Wednesday, November 26, 2014

In the Afterlight by Alexandra Bracken [Joint Review!]

4 out of 5 Robots!

In the After Light by Alexandra Bracken
Series: The Darkest Minds, #3
Genre: Young Adult, Scifi, Dystopia
Release: October 28, 2014
Hardcover:  535 Pages
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
My Copy: Purchased
Reviewer: Julia & Shannon

Book Summary:
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.

(Courtesy of the Publisher)

Joint Review with Julia & Shannon

1. In the Afterlight is the long conclusion to The Dark Minds trilogy- how do you feel about it? 

Shannon: I am pretty satisfied by this series.  I'm not exactly sad it is over, although I will miss some of the characters.  But I thought that given how bloated this genre is, The Dark Minds trilogy stands out.  I like that the characters all have their strengths and their flaws and are fairly three dimensional.  I thought the main plot was interesting and it was well written. My only small complaint is these books do feel long.  I mean, they are long, but they also feel long. 
Julia: I enjoyed the story- stellar plot. It really tied up all the loose ends and I didn't have any questions at the end of In the Afterlight. That being said, it is way too long. It did not need to be 535 pages to conclude everything. I LOVE long books, but I don't love when long books feel long. I was ready for this book to be over halfway through.

2. SO many characters! Good. Bad. Who was your favorite good guy? Your favorite bad guy?
Shannon:  Honestly, I could not keep everyone straight outside of the main characters.  Or more accurately, I could not keep all the different groups straight.  But my favorite good guy character is and will always be Chubs.  He gets a bad rap for being the "worrying granny" of the group, but he has no problem laying down the truth when needed.  He is the glue that holds everyone together and really, nothing would get done without him.  I don't know if I had a favorite bad guy.  There is the obvious choice of Clancy, but something about the whole Clancy-mind control thing gets really tiresome to me. 
Julia: There are so many three dimensional brilliant characters, but Chubs is my favorite. He stays true to who he is always yet you see his character grow throughout the three novels. His worry-wart personality is endearing. And I love Clancy- perfect villain. He's relatively predictable, but I kept rooting for him to change his ways. He does get a great ending, peace!

3. Relationships. There are always a relationship or two... discuss.
Shannon: Lets start with Liam and Ruby.  I have also liked them together from day one and I appreciated the hurdles they had to overcome.  Although Liam is a little TOO nice when it comes to Ruby because she does not make things easy for him.  But overall, I love them together.  Or maybe I just love Liam?  There is also Liam and his brother Cole.  I got tired of them bickering ALL. THE. TIME.  I wanted them to get on the same page a lot sooner than they did.  But I also liked how they kind of represented the yin and yang of the Stewart family.  I also liked Cole and Ruby's relationship.  I liked the mutual respect they had for each other without it being romantic.  THANK YOU ALEXANDRA BRACKEN for not making this a love triangle!!  Lastly, there was a nice relationship that develops.  I don't know want to say who it is but I called it from the beginning.  

Julia: Well, as thankful as I am that there wasn't a love triangle, I wasn't very satisfied with relationships In the Afterlight. Liam and Ruby's relationship grows, but also takes a back burner and the book was SO LONG that I should have felt more emotional about their coupledom. I was rooting for them in The Darkest Minds and Never Fade, but I didn't feel anything this time. I didn't even care if they "made it." I understood Cole/Liam's sibling relationship, so that was refreshing. But Cole and Ruby's relationship is the most satisfying because there is a mutual respect and friendship and absolutely no sexual tension. THAT is refreshing. Chubs does find himself in a strange relationship, yet it makes perfect sense and that is fun to discover. 

4. Favorite/Least favorite thing about In the Afterlight?
Shannon:  My favorite thing I think would be the resolution for some of the characters.  Bracken spends a good amount of time working through various issues for some of her characters and I liked that.  My least favorite thing is Clancy.  I don't know why, but I just was not into his mind control at all.
Julia: Well, this is a sorta spoiler. My least favorite thing - A character dies, and I don't buy it. We weren't there. It wasn't a big enough send off. Give me a break, this dude is big and bad and would have put up more of a fight!

5. Did Bracken do a good job tying up loose ends and concluding the series?
Shannon:  I would say I am satisfied.  As I mentioned, Bracken brings everyone together and spends time resolving issues.  I thought the ending came up a little abruptly and panned out a little too easy, but I also was fairly happy with where everyone ends up.  Bracken does a nice job of tying up the loose strings here.
Julia: She sure did! She better have anyway, after 535 pages. Sorry, I know I've mentioned that already. The ending is well thought out and I love how much time she put into each character.

6. Rate the series and tell me who you're recommending it to? Also, will previous fans love this one too?
Shannon:  I would give it 4.5 stars.  It is a series I would recommend and I think this last book holds up well with the first two.  I would recommend this to dystopian fans and "superpower"/X-man fans.  I also think readers of the series will like this book, although they may not like one or two developments.
Julia: 4 out of 5 stars. Super unique series in a genre that has become over populated. The characters are refreshing and the author knows how to pull at your heart strings. I'm pretty sure any young adult enthusiast could get into this one, especially dystopian junkies. Previous fans will love it.

The Darkest Minds Trilogy in the order they should be read: 
1.The Darkest Minds - Review
2.  Never Fade - Review
3. In the Afterlight


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