In the Afterlight by Alexandra Bracken

A 60 Second Review by Anne Brees

(This is the third book in The Darkest Minds trilogy. You can find my review of the first book, The Darkest Minds and the second book, Never Fade. Spoilers below.)

★★★★★ (5.00)
Genre – Young Adult Science Fiction

Summary – Ruby can’t look back. Fractured by an 16150831unbearable 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.

Initial Thoughts – I binge read this series in a week. I absolutely loved every single second of it.
Plot – ★★★★★ Bracken is the master of plot twists. I never would have predicted anything that happened throughout the novel.
Characters – ★★★★★ I just love everyone in this series. I even care for some of the villains. (I bet you can guess who…)
Story world – ★★★★★ This book breaks down even more of the story world and gives more details. It gave more information about the parents and the media, which really tied everything together. You also learn more about the scandal of President Gray.
Style – ★★★★★ Bracken’s writing is flawless. What else is there to say?
Closing Thoughts – I just loved this series so much, and I’m terribly sad to see it end. Although, there is a collection of short stories that just might help me through this…
Recommendation – Recommended for someone who wants his or her entire life consumed by a single series.

(summary and cover from GoodReads)
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Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken

A 60 Second Review by Anne Brees

(This is the second book in The Darkest Minds Trilogy. I’ve also reviewed the first book, The Darkest Minds.  Spoilers below.)

★★★★★ (5.00)
Genre – Young Adult Science Fiction

Summary – Ruby never asked for the abilities that almost cost her her life. Now she 16150830must 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?

Initial Thoughts – I love this series so much. I’ve been binge-reading it this week and I have a serious book hangover.
Plot – ★★★★★ This book certainly doesn’t suffer from Second Book Syndrome. It kept me turning the pages for hours and ignoring all of my other responsibilities.
Characters – ★★★★★ There are two major characters added in this story. I was worried that they would ruin the perfect dynamics of the first book, but they only added to them.
Story world – ★★★★★ Bracken has this story world developed very well. This book explored more of the twisting complexities.
Style – ★★★★★  I love Ruby’s voice in this series. It’s hauntingly beautiful.
Closing Thoughts – I have In The Afterlight sitting beside me as I write this. I can’t wait to dive into the last book of this series, even though I’m sad to see it end.
Recommendation – Recommended for lovers of fast action, quick getaways, and lovable characters.

(summary and cover from GoodReads)

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

A 60 Second Review by Anne Brees

★★★★★ (5.00)
Genre – Young Adult Science Fiction10576365

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

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. She is on the run, desperate to find the only safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who have 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 having a life worth living.

Initial Thoughts – I am glad I finally read this book because it was so amazing. It was a whirlwind of action and me sobbing. 
Plot – ★★★★★ I was never bored while reading this book. It never ceased to surprise me.
Characters – ★★★★★ I loved all of these characters so much. I can’t express how much I connected with all of them.
Story world – ★★★★★ I loved the story of what led to the ruin of the United States. It combined many components that I had never thought about before.
Style – ★★★★★ I loved Alexandra Bracken’s style. It was smooth and perfectly paced.
Closing Thoughts – I’m already reading Never Fade. I can’t wait to dive into the rest of the series.
Recommendation – Recommended for those who love dystopians, but not cliches. Also recommended for those that enjoy having their hearts ripped out of their chests.

(summary and cover from GoodReads)

Their Fractured Light by Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner

A 60 Second Review by Anne Brees

(This is the last book in the Starbound trilogy. Here are my reviews of These Broken Stars and This Shattered World.)

★★★★★ (5.00)
Genre – Young Adult Science FictionTheir Fractured Light (Starbound, #3)

Summary – A year ago, Flynn Cormac and Jubilee Chase made the now infamous Avon
Broadcast, calling on the galaxy to witness for their planet, and protect them from destruction. Some say Flynn’s a madman, others whisper about conspiracies. Nobody knows the truth. A year before that, Tarver Merendsen and Lilac LaRoux were rescued from a terrible shipwreck—now, they live a public life in front of the cameras, and a secret life away from the world’s gaze.
Now, in the center of the universe on the planet of Corinth, all four are about to collide with two new players, who will bring the fight against LaRoux Industries to a head. Gideon Marchant is an eighteen-year-old computer hacker—a whiz kid and an urban warrior. He’ll climb, abseil and worm his way past the best security measures to pull off onsite hacks that others don’t dare touch.
Sofia Quinn has a killer smile, and by the time you’re done noticing it, she’s got you offering up your wallet, your car, and anything else she desires. She holds LaRoux Industries responsible for the mysterious death of her father and is out for revenge at any cost.
When a LaRoux Industries security breach interrupts Gideon and Sofia’s separate attempts to infiltrate their headquarters, they’re forced to work together to escape. Each of them has their own reason for wanting to take down LaRoux Industries, and neither trusts the other. But working together might be the best chance they have to expose the secrets LRI is so desperate to hide.

Initial Thoughts – I’m sad to see this series end, because I absolutely loved it so much.
Plot – ★★★★★ The pacing in this novel is perfection. I never wanted to put it down.
Characters – ★★★★★ The characters are by far my favorite part of this novel. I should hate them, a hacker and a con artist. Yet I still love them both. Plus, I absolutely adored it when all the characters from the rest of the series were united.
Story world – ★★★★★ Over the course of the whole series, Kaufman and Spooner have worked hard to establish their story world. The rules and components are clear, which makes the story even more exciting.
Style – ★★★★★  Kaufman and Spooner have the perfect style for this genre. It’s smooth and simple, just right for keeping the plot moving.
Closing Thoughts  – I’m sad to see this series end and that I have to say goodbye to the characters and story world. I hope that these two authors get back together to write another series soon. 

Recommendation – Recommended for those in need of a fast paced scifi with a side of love.

(summary and cover from GoodReads)

This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner

A 60 Second Review by Anne Brees

(This is the second book in the Starbound series. You can find my review of the first book here. Spoilers in the summary below.)

★★★★   (4.25)
Genre – Young Adult Science Fiction

13138734 Summary – Jubilee Chase and Flynn Cormac should never have met.
Lee is captain of the forces sent to Avon to crush the terraformed planet’s rebellious colonists, but she has her own reasons for hating the insurgents.
Rebellion is in Flynn’s blood. Terraforming corporations make their fortune by recruiting colonists to make the inhospitable planets livable, with the promise of a better life for their children. But they never fulfilled their promise on Avon, and decades later, Flynn is leading the rebellion.
Desperate for any advantage in a bloody and unrelentingly war, Flynn does the only thing that makes sense when he and Lee cross paths: he returns to base with her as prisoner. But as his fellow rebels prepare to execute this tough-talking girl with nerves of steel, Flynn makes another choice that will change him forever. He and Lee escape the rebel base together, caught between two sides of a senseless war.

Initial Thoughts –  I absolutely loved the first book, These Broken Stars. This one started out promising, but in the end I was disappointed.
Plot – ★★★☆ The plot started off great, but along the middle it just fell for me. I wasn’t kept on the edge of my seat until the end. It was just missing that little something that makes good books great.
Characters – ★★★★★ Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner have the ability to create wonderful characters. Even though the main characters are both on the opposite sides of the war, I still managed to fall in love and cheer for both of them.
Story world – ★★★★★ It’s clear from this series just how much skill these authors have when it comes to creating haunting science fiction worlds.
Style – ★★★★☆ Both of their styles were smooth and clear, making the complex science fiction ideas simple.
Closing Thoughts – If you enjoyed These Broken Stars, I would recommend that you still read this book. I’m looking forward to reading the third book, Their Fractured Light, soon.

(summary and cover from GoodReads)

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner

A 60 Second Review by Anne Brees

★★★★★ (4.75)
Genre – Young Adult Science Fiction13138635
Summary – Luxury spaceliner Icarus suddenly plummets from hyperspace into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive – alone. Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a cynical war hero. Both journey across the eerie deserted terrain for help. Everything changes when they uncover the truth.
 (Summary from GoodReads)
Initial Thoughts – I’m a bit behind in reading this series, but I’m glad that I’m finally getting to it.
Plot – ★★★★★ This is an amazingly crafted novel. I never would have guessed the ending.
Characters – ★★★★★  I loved where these characters started off and ended up together. I fell in love with both of them.
Story world – ★★★★★ The story world is clearly very developed and look forward to exploring it in the next books.
Style – ★★★★☆  The style of these authors was very smooth and easy to read, but it was just missing a little something for me.
Closing Thoughts – I would definitely recommend this this series to anyone who is a fan of science fiction.

(summary and cover from GoodReads)

Chilling Sci-Fi Playlist

This playlist is perfect for the type of sci-fi that makes you want to hide under your blankets at night.

Chilling Sci-Fi Playlist

  1. The Battle Room by Steve Jablonsky
  2. Prime by Steve Jablonsky
  3. The Countdown by James Newton Howard
  4. Choosing Dauntless by Junkie XL, Ellie Goulding
  5. Watertank by Junkie XL
  6. Snow White by James Newton Howard
  7. Gravity by Steven Price
  8. Brooks Was Here by Thomas Newman, The Hollywood Studio Symphony
  9. Enemy Planet by Steve Jablonsky
  10. You’re Not Getting Our of Here by John Paesano
  11. Tired of Running by John Paesano
  12. Incoming Bombers by James Newton Howard
  13. Katniss’ Nightmare by James Newton Howard
  14. Preparing The Chariots by James Newton Howard
  15. Let’s Start by James Newton Howard

You can find the complete playlist on Spotify.

What book did you read or write while listening to this playlist?