More Twists than the Snake River

Never Fade - Alexandra Bracken

Possible minor spoilers (It’s almost impossible to say anything about the book without, my apologies if anything I say is a spoilery)

Alexandra Bracken is a freaking tease. Yep, I said it I have a love/hate thing going on with her in my head right now. Not once but three times she made me believe that we were seeing a certain character again and then my hopes were dashed. But I’ll admit the second time I didn’t care quite as much because of who it really was but still.

Everyone is just making the choices that think will help them get by.

Ruby has definitely lived by that motto. She has changed a lot in the months since the first book, Ruby has done things she is not proud of for the Children’s League and she can’t change that. She is a leader of her team and has gone through some hard times since parting with her friends from Black Beauty. Even though all the kids on her team love Kate, Ruby can’t seem to let any of them get close to her and she refuses to get close to Kate. She doesn’t want them to know anything about her past, she doesn’t want to feel the same pain she felt when she lost Liam, but when a member of her team is in danger Ruby is still bound and determined to protect him.

As it turns out Ruby needs to break away from an op with the endangered Jude to run off and find Liam. Another member of the team, Lida, a snarky blue haired girl joins in the fun and they are off in search of the boy Ruby made forget her. Ruby runs into some old friends and a few enemies along the way. I will say that I was happy to see a few people from her past show up. There are so many struggles and dark times but thankfully Bracken adds some humor into the mix as well.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” he said, “apparently the middle of me sentence interrupted the beginning of yours. Do continue.”

Things I liked include but are not limited to: The addition of a few new characters Cole, Jude, Vida and Nico demonstrate how the Children’s League is set up. Kate’s backstory made her a bit more likeable if it’s true that is. Bringing back a few members of Ruby’s past to help her in her mission to find Liam and a flash drive with the cause of disease that killed or mutated all the children in the United States.

Ruby is truly a flawed person who is struggling with the monster she is or can be. She wants so much to be with the people she loves but at the same time she wants to save all the kids in all the camps and is scared by how far she might be willing to go to achieve those goals and who she will hurt along the way. I liked how the romance aspect of the book is resolving itself (I want to say more but I won’t). Liam, I always love Liam, his fierce loyalty and the way he always tries to protect all the kids. Even when he is upset his underlying core values shine through.

Some of the things I had issues with - Too many twists. I like the idea of twisting the story but Bracken had so many twists that well, I don’t take anything in the story as truth. There is conspiracy on top of conspiracy throughout the story and so I’m never surprised when someone switches sides or whatever I thought was going on is totally different than it seemed. Actually I’m just waiting for it because I’m sure that is what will happen next. Don’t get me wrong, they are well thought out and executed brilliantly there are just too many. At this point I won’t be surprised if all of this is just a hallucination that Clancy is behind. The only other issue I had was I wanted to have a few more questions answered before tossing in more mysteries. There will be a lot to wrap up in the last book.

Overall the plot of the story is well thought out and Bracken again tugged on my heart strings and made me tear up more than once in the story. The world she has created is extremely harsh and dark. There is plenty of action and danger to go around and the ending was pretty intense. But, our crew trudges on and continues to have hope for a better future, possibly one they can share together.

“Life isn’t fair,” I said, “It’s taken me awhile to get that. It’s always going to disappoint you in some way or another. You’ll make plans and it will push you in another direction. You will love people and they will be taken away no matter how hard you fight to keep them. You’ll try for something and won’t get it. You don’t have to find meaning in it, you don’t have to try to change things. You just have to accept the things that are out of your hands and try to take care of yourself. That’s your job.”