In The Afterlight by Alexandra Bracken
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
In the Afterlight is the third and final installment in the Darkest Minds trilogy by Alexandra Bracken. This installment follows Ruby, Liam, Chubs, and the rest of the gang following the climactic scene in the previous book. Everything comes to a head as Ruby, having finally accepted who she is with her powers, risks everything to regain her freedom, and the freedom of every child affected by the IAAN virus.
This must be the year of stellar finales, because this is the second one I've read that has hit all the right notes at the right time, and was generally an excellent book.
I loved seeing Ruby act the way she did in this book, especially when compared to who she was only two books ago. She knew who she was, and she wasn't afraid of her ability anymore, but that didn't mean she was ok with the abilities themselves. It's difficult to separate those kind of things, but she did (finally) and it made her a stronger person.
All the relationships. ALL OF THEM. Were delightful. Whether you were reading a scene with Ruby and Liam, Ruby and Cole, Chubs and Vida, even Ruby and Clancy, were dynamic and thorough looks at the different ways a person can mean to someone.
This book works through the struggles put up through the stellar worldbuilding Bracken has developed, which is not only impressive in its own right, but downright scary, since I felt that the way the government and the country had devolved was something not too far off from what the real world is capable of right now. A place where people can live and love and go about their lives, while consciously ignoring injustices that are literally happening in their backyard right now. Doesn't sound too fictional, does it?
All in all, I loved this installment. Each of these books has a unique personality and identity that totally sets them apart from each other, but also complements each other in a way that a trilogy ought to. I honestly can't tell you which I would save in a fire, because they're all uniquely incredible. The ending may have felt a little rushed, but that also might just be me. I've noticed that after all the buildup of previous books, any ending of a big struggle seems a little bit strange to the point where you don't always believe it. But I'm babbling. On to the next book in my (immortal) TBR shelf.
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