The Darkest Minds Never Fade In the Afterlight

This week, I will be reviewing “The Darkest Minds” trilogy by Alexandra Bracken. Bracken’s world will have you hooked and leave you wondering if the fictional future presented in this book could parallel the future of the United States of America.

Following Ruby, a 16-year-old prisoner, this series explores a not-too-distant future where every child under the age of 12 is infected with a virus called IAAN. This virus kills almost every child in the U.S. and mutates those who survive. The infected children are divided into five different groups — Green, Blue, Yellow, Red, Orange — based on how the virus mutated them.

Greens are transformed into super computers; their brains are either sped up, allowing them to take in information at an extremely accelerated rate, or are turned into a computer hard drive, saving every piece of data they come in contact with. Blues develop telekinesis and can move objects with their minds. Yellows have power over anything with an electric current. Reds possess the power to create fire at will and Oranges have control over others’ mind.

Terrified parents are forced to send all of the survivors of IAAN into rehabilitation camps designed to cure children of their mutations. The biggest camp, Thurmond, is where Ruby is sent at the age of 10. Six years later, the President has become a sort of dictator.

Ruby is classified as Green and has long given up hope for a cure. Over the years, the more dangerous colors — Red, Orange, and Yellow — have been removed from Thurmond, leaving only Blues and Greens. White Noise, a weapon which emits a frequency designed to incapacitate mutated children, is used to keep them from escaping. But the White Noise is the least of Ruby’s worries. She has a secret that she hasn’t told a soul for fear of being sent away like the others. Six years prior, Ruby manipulated the sorters into believing she was a Green, while in actuality, she is an Orange.

Alexandra Bracken is a truly gifted storyteller. She has a way of identifying and creating a variety of different characters while enticing the reader to fall in love with each one. The fast-paced plot incorporates minute details which have a tendency to come back in full force later in the story. Even though all three books are from Ruby’s perspective, the thoughts and ambitions of surrounding characters are always clearly seen and displayed, adding to the overall pace and development of the book. Furthermore, there are several hilarious one-liners spread throughout the entire series, providing much-needed comic relief. Ruby thinks about concepts and events deeply, which sparks a similar thought process in the reader’s mind.

The first book in the series is “The Darkest Minds,” the second is “Never Fade,” and the third is “In the Afterlight.” Alexandra Bracken orchestrated her titles in such a way that they form a sentence — The Darkest Minds Never Fade In The Afterlight. She also wanted to capture the transformation of dark to light that happens throughout the series in the title.

There are two other novellas in this series. The first is named “In Time,” and it takes place between the first and second books. The second is “Sparks Rise,” which takes place between the second and third books. I highly recommend reading each of these novellas in the order specified above to have the best possible experience reading this series. If you have read the books but not the novellas, don’t worry! These novellas are helpful, but not necessary. They provide different characters’ point of views. Each of these stories differ from the normal embellishing role novellas play in a series. Alexandra Bracken has a talent for making the novellas feel like mini books rather than extra scenes.

All in all, I give this series five stars — it is that amazing! Thank you for reading this blog and remember, don’t knock it ‘til you read it!