In The Afterlight
(The Darkest Minds #3)
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.
In the Afterlight is the thrilling conclusion to the Darkest Minds trilogy. This dystopian trilogy set after a wide swept pandemic that left all children with strange abilities, classifying them by colour and shipping them to prison camps in an effort control them.
I feel strangely empty after having finished this novel. Sadly, I am more than a little disappointed with how the trilogy ended. It was dull and dragged on, inconsequential arguments and subplot took the majority of the book to resolve. Honestly, I was bored. After having read the second novel and enjoying a fast paced emotionally taxing ride, the third novel was bland in comparison. That is not to say that the novel did not have its bright spots. Luckily all my favourites made an appearance in this novel, Vida, Chubs, Zu and their dynamics with Ruby were always entertaining.
Liam and Ruby’s relationship was on the rocks throughout the whole novel. Leaving me on the edge of my seat, not because I was excitedly cheering them on (hardly), more because the lack of communication between the two grew tiresome. The hidden secrets and Ruby’s constant need to be in control, prove herself and take care of everyone, while understandable, was infuriating at times. Her guilt over Jude was eating away at her, and I cannot begrudge her time to mourn I just wish we had seen Nico’s or Vida’s suffering as well.
I loved Cole. He tried his best to lead their small ragged group while struggling to control his dangerous abilities and internal demons. And while a relationship between him and Ruby might have been a little volatile I cannot say I was not hoping for an Orange and Red power couple. Ruby and him just seem to understand each other better, and even though I liked Cole taking on a larger role within the novel it felt a little sudden for a finale instalment.
Overall I enjoyed the novel, I attribute this more to it being part of a well-crafted series than the book itself. I would have enjoyed a little more action but I appreciate the more realistic, as realistic as you can get when writing about teenagers with superpowers, approach the author took in bringing her uprising to a close.