Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken | Book Review


  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
  • Release date: October 15, 2013
  • Series/stand-alone: The Darkest Minds, Book 2
  • Number of pages: 507
  • Format: Paperback
  • Rating: 4 cookies
  • Swoon spoon: Shovelful after shovelful (75-100%)

  • Summary
Ruby never asked for the abilities that almost cost her her life. Now she must call upon them on a daily basis, leading dangerous missions to bring down a corrupt government and breaking into the minds of her enemies. Other kids in the Children’s League call Ruby “Leader”, but she knows what she really is: a monster. 

When Ruby is entrusted with an explosive secret, she must embark on her most dangerous mission yet: leaving the Children’s League behind. Crucial information about the disease that killed most of America’s children—and turned Ruby and the others who lived into feared and hated outcasts—has survived every attempt to destroy it. But the truth is only saved in one place: a flashdrive in the hands of Liam Stewart, the boy Ruby once believed was her future—and who now wouldn’t recognize her. 

As Ruby sets out across a desperate, lawless country to find Liam—and answers about the catastrophe that has ripped both her life and America apart—she is torn between old friends and the promise she made to serve the League. Ruby will do anything to protect the people she loves. But what if winning the war means losing herself? 

  • Thoughts

Holy crap, this book was good.

It might have started off a little confusing but man, did it rocket only upwards. It was kind of a slow ascent for me but it just kept going upwards all the way until the end. 

If you haven't read The Darkest Minds, please turn back and return when you're through with that because there will be some spoilers here!

The first thought I've had when I opened the book was "When is Liam returning?". Oh my goodness, I semi-committed a book reader's mortal sin. I was more than a hundred pages in when I started flipping furiously page after page, scanning for Liam's dialogue or something. I had enough restraint to stop and close the page when my eyes landed on where he's first going to appear again.

Ruby's training from the League only served to make her more badass in my eyes. She already has the power to melt your brain, but then added with ninja training skills and she's a total assassin. In book one, she was this nobody and was just short of being a weakling. Fast-forward to book two's ending and you'd be surprised at how much she's grown and become a leader.

The story plots itself around this flashdrive that holds the key to everything. And Liam has it. Now, isn't that wonderful? Ruby sets out to find him along with Vida and Jude under a certain Cole's confidential op. Vida came off as really mean and snarky and I instantly had this hate for her brewing inside me the moment she stepped off the pages of the book. But then she turned it all around and ended up being one of my favorite characters. Way to go, Alexandra! Raised also under the League's wing is Jude, who I could totally imagine as this gangly not-really-teenager who's trying to be a tough guy. He's the one who brings pure innocence in the book and he'll always have a place in my heart. 

The twists and turns form the from the mission spring out and this leads to them finding out and meeting new people and reuniting with old ones, which both has me gritting my teeth and feeling elated. The way the story has been nailed onto the setting only made the book's winter that much harsher, people willing to survive that much crazier, and the characters' drive much more fueled.

It's no secret that Liam's going to end up back in the story no matter what happened in book one. And there's this one scene that just feels like it's been materilized into this blade that sliced cleanly through my heart. That one cut through deep. Books and moments like these that make you feel something are the best kind of books.

Not only did the installment contain one heart-wrenching scene. The last part just threw a bomb right at my face and I didn't see that coming. Add that to the contents of the flashdrive and Alexandra Bracken just plants a nuclear bomb under your nose.


Wednesday, 8 April 2015

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken | Book Review


  • Publisher: Disney Hyperion
  • Release date: December 18, 2012
  • Series/stand-alone: The Darkest Minds, Book 1
  • Number of pages: 488
  • Format: Paperback
  • Source: Bought
  • Rating : 4 cookies
  • Swoon spoon: Scoop of I-scream (50-75%)

  • Summary
        When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control. 

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.

When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.

When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.

  • Thoughts
This book I think I bought on impulse. It was a few weeks after that I was sifting through my bookshelves when I saw this wrapped in plastic, tucked away in a corner. I actually thought that someone left it for me as a gift because I've forgotten all about it. It didn't even seem like something I'd pick up from the bookstore, much less buy it, because the cover terrifies me. Add the title to that kind of image and you'd think that by touching it, evil spirits would come out of no where. Or am I just that weird?

    But now I believe that fate has brought us together. I've seen a lot of people give this book high ratings and so, I decided to give it a chance of course, because who wouldn't when it seems like your paths have been purposefully twined together by the stars, right? Thank goodness I did. It's true what they say: Never judge a book by it's cover. No matter how creepy it looks.

     The story starts out with the lead, Ruby, imprisoned in a camp along with a chunk of America's surviving children to be "rehabilitated". A disease spread, killing most of the children and leaving those alive with certain abilities. Now, adults believe that they have the power to destroy everything. The story occurs in a time when the world is in chaos--everything's overpriced, schools are shut down, most people ransack stores and steal what they can to live. It's just pure survival. Like the apocalypse type but with children as zombies and instead of running from then, people try to catch them. 

      Soon, Ruby with the help of a certain League, breaks out of camp but then she runs of and meets a group of kids. Together they brave driving around in a beat-up black van and dodging a lot, and I mean a LOT of different groups who are after kids like them for their own purposes--either to exploit their abilities, turn them over for a few dollars, or just shoot them in the head. 

      Every bit of the story is action-packed and fast-paced. The characters were constantly on the run, giving it a survival-of-the-fittest kind of vibe. I couldn't even pinpoint one part where they were just at a stand-still, even when they were standing still. Something seemed to be happening every second and I commend Alexandra Bracken for writing such an addictive story which kept me on edge. I was sucked into the book, almost to the point of slamming it on my face just to get inside it.

    What's interesting is that the most powerful ones in the book were the ladies (Girl Power!). Besides Ruby (who is a survivor to the core, if a little too naive), there's Zu. Zu is the most badass little girl I've encountered in any book. I loved the scenes where she was involved. She was descrived to look so small and frail and delicate, but when she lets loose of her ability, it's utterly electrifying. She's got me hooked!

    Speaking of being hooked... Hook, line, and sinker, and Liam. He's so adorable and boyish and awkward in the right moments that I want to squeeze the life out of him because he's just too cute. I love that he's not the kind that's too cool for school because I just want to slap those kinds of characters, unless they are really too cool and  it just comes off as really, really cool without even trying. The way Liam stutters and runs out of things to say makes me want to shake him so hard and scream, "Stop being so adorable!". Seriously, the boy's a valid excuse for anybody to go crazy.

     The excitement in this book is palpable, you could almost taste it. You could smell the smoke drifting out of the book, you could hear cars turning over and screeching in between the pages, you could feel your mind being tampered and messed with, you could feel Alexandra compelling you to read on and on and on.

     Now I just wonder if Alexandra Bracken is an Orange and has found a way to transcribe her abilities on paper to compel every reader. Because for sure, she's got me running to the closest bookstore for the next installment.