonderful predecessors, and soon found the plot to be predictable and awfully well, excuse the unprofessionalism (that's totally a word) here, lame.

My third major niggle was the Liam and Ruby romance. WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON WITH THAT? I shipped them like craaaaaaazy in The Darkest Minds, but I am feeling less and less enthused about their romance with each novel. *le sigh*

As for things that I did approve of, Chubbs, Vida and Zu are high on that list. They brought this book a lot of colour and entertainment, compared to Ruby who was constantly freaking about everything and Liam who acted like her mother or something.

It's a shame that this series ended on a bad note for me, but I do know many many people who LOVED this book, so don't let me stop you from reading this book!

The Darkest Minds Never Fade In The Afterlight.

~Thank you HarperCollins Australia for sending me this copy!~

Profile Image for Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘.
841 reviews3,774 followers
January 20, 2018
★★★★★ 5 I want a Stewart stars ★★★★★

This is it. The end.

Rating a book from series we love condemns us to an extreme vigilance - because let's be honest one second here : I love Liam's character. He stole my heart in The Darkest Minds and I could give a book 5 stars only because he's a part of it.
But. ← See this?

That tiny but draws the line between the rating I'd be willing to give to the series - a whole-hearted 5 stars, because these characters will stay in my heart forever - and the way I could rate this last installment : a four-stars-maybe-4.5-stars because come on, there is Liam in it - What? I'm not that immune to his charm, you're asking too much from me.

Yes. I could rate it 4 stars. But. ← See this?

But I. Don't. Care. It was amazing and worth 5 stars. Not perfect. But who says something had to be perfect to be amazing? There's no such thing as perfection in our world, and I'm a living made of feelings. Therefore I'm giving it 5 stars because I'll never forget this series. Never, ever.

What I want to say is - I'm able to see the flaws in that book and I'll talk about them.

But it doesn't make any difference.

Let's get straight on the flaws I couldn't overtake - faster we get through it, faster I can come back to all the wonderful things I adored in that book.

✘ The pacing was slow. Very, very slow. That's simple : almost nothing happens in that book, except in the last 100 pages or so. Actually, I got the impression I was reading the second book of a trilogy, you know, when the author thinks it's better to slow down before the very last explosion of events. The fact is, I loved Never Fade because it never fell into that trap, while here, several times I found me frowning and thinking, Is it really the last book? How could it be? You know the sensation to be burst with impatience we feel when we're in a waiting room? That's it. I can't say it was boring though. Never. Boring. Because I care too much about the characters to be bored when their lives are told.

I want to live.
I want to live.
I have to live.

“Ruby,” I croaked out.
O’Ryan turned slowly. “What was that, three-two-eight-five? You ready to talk now?”
“My name,” I said between clenched teeth,“is Ruby.”

✯ The character of this series are amazing and so full of life they always gave me the impression they could jump off the page, and, you know, live for real : they're, in fact, the very opposite of perfect characters. One might as well say that they annoyed the crap out of me something fierce - but they always moved me and made me fall for them over and over again.

❦Let's take the example of Liam. Yeah, you did see that coming right?

The truth is, if I take a clear-headed look at my favorite male-leads, they are often created from a similar model : sarcastic, smart-ass, independent, strong-minded.
→ Oh, but that's Cole right?

Not Liam. How can I explain my passion for his character then? Actually, when I met him in The Darkest Minds, I was amazed by his capacity to stay genuinely concerned about his friends, by the way he always, always care about them and put their happiness first. Don't be fooled though : as I said, he's complex and not our White Knife, even if he wanted to. No - because Liam is selfish somehow, as there is no depth to which he will not sink to try to save the people he loves. And that's okay, what am I saying, that's great, because what can be more realistic than that? How would we believe in a character who loves and wants to protect everybody? Ha, let me laugh, I'm answering for you : we can't. I can't anyway. So, Liam. In that final book he annoyed me sometimes, really, but never as much as I loved him because he's so multi-layered that I saw him and sought him out and wanted to check if he was all right all the freakin' time. Call me obsessed, you might be right.

That southern boy whose tenderness made me swoon and whose idealism made me cringe sometimes? That adorable and heart-warming character?
He stole my heart forever.

❦ Let's talk about Ruby. Despite the fact that I profoundly disagreed with a lot of some of her decisions, I can't help but feel proud of the growth of her character throughout the trilogy. While she seems cold-hearted sometimes, we can easily see how her experiences and all the hardships she had to face changed her. In the end, the aspects of her personality I'll keep in mind will be her courage, her strength, and above all that, her perseverance. Chapeau bas.

❦ Those multi-layered characters, all of them, from Cole to Clancy via Chubs and Vida, show us how thin are the boundaries between Evil and Good. That's something I'm always happy and relieved to find in novels because real people aren't Manicheans, and it'd be foolish to think otherwise in my opinion.

♜ Again the world building was incredible and so freakin' realistic it scared me.

Because you know what? That's awful but listen to me - that could be real. Reading these books brings me the same sick feeling I get sometimes when I watch the News or when I listen to people and the only thing I can think is why why why why do we do this to ourselves? This need the humans have to point to a person at fault, to blame somebody, the Others, whatever they are - that horrible need to fight what they can't understand, to hide in a safe box, to blind themselves, to drink lies because that's easier to handle -

That awful place? It's our f*cking world.

Alexandra Bracken offered us a well-wrapped-up plot and an amazing journey in that horrible world which could be ours. Far be it from me to suggest that there is a politic message behind those books which stay great dystopias but they made me think, feel, in a way I won't forget.

Oh! And I loved that ending. Adored it. The last 100 pages were perfect, perilious and heart-warming.

Au revoir Liam, Ruby, Cole, Vida, Zu, Sam, Jude, Clancy...

That was great to follow you. ❤

PS : This book is filled with so many wonderful quotes I chose to not write here because I don't want to spoil anyone - I'm already in an awful book-hangover, understand : I'm already re reading passages. *sigh*

For more of my reviews, please visit:


*huge breath*

My preparation was intense -

Physical - because hey hey hey we're always on a run with Ruby

Psychological - because - Whaaat? Have you read the first books? Reaaally?



I can NOT wait anymore.

I understand why we have to wait to read the end. I do. I really do.

But LIAM????? Ruby? freaking october ???

Profile Image for Arooj .
529 reviews317 followers
December 1, 2014
I loved the previous two books, the first one more than the second, but this one...ok, I'll be very, very honest.

This book was so boring.

There wasn't any of the excitement that the first two books had. And barely any action. I lost interest about halfway through the book and had to skim the rest, even though it pained me to do so.

I guess part of the problem was that I barely remembered the second book. And yes, that problem could have been solved easily by re-reading it, but I didn't have the patience. I've been reading very slowly these past few months and Never Fade would have taken me, like, two weeks to finish, and I wanted to get to In The Afterlight so badly. I instead read some summaries of Never Fade and some parts did come back to me.

But unfortunately, this series turned out to be one of those ones that have amazing starts, but disappointing endings. I still love the story and the characters, I just didn't love this book. Sorry.
Profile Image for Anniebananie.
537 reviews399 followers
July 27, 2017
3,5 Sterne

Hätte ich am Anfang nicht so Probleme im Lesefluss gehabt, hätte es auch locker 4 bekommen, aber irgendwie war mir der Anfang doch etwas zu langatmig, ohne dass wirklich etwas passiert ist. Dennoch fand ich diese Phase des Buches an sich nicht unwichtig für die Geschichte, da einige Beziehungen und Hintergründe näher beleuchtet wurden. Und die letzten 200 Seiten hab ich fast in einem Rutsch durchgesuchtet, weil es einfach nur fesselnd und grandios war, so muss Jugendfantasy/Dystopie! Ich hätte zum Ende hin sogar gerne noch mehr Seiten gehabt. Das war auf jeden Fall ein berührendes und sehr zufriedenstellendes Finale einer super Trilogie! Applaus auch für den tollen bildhaften Schreibstil der Autorin, ich hab alles wie einen Film (der ja sogar wirklich gedreht wird 😍🎥) vor meinem inneren Auge ablaufen sehen. 👏🏻 und es war halt einfach mal was neues, klasse Idee, die auch sehr gut über drei Bücher ausgeweitet und umgesetzt wurde 👍🏻
Profile Image for Lisann.
124 reviews131 followers
September 15, 2020
Dear "In the Afterlight"

What the hell were you thinking?
Did I have too high standards and maybe even overwhelm you with my expectations? No, actually it's not my fault! Your older brother was such a great book so you can at least be expected to do something similar, can't you? You always had him in front of your eyes as a great example while you were growing up. I know that you shouldn't compare siblings but who cares! So let's take a look at your missing developmental steps. Everything structured and one after the other, so that you understand yourself what went wrong with you.

Neverfade (your older brother) was one of my absolute favorite dystopias and I was so hyped for you to be born. And then YOU came. Already your first 100 pages disappointed me, because your brother inspired me so much and promised me that you will be a great child. Book, I mean of course. You just babbled on and hardly deliver any real content. But I was still willing to give you the benefit of the doubt and to assume that you would finally deliver the long-awaited action, plottwists, drama etc. by half of your pages at the latest.
And what did you do during your childhood? Yes, you say now they have moved to a new shelter. AND WHAT ELSE?
... I am listening?
... I guess you don't know what else to say! That's the crucial point. Even in your puberty nothing has changed in the scenery. You just stayed in the same place 80% of the time. The plot was blurry and it's really hard to describe what happened. If something happened at all.

While you were growing up to be a teenager I was bored most of the time and on top of that your language. Yes, of course I have something to criticize about it! You often said something like "And at that moment I knew exactly why Cole didn't want his brother to go." Uh-huh. Would you like to share that with me? WE ARE NOT ALL ORANGE and can't look into other people's heads! And don't get me started on Ruby. She has made no character developement in this book and I just can't stand her get eaten up by her guilt 24/7. When does she ever stop hiding things from the others? TRIGGERED!
What do you say? I should concentrate on your positive sides? Fine by me.

Just give me a minute to think, okay?

Ah now I've got something. Thanks for not having a love triangle. I probably would have grounded you if you even thought about that shit.

That's not enough for you? Hmm. All right.
Suzume. I guess that's the only thing you did better than your big brother. The fact that you brought her back and that she has really gone through a great character development throughout the story makes me a bit proud. You also did a good job with Vida and Chubs. I liked it. They were even more entertaining than Ruby and Liam. YES I HAD TO SAY THAT!

Let's get to the part where you grew up. Did you really have to kill HIM? He deserved so much better because he has been through so much himself. And did you mourn him properly? Of course not! There is no such thing here. I have absolutely no understanding for your behavior. And did you really want to pretend that PLOTTWIST was not predictable? I already knew in your childhood that you wanted to do this crap as an adult. No it was not subtle. You could have tried harder to hide it from me but no, you even waved all your sides to show me that something was wrong. So don't act so smug, because do you seriously believe that there are people who were surprised and didn't expect it? I mean you basically screamed "LOOK, THIS IS NOT NORMAL BEHAVIOUR OR IS IT?".

Well then, let's dedicate ourselves to your senior life or the end of the story. It was alright. You were trying, after all. You showed us that some people never change and that some characters are so committed to their peers that they put a lot of pressure on politicians. That at least brought a little smile to my lips, but unfortunately that doesn't change the fact that you were a disappointment anyway. Would you rather have taken a slice of your brother, or preferably several, especially as far as the plot is concerned. Because the plot was really bad.

Yes, you are right, I've ranted enough now. You may now spend the rest of your life in an old people's home, while your older brother is cared for by me at home. That's what you get from it!

Profile Image for Laura.
471 reviews558 followers
December 10, 2014
"I brought my window down, letting my free hand drift out to catch the wind.
And the open road rolled out in front of us."


This is how a book has to end.
This is how a trilogy has to end.
Alexandra has, once again, left me spechless. Even when I had a hard time trying to get my head around what was happening, I never doubted it was going to be amazing.
The character evolved in such a great way. The plot was just right and all the scenes so well put together.
It had the right amount of sadness, really. But, oh, the pain. Cole, Cole, Cole, Cole, Jude, Jude, Jude, Jude. I was so afraid this book was going to suck, yeah previous last books in trilogies has screwed me over I know, but no.
ITA was slow but in a good way and even when the scenes didn't have action, they took you by the throat. I am really happy with all the details. Zu's coming back (I cried), Cole and Ruby's gym training, Liam's self note I mean everything was right! Vida's breakdown, Clancy at the end.
I fell in love with these amazing characters over and over and over.
Liam is one of the most awesome male characters out there.
Ruby is such an inspiration.
Vida is life (literally).
Chubs is just kjdhkajhkah damn great.
Zu is redemption.
I laughed so hard when they book reached its end. I was crying and laughing and I was so happy. It's bittersweet, yes. Cole's death was so awful I can't think about it but everything worked out so well it amazes me. Alexandra amazes me.
I have no words. This was a absolutely fantastic book.
Profile Image for Helen 2.0.
289 reviews788 followers
June 3, 2017
This has been a strange trilogy for me because I actually liked the middle book best. What a rare occurrence. In the Afterlight fell short of Never Fade mostly because of bad pacing.

Too much of the book was taken up by training, planning, angsting, and generally sitting around in dark places. Of the 500-something total pages, only around 100 were occupied with real action or gripping drama. The final resolution went by so fast I had to reread it for it to register, and even on my second go it still felt unsatisfactory.

Cole grew to be my favorite (aside from Chubs). Clancy once mentioned that Cole was the more interesting of the two Stewarts and I have to agree. I'm pretty sure Ruby harbored a tiny crush on him too - many times when they were together Ruby would comment on Cole's physique, the way his muscles moved, his proximity. Girl don't you have a boyfriend? Quit lusting over his brother!

As always the first person narration didn't do the story any favors. The Darkest Minds series can get very frustrating because its structure is so Ruby-centered, readers rarely get to see past her. That was one mistake Alexandra Bracken managed to correct in her other series, Passenger.
As an example of why the first person POV was an issue, take Chubs and Vida's romantic entanglement (which, by the way, I called right from their first meeting in Never Fade). This was a huge step for both Chubs and Vida and one of the things I was dying to read in In the Afterlight. However when it finally comes up, there's one scene with them together and then it's never discussed again. My OTP is NEVER DISCUSSED AGAIN. It's disregarded because Ruby is too busy lamenting her own problems to give her friends close attention, and we readers don't get to experience the story through any eyes other than Ruby's. Excuse me while I go punch the nearest wall.

Clancy, Clancy, Clancy. At one point in the series I was hoping for a Shatter-Me-Warner kind of plotline in store for Clancy, but unfortunately the kid is just unerringly evil. Besides Ruby seems to have a thing for nice guys (namely Liam) so Clancy/Ruby wouldn't have worked out. Still I liked the insight we got into what made Clancy the villain he became and the slightest bit of compassion he showed for Nico. It was good to know that, in the end, Clancy wasn't totally inhuman.

So overall for the Darkest Minds series: It was fun. I'm glad I read it, and Alexandra Bracken did a great job picking book titles. But I wouldn't take the time to reread them; possibly I might read the novella someday but I doubt it. Someone with a bit more patience as a reader than me would probably love the series.
757 reviews2,346 followers
April 22, 2017
I really hoped this book would be a lot better than the previous two books.


¤No action.
I've been waiting for some kickass scenes and this book had none to offer. This is the last book right? Shouldn't shit be going down and there be some fights? Some action???


¤Extremely long.

¤Boring characters.

Profile Image for Gökçe.
166 reviews49 followers
February 6, 2016
Şuan içim resmen parçalanıyor. Kitabın kapağını kapattığım andan itibaren duygusal anlamda çökmüş durumdayım. Bu seriyi ne kadar çok sevdiğimi anlatamam. Karakterler, kurgu, dili… Herşeyiyle mükemmel. En kötü olan şey ise bu kadar çok sevdiğin bir seriye veda etmek. Diğer iki kitabı ne kadar çok sevdiysem Ateş Çemberi de benim için öyleydi. Elimden bırakasım gelmedi. Bir yandan da bu kadar çabuk bitmesin diye yakındım. Karakterlerin duyguları, kafa karışıklıkları o kadar iyi yansıtılmıştı ki ben de aynı şeyleri yaşadım. Arkadaşlık, aile kavramları daha da yakınlaştırdı beni seriye. Ruby, Liam, Cole, Jude, Chubs, Vida, Zu, Cate… Hepsini çok özleyeceğim :(

Profile Image for ambsreads.
656 reviews1,395 followers
July 18, 2016
Once again I'm beyond incapable of writing a review. My feelings are scattered, my heart is broken. I can't believe I've finished this series (excluding 3.5 - which I will read) and I'm so happy I chose to read them. If anyone has read these books and wants to share feelings I'm 110% in but I just want to say how I don't know how to feel about this ending. I'm happy but I'm also sad. It's a close but an open ending, which is confusing. I just wanted a dang epilogue. This is honestly just a ramble, maybe one day I will write a full review for this but for now I just can't say much apart from read this series now.

I also want to add , I kinda went eh and moved on. Also,

What power would you like to have though? I would prefer to be a Green or a Blue tbh but with my luck I'd probably end up being a Red, ha.
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