In the Afterlight by Alexandra Bracken
Published by: Disney-Hyperion on October 28th, 2014
Series: The Darkest Minds Book 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.
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.
I hate to admit it, but In the Afterlight was a pretty disappointing read for me. I enjoyed the first two books in the series, and gave them both 4 stars, but I was never really desperate to get my hands on the next one the way I am with some of my favorite books. Then I found out that they are currently filming the movie adaptation of the first book, and I decided that I needed to finish the trilogy, so I picked up the third book a few days ago. And it’s safe to say that I didn’t really like it.
The characters were fine, for the most part. I liked Ruby enough; I didn’t love her, and I didn’t hate her either. I honestly didn’t like Liam very much; I found him to be really cheesy and annoying, and I didn’t like him and Ruby together. He didn’t sound like a seventeen-year-old at all, and I cringed every time he called her darlin. I liked Zu, and I loved Chubs and Vida, though. I really wanted some more information about them towards the end, because I really enjoyed their characters. I had really mixed feelings about Cole. He was kind of an asshole, and really condescending towards Liam, but then again, I didn’t really like Liam, so it didn’t matter to me that much.
I feel like with Clancy, Alexandra Bracken was trying to make him a character kind of like the Darkling from the Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo. A villain who we are supposed to sympathize with, especially once we learn about his background. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out very well for me. I honestly didn’t care about Clancy at all. Even when I was supposed to hate him, I didn’t, because I literally had no opinion about him. He was just useless to me.
The biggest problem I had with this book, though, was the pacing, which was so freaking slow. The first 2 books were quite slow in the beginning as well, but then they picked up a lot in the end and got really good. This wasn’t the case for In the Afterlight. The “climax” scenes were so boring to me and barely made any sense half the time, and I was honestly just counting down the pages until I was finished with the book.
I also feel like the conclusion really had no closure. I was expecting a big showdown with President Gray, and we honestly didn’t get it. After the first 500 pages being super slow, the final moments happened so quickly that it just felt way too rushed to be authentic and meaningful. Alexandra Bracken also included characters from the first book, like Sam, that I guess we were supposed to remember and have a connection with, but I could barely even remember her purpose.
That being said, Alexandra Bracken really is a good writer. Everything flows really well, and the dialogue is pretty natural for the most part. Her prose isn’t the most lyrical, but it’s still pretty, and the prologue was really impressive, with what I thought was her best writing to date. The idea of this trilogy is honestly so fascinating to me, and I really wanted to like the final book more, but I couldn’t.
I am really looking forward to the movie, though. Ever since I read the first book back in November, I was always thinking about how well this would translate to the screen. Amandla Stenberg has been cast as Ruby, and I really love them (Amandla identifies by they/them pronouns), so I am hoping they do a good job with that.
All in all, I wasn’t a fan of In the Afterlight. It was really slow, I didn’t really feel any connection to the characters, and the conclusion felt rushed. I am glad I read this series, because I still like the first two books, but it’s not one that I would ever pick up again in the future. And that’s all for this review! I’ll see you next time.