Never Fade is the second in Bracken’s The Darkest Minds series, and it picks up pretty quickly from where the first book left off. To recap the first book, The Darkest Minds is set in a future where a plague has decimated the young, and those that survived developed powers. These powers were categorized, and Orange became the most dangerous because they can manipulate another person’s mind. Eventually, a corrupt government encouraged/forced parents to put their children into camps where they would be “safe.” Ruby is one of those children, and has been living at one of the worst camps for years hiding her Orange status. When she gets her chance to escape, she takes it. Out in the world, Ruby meets other kids who have not lived in camps before, and strikes up a strong friendship with Liam, Chubs and Zu; however, the team runs afoul of a nefarious Orange and in order to save her friends lives, Ruby leaves them for the Children’s League, even going so far as to wipe the memories of herself form Liam, whom she has grown to love. The question is whether or not Ruby’s sacrifice will be worth it.
The Children’s League is trying to fight against the extremely corrupt government. However, things are not picture perfect with the League and Ruby becomes suspicious when other kids with powers suddenly start dying on missions. She wonders if someone deliberately killing these kids?
When Liam’s older brother, Cole, returns to the League, Ruby is given a mission that will bring her back into Liam’s orbit, the problem is that Ruby has erased all of Liam’s memories of her. Liam has come into possession of a flashdrive with the cure for the plague that instigated the powers in the survivors. Cole gives Ruby the mission to retrieve the flashdrive; Ruby agrees because she believes it will give him the leverage to get the Children’s League to help get the kids in the government run camps released. Of course, getting the flashdrive is easier said than done, and in the end Ruby has to make a decision about her loyalties and her powers as an Orange.
Never Fade was just as action-packed as the first in the series. The book moves at a breakneck pace that will leave you unable to put it down because you are constantly left on the edge of your seat. The world isn’t lighthearted; kids are being murdered and murdering one another. It’s a scary world but you are completely engaged and you can’t help but hope for Ruby and her friends to make a difference.
What I loved most about Never Fade was the introduction of some new characters. First, there’s Liam’s older brother, Cole. I was expecting Cole to be a completely unlikeable character, but it’s clear that there’s a lot more to his character than as a super soldier; he’s been keeping secrets and I’m very interested in how that plays out. There’s also Vida, Nico and Jude, all of whom are kids with powers that are part of the Children’s League. It was so very interesting to get their side of things since in book one we only got the negatives of the Children’s League from Liam. I have an especial fondness for Vida and her smart mouth remarks, and the bickering between her and Chubs was fantastic and I’d love to see more, and for them to hopefully develop a friendship. I will say no more about the other characters, since that would spoil things, but rest assured there are some great new additions to the series.
Of course we still have the characters from book one, Liam and Chubs (Zu was not in the book). Chubs was my favourite character from book one and I was so happy to see him again, especially since his fate was in question at the end of book one. He seems to have changed a lot since book one and has gained a different outlook. Like Ruby, these changes haven’t always been ones he’s proud of. And then there’s Liam. He was missing for a good chunk of Never Fade and when he did show up he was confused about Ruby; he felt something for her but he didn’t remember anything about her. If you’re looking for the typical teen romance, that wasn’t really here, but what was there was pretty sweet. If you liked the initial friendships presented in book one, you will definitely like book 2 and the changes that have been made in their group dynamic.
Ruby once again showed herself as an interesting character. She’s a strange mix of strong and vulnerable. Strong because of what she’s willing to do for her friends and vulnerable because those very friends are her weak spot. I was very impressed with her character development in this one, and I liked how her powers were addressed. Ruby can do a lot more with her Orange abilities and it can be scary. I liked that Ruby was conflicted about her powers and that she did have remorse about how she used them at times. Ruby didn’t always use her mind bending abilities in the most moral way possible, but she was constantly learning from her mistakes and quick to consider her actions. In the end, I think that Ruby showed great potential as a leader and I can only hope that she continues to use her Orange abilities for the good side.
Overall, Never Fade was a great addition to the series and I can’t wait for the next one. This one is perfect for fans of The Hunger Games and the Divergent series; the action and the disturbing dystopian world will sure to appeal to fans of the genre.