BOOK REVIEW: Never Fade – by Alexandra Bracken

Title: Never Fade
(The Darkest Minds #2)
Author: Alexandra Bracken

Genre: YA, Dystopia, Paranormal
First published: October 15th 2013
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Finished reading: April 10th 2017
Pages: 507

“Sometimes you’re the one speeding along in a panic, doing too much, not paying attention, wrecking things you don’t mean to. And sometimes life just happens to you, and you can’t dodge it. It crashes into you because it wants to see what you’re made of.”

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After reading and enjoying the first book back in January, I made a promise to read both sequels as soon as possible. It took me a bit longer than expected, but I finally picked up book number two this month… And I have to say that unfortunately Never Fade doesn’t live up to the first book at all for me. While I enjoyed The Darkest Minds even though the plot isn’t all that original anymore, I found Never Fade to be overlong and at times even on the border of boring. The writing style was as good as ever, but it sure took me a lot longer than expected to finish this one… And that is probably due to the fact that both the plot felt a bit thin and some of the characters started to annoy me. Basically, the sequel is about Ruby trying to find someone and messing up along the way, with various people betraying her or not being what they seem to be. Which might still be interesting, but it mostly felt like a ‘copy-repeat’ plot to me instead. Warning: this feeling might also be caused by the fact that Ruby started to frustrate me with the whole ‘I’m dangerous/I can’t be around others/I need to be alone’ thing. It does have a pretty explosive ending though! All in all not what I was expecting at all and yet another series that suffers from the ‘weak-sequel-syndrome’… I will still be reading the final book some time soon though, and I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed In The Afterlight will make me enjoy this series again.

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WARNING: Possible spoilers! Please don’t read this summary if you haven’t read the first  book yet. I’ll keep the summary super short but it’s impossible to keep it completely spoiler-free…

Ruby never wanted her abilities in the first place and doesn’t like using them, but now she’s in the Children’s League she is forced to use them on a daily basis. She has to go on dangerous missions and get the truth out of their enemies, and she only agrees because it’s a way to keep the others safe. But then she finds out something that will change everything… And this new secret mission might just be the most dangerous one yet.

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I was really looking forward to this sequel, especially since I enjoyed The Darkest Minds that much. Unfortunately Never Fade turned out to be another case of ‘weak-sequel-syndrome’. I actually struggled to continue at points as the plot just felt too drawn out; I feel that a similar story could have been told with 150-200 pages less and would probably have been a lot more entertaining. This has nothing to do with the writing style itself though, because Never Fade is without doubt well written. It’s one of the reasons I’m still hopeful for the third book!


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WWW Wednesdays #121 – January 25th

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WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I’m currently reading two pending ARCs… The first is Blink by K.L. Slater, which I will continue as soon as I finish the other one: Stake-out by Lily Luchesi. I’m normally not a fan of vampire stories, but I’m enjoying this one a lot better than I thought I would. Scary vampires and vampire/creature hunters without it being fluffy? Definitely positive for me! Also, since I haven’t been making progress with Little Women due to a mountain of pending ARCs, I’ve decided to put it on hold and no longer mention it until I have made serious progress again.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* First up is the YA Spring/Summer edition of Buzz Books which I downloaded on a whim. I won’t be reviewing this one on my blog, but this edition shows that we have some great YA books to look forward to this year! I’ve already had the pleasure to read The One Memory Of Flora Banks by Emily Barr, which is in one word BRILLIANT. Other titles that stood out for me after reading the previews were Flame In The Mist by Renee Ahdieh, Future Threat by Elizabeth Briggs, Roar by Cora Carmack, This Is Really Happening by Erin Chack, How To Be A Supervillian by Michael Fry and Rebels Like Us by Liz Reinhardt. What a great selection of promising stories from a variety of different genres!
* I then decided to finally pick up my copy of The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken as part of the #beatthebacklist challenge. I’m still ashamed it took me over TWO years to pick up this copy, although it looks like I have been punished enough because I have been missing out on a great story. The plot might not be all that original, but the writing style is great and I liked the character (minus a few small complaints). I will definitely pick up at least book two next month!
* The next book I finished was Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell, which I read over at RivetedLit for free. It was a close call, since I finished it on the last day the book was available… When I first started reading it, I was more than excited about this Peter Pan retelling, but as things advanced and the Neverland revamped worldbuilding was revealed things fell a little flat for me. It might be the hint at a love triangle, it might be the whiney character, but I didn’t enjoy Unhooked as much as I thought I would. The ending was not that satisfying either.
* The last book I finished since last week is Don’t Look Behind You by Mel Sherratt, which is actually the second book in the Detective Eden Berrisford series. I enjoyed this psychological thriller so much better than the first book! The main character Eden has started to warm up to me, although now some problems in her private life have been revealed she does look more like the cliche detective character. Still, the case in Don’t Look Behind You felt just so much more intriguing than the first book and the whole abuse topic is without doubt a very important one. The story reads like a train and the writing style is very enjoyable to read; the amount of plot twists just right. I will definitely be looking forward to the next installment of this series!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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Next up are two Netgalley ARCs: Little Girl Lost by Carol Wyer and Making Faces by Amy Harmon.  I have one of Harmon‘s other novels on my January TBR, but I’ve decided to read this one first since it’s an ARC and all. I also want to read Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult…  And my newest TBR jar pick is still The Five Stages Of Andrew Brawley by Shaun David Hutchinson.


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BOOK REVIEW: The Darkest Minds – by Alexandra Bracken

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Title: The Darkest Minds
(The Darkest Minds #1)
Author: Alexandra Bracken

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Dystopia
First published: December 18th 2012
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Finished reading: January 21st 2017
Pages: 499
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“The darkest minds tend to hide behind the most unlikely faces.”

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I still can’t believe it took me more than TWO years to finally pick up my copy of The Darkest Minds. I’ve been wanting to start this series for ages, but somehow I always ended up picking up a different title instead. But no longer. Now I’ve finally read the first book of this series Alexandra Bracken has me hooked. No more escape for the sequels, because I will be reading them VERY soon for another dose of my favorite Psi characters. I can definitely undestand what all the hype is about now… Sure, the plot isn’t all that original with its dystopian world where kids and teenagers develop a ‘superbrain’ and special powers. But it WAS written back in 2012 so I definitely kept that in mind. And more importantly, this story was just way too entertaining to worry about  the originality in the first place. I liked the main characters and their development, although little Zu is probably my absolute favorite. Ruby on the other hand can come over as a bit whiney at points, but I guess she did have some complicated memories to deal with… Another great feature of The Darkest Minds is without doubt the writing style and pace. The prose was so enjoyable to read and the story itself reads like a train. All in all a promising start of what has all the signs of being a great series!

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When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed even though she didn’t realize it at first. She found out soon enough when her parents locked her up in the garage and called the police instead of celebrating Ruby’s birthday with her. Instead, she was sent to the Thurmond camp along with all the other children who survived the mysterious disease and showed signs of having the new frightening abilities they could not control… And life at Thurmond is tough. Ruby is now sixteen and one of the dangerous ones. They put her in the wrong group when she arrived, saving her life at first but putting her in danger if the truth comes out. She has to escape, but that will only be possible with help from the inside…

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Like I said before, I feel really bad about not picking up this series earlier. As I already suspected, I really enjoyed reading The Darkest Minds and I will be reading the sequels (or at least the second book) next month without fail. Both the writing style and character are easy to like and even though the plot might not be all that original, I enjoyed diving into this dystopian world anyway. Recommended for YA dystopian fans!


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WWW Wednesdays #120 – January 18th

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WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I’m currently reading Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell over at RivetedLit, and although I’m not that far into the story so far I’m really enjoying it! It’s only up until the 23rd, so this is my priority read now. I’ve also started Don’t Look Behind You by Mel Sherratt, which is a very entertaining psychological thriller so far. I’ve also made some progress with Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, although I still have a long way to go before I finish it… I guess I’ve been focusing on finishing some ARCs and other pending reads first?

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first book I’ve managed to finish since last week is The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon. I’ve heard a lot of mixed things about this new story and I was actually kind of afraid to pick it up, but I ended up enjoying this story a lot! I loved the characters and the fact that they are not the typical ‘white-American teenagers’; as an immigrant living in Argentina I could really relate to some of their problems. The prose is excellent as well and just the ending deserved an extra 1/2 star to be added to the rating.
* I then read another pending ARC The Thankful by Jamie Campbell. It’s a historical fiction story about the May War of 1940 in the Netherlands, and without doubt an interesting read. The choice to leave many Dutch and German words without translation is without doubt original, although I do think it would have been a lot more difficult to enjoy the story if I wouldn’t have been able to understand those languages myself. The geography can be quite confusing as well, but those are only two minor details in an otherwise interesting description of the May War.
* I then picked up my Netgalley copy of The One Memory Of Flora Banks by Emily Barr straight after receiving it, and I completely agree with all the other raving reviews out there. This book is brilliant! I loved LOVED the main character and the fact that amnesia plays such a big role in the story. Sure, there is a hint of a love triangle and she doesn’t seem to care much about hurting her best friend’s feelings when she kisses the boyfriend. Sure, if you think about the plot critically it’s not exactly all that credible. But to be honest, I didn’t really care. Flora managed to win over my heart from the very first page and I loved both the writing and how Flora managed to do so many things suffering with anterograde amnesia like she does. And that ending! I’m already having a feeling this one will appear on my list of 2017 favorites.
* I then read another graphic novel ARC: It’s All Absolutely Fine by Ruby Elliot. It switches between short essays and illustrations that show the reader Ruby’s experiences living with social anxiety and the daily struggles of life with mental illness. I  enjoyed reading this graphic novel and found it really easy to connect to the little stories. The author shows life as it is without trying to hide the ugly parts, and I appreciated the sincerity of it all.
* The last book I finished is Those Who Lie by Diane Jeffrey, another ARC and quite entertaining psychological thriller. The main character suffers from mild amnesia and has a very messed up past and a history with mental illness and eating disorders; basically the perfect unreliable narrator and an easy victim to anyone who wants to play with her mind. The writing was very enjoyable and the story itself quite intriguing, although I do have to say I kind of already guessed the ending about 60% into the story and it was kind of predictable.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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Next up is probably another Netgalley ARC: Blink by K.L. Slater. Although I have been in the mood for fantasy, so I might pick up either Splintered by A.G. Howard or The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken first. Although if I have to be honest, it will probably be the second that I will end up reading after hearing so many mixed things about the Alice In Wonderland retelling. 😉 My newest TBR jar pick is still The Five Stages Of Andrew Brawley by Shaun David Hutchinson.


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WWW Wednesdays #75 – January 27th

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I’ve started reading Confessions by Kanae Minato earlier this week, and although it’s an intruiging read I’m not sure if I actually like the writing style so far. I’ve also finally picked up my last TBR jar pick, Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch. So far it looks really promising!

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first book I finished was The Death Code by Lindsay Cummings, which means I’ve finished my first series this year! I enjoyed this sequel just as much as the first book and I would really recommend it.
* I then finally picked up I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios, a book I absolutely loved. Kudos to the author for raising awareness to what war veterans are going through and doing that by writing this beautiful story in the process!
* The last book I managed to finish was my pending ARC Eternal War Armies Of Saints by Livio Gambarini. I loved the general plot and worldbuilding behind this story and it was really interesting, but it was quite a slow read and I did have some minor problems with it. More in the review!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I loved the first book in the Veronica Mars series, so I’m probably going to read the sequel Mr. Kiss And Tell by Rob Thomas next. I have also been thinking of finally picking up The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken… Although I might read Defending Jacob by William Landay first. Last but not least, Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider is my new TBR jar pick.

Friday Finds #14 – November 7th

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FRIDAY FINDS is originally featured at Should Be Reading and showcases the most interesting books I’ve encountered during, in this case, the last two weeks and have added to my neverending TBR list on Goodreads. I have been trying to limit new additions in order to downsize my TBR list a bit… Below you can find some of the titles I’ve added anyway:

My finds:

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