DISCLAIMER – THIS DISCUSSION CONTAINS SPOILERS!
In the Afterlight was packed with emotions, leaving only a small space for the humour and sweet moments which where flowing from every page of The Darkest Minds. Despite this, it was still an enjoyable read – even though I missed the lightness – and it was sad, from a readers point of view to see all the loveable character in such fragile states.
“Are you sure that this isn’t a nightmare?” he asked quietly. “And that we won’t just wake up?” I stared ahead at the road, the way the dust blowing in from the desert covered it with a faint golden sheen even as grey clouds began to gather over us. “Yes,” I said after some time. Because dreamers always wake up and leave their monsters behind.
Ruby and Cole spent a lot of time together in this final instalment and sparing the fact that it caused Liam lots of hurt, I think they worked really well together. Ruby understands why Cole feels the need to supress the truth about his identity as a Red and she values his choice not to face his fear. Meanwhile, Cole understands that Ruby is indeed traumatised by the camp, Jude’s death, everything that has happened so far which leaves her feeling overwhelmed, withdrawn and sharp. Honestly, there were times where I would have liked to have seen Ruby and Cole together, rather than Liam and Ruby – I think they complement each other well.
“They don’t burn, do they? Not like us.”
Ruby and Liam’s relationship has many cracks within which causes a lot of arguments which is frustrating and upset to read about. As a result of Ruby’s choice to take away his memories Liam no longer trusts Ruby which causes Ruby to withdraw which then causes Liam to withdraw and so on. There were many scenes where they were avoiding each other or Liam was trying but Ruby wasn’t, but then the next scene they were together? It just didn’t feel right to me, which is a shame because I love Liam and I love Ruby and usually I love them together, but they just didn’t gel for me in this one. I would have been happy to see them as friends and opening up to each other but instead they were a couple who can’t talk and comfort each other the way Ruby an Cole, Vida and Ruby or even Vida and Zu can. They did have their sweet moments, and I was glad they were able to escape the terrible world they live in, but I would have just liked to see a little more commumication between the two of them as they try to mend what they once had.
“The you that you were then, who you are now, who you’ll be,” he began quietly, as if sensing my thoughts, “I love you. With my whole heart. My whole life, however long I’m lucky enough to get, nothing will change for me.”
We finally get to meet Clancy’s mother in this instalment and we find out that Clancy has supressed her mind and she can no longer talk or form sentences. This is solved by Ruby as she fixes her mind and learns more about the control she possess as an orange. I was really weary of Lilian Grey and I found her to be clouded by her love for her son, leaving me to wonder if she’ll help the kids or Clancy. Although, as we continued reading we find out she shoots Clancy – not fatal – and does end up offering to provide operations for children who want them.
Clancy. This character doesn’t actually frustrate me that much, yes he does wrongn and plays the villain but I do find him interesting to read about. I think his view and actions – like using Ruby to kill Cole – is wrong, but I really like to read about all the children’s views on their powers and it’s good to get a whole picture on how the gift has made some weak, manipulative and strong, and Clancy brings that input along. I’m not too sure how I feel about his ending, I get that he’s reformed and some see it as morally right for him to be changed in that way, but he doesn’t really suffer for anything he’s done, taking his power away made him weaker, but to take his memory away, he doesn’t pay for any or the deaths or horrors he caused. Also, will that affect the relationship he had with the characters like it did for Liam, will he still care for Nico like Nico cares for him? Will he still hate his mother? Will he still want to gain Ruby’s trust and seek revenge from the staff in the camps but not understand why? I wanted just a little bit more to allow us to really understand how this will affect him in relation to the others around him.
“Now isn’t the time to change yourself to fit into the world,” Clancy said his voice raw with whatever thoughts were stroming beneath his skin. “You should be changing the world to accept you. To let you exist as you are, without being cut open and damaged.”
“Why do you have to take every good thing we try to give you and break it into pieces?” Nico said, “You let them turn you into this…”
“This is who I am,” Clancy snapped. “I won’t let them change me. I won’t let them touch me. Not again.”
It was really nice to see Ruby finally come to terms with Nico and accept that it was not his fault. It was also comforting and sweet to read about them talking about Jude and his dream for the future which I believe helped both characters in the healing progress.
I absolutely love Ruby and Vida together, I love the strong bond they have and how they always turn to eachother when they need a partner. The scene with Vida crying and opening up about how much she misses Jude and how worried she is for Cate was so sad but I’m glad Vida let her more human side show. It also forced Ruby to become more engaged with her friends once again.
Zu’s back! I was so happy to see her and find out where she’s been and what she’s up to. I love the fact that she finally spoke! (with the encouragement of super stubborn and badass Vida) I love how Zu understood that Ruby was slipping away and the scene where Vida and Zu were dying their hair was really nice. It’s hard to believe sometimes that Zu is only 12 and has gone through all of that at such a young age.
“You are important. You deserve to speak up and have people shut the hell up and listen to you.”
Chubs and Vida! It was so obvious that they were going to be together when they came back from their mission and I love it! They’re so awkward and sweet together and it made be so happy for chubs and Vida because they both deserve to be happy! I couldn’t help but laugh at the shelf building scene – “Oh God,” he groans. “She’s going to kill me . . . actually kill me.” – poor chubs!
“Wow . . . I mean, wow. I think my brain is going start leaking out my ears,” Liam said [ . . .] “I’m so proud of you Chubsie, but I’m so confused, but I’m proud, but I think I need to lie down.”
“What?” Chubs demanded. “it’s a . . . it’s a perfectly normal human response to – to stressors. And it’s winter, you know and when you’re sleeping in a car or a tent it can be freezing . . . actually you know what? It’s none of your business.”
So while Liam and Cole are away, we find out that Cole dies. I wasn’t as sad as I thought I would be, despite loving Cole. I don’t know, it’s weird because I was annoyed at the fact that Liam and Cole had spent so much time arguing that Cold never really got the support he needed from Liam as he came to discover his Red abilities. I would have liked to see them solve their petty arguments but there, unfortunately, was no time for that. Do I think that Cold deserved to die? No. but it didn’t have the emotional impact I expected because I was so annoyed with Liam and Cole’s relationship.
The circle completes its cycle when Ruby went back to her camp. The fact that she walked back in there stronger and braver was just so cool and great to see. I loved how to fixed Sam and just gave constant sass to the officers who wronged her. The only thing I didn’t like about this was the fact that we spent the whole book planning to get the kids out of Ruby’s old camp but they we didn’t get to see any of the action because she was being tortured and by the time she was rescued it was over. I was really worried about Ruby in this scene and I’m happy she got to walk out there with freedom awaiting her. Then she was reunited with her grandmother, fixed her family and was looking towards a future where her kind will finally be accepted which is fantastic.
“It rained the day they brought us to Thurmond.
And it rained the day I walked out.”
Well that’s all my thoughts and feels on In the Afterlight. I wasn’t my favouote Darkest Minds book but I still enjoyed it. ★ ★ ★ ★
Have you read it? Let me know what you thought in the comments below.
Little Fantasy Land.