Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken

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The basics

Title: Never Fade

Author:

Series: The Darkest Minds #2

- The Darkest Minds (December 2012)
- Never Fade (October 2013)
- In the Afterlight (December 2014)

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Goodreads Summary:

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

In short

Ruby is now part of the Children’s League, as a team leader to a mixture of Psi kids – Vida, Nico and Jules. She is send on a mission to recover a captured agent, who ends up being Liam’s brother, Cole. Liam now has the valuable information containing the cause of the Psi abilities, which he took by mistake, along with Cole’s jacket. Cole sends Ruby to find Liam, promising to help free the inmates in Thurmond in return. Ruby and Jude make a run for it when on a mission, outing Rob on the way. They begin their journey to find Liam, joined on the way by Vida and Chubs (yay! chubs makes a return!). They find him in a concentration camp of sorts, which is lorded over by Knox, who calls himself the Slip Kid (who he obviously isn’t). After defeating Knox and exposing him for the fraud that he is, they raid the nearby airport for supplies and meds for Liam, who is sick with pneumonia. While there, they are ambushed and make a run for it. Ruby is captured by Rob. She breaks into his head, making him see ghosts of the kids he’s killed, which results in him crashing the car and dying. Ruby is rescued by Vida, Jude, Chubs and Liam (who is now fine). Some part of Liam recognizes and loves Ruby still, but he still cant remember her or anything that happened in their past. He confronts her about his memories, and somehow, by accident, Ruby manages to return his erased memories to him. Their means of communication with Cate & Cole has been compromised, and they go to meet the imposter in a cafe, who turns out to be Clancy. They work with him to break into League HQ to free the kids after the agents revolted, only to find that Clancy had lied, and it was the good guys who had gone against the system. Clancy has his own agenda, to find and destroy papers containing information on Project Snowfall, which his Mum has been working on, at Leda Corp. An assassination attempt is made on President Gray, and he orders an air strike on LA, the seat of the rebels. Jude dies, but Clancy survives, and confesses that Project Snowfall was about finding the sure for the Psi disease, but since he’s now destroyed the papers, it cant be used any longer. Unfortunately for him, Ruby had salvaged the papers before they could be completely destroyed, and she also has the flash drive which contains the information. The League decides to move near Sacramento and work from there.

What went down

  • Ruby, along with a rescue party is sent to rescue a member of the League who’s been taken prisoner by National Guard servicemen. During the rescue, Rob (Cate’s boyfriend) appears to make an attempt on Ruby and Vida’s life, by setting off a bomb right below where they  were supposed to be standing, but Ruby dismisses the idea as the wanderings of her wild imagination. They rescue the prisoner, who Ruby finds out is Liam’s older brother, Cole.
  • Upon returning to League HQ, Jude relates to Ruby that he and Blake (another Psy kid) heard Rob and his friends conspiring against the Psi children in the League, speaking of killing them, in a bid to get Allan (the League’s head) ‘back on track’.
  • When Ruby is asked to search Cole’s mind to find out what happened, she lies to Allan, because she sees that whatever information Cole was carrying is now with Liam, which went to him when he took Cole’s jacket mistakenly on their rendezvous.
  • Blake is sent on an Op even though he’s not ready for it, and dies. Nico and Jude discover the security footage of the Op, which shows how Jarvin (one of the handlers, and Rob’s friend) deliberately shot Blake in his back.
  • Cole confronts Ruby about lying to Allan about Liam. When she admits it, he asks her to go in search of Liam and get the information he has –  a flash drive that contains information on the cause of the Psi disease, which he discovered while working undercover at Leda Corp laboratories.
  • Soon after, Ruby and Jude are sent on a mission along with Rob, even though Jude is not ready to be activated. They fear it’s another ploy to kill the Psi kids. While on the mission, Ruby and Jude make a break for it.
  • They reach Liam’s house, only to see that it’s abandoned. Vida catches up with them, having been tracking them all along, and proposes to stay with them. When they hear an intruder come up, they hide, but it turns out to be Chubs, who returned to find and help Liam and Ruby. They find out that Vida was sent by Cate and Cole to join Ruby, and is in communication with Cate via Chatter.
  • When gang reaches Nashville, they find it closed due to a flood warning. Chuds ignores it and tries to crash his way in, resulting in a fallout, and Ruby, Vida and Jude go their own way. Ruby comes right back, though, and patches things up with him. In the meanwhile, Vida and Jude have gotten captured by the ‘Slip Kid’, who is not Clancy, but a teenage despot called Knox. He puts them all, except Vida, to work in the White Tent (sick bay). Vida, he keeps for himself, to entertain.
  • At the sick tent, they find Liam, delirious with pneumonia, and close to death. When Vida and Rose volunteer to get medicines for him, Knox puts them both to a test to see if they’re worthy. He pits a Red against them, one who was part of Project Jamboree and is conditioned to respond to signals and attack accordingly.
  • Ruby breaks into his mind, but before she can do anything, Knox kills him. She turns her anger on him, and compels him to leave the compound, never to return. Meanwhile, Jude finds the pendrive that they were searching for in Liam’s jacket.
  • They raid the airport, where Red Cross supplies from all over the world have been hoarded, in an attempt to portray an image that no one out there was willing to help. Unfortunately, they’re (Ruby, etc.) are found out and have to make a run for it. In the melee, Ruby is separated from the others and captured by Rob.
  • He drives off with her in his car. Ruby gets into his head and shows him ghosts of the kids he killed. Driven out of his mind, he crashes the car and dies. Soon after, the others, Vida, Jude, Chubs and Liam find her and get her out.
  • They stop at a campsite to recuperate, where Ruby tells Liam that she, Vida and Jude are League. He blows a gasket and refuses to travel with them any further than the state lines. It’s also obvious that Ruby didn’t do a good job of wiping his memory, since some things that he shouldn’t remember slip out, but always out of sequence.
  • Liam runs away, and when they catch up with him, he tells Ruby that he is in love with her, every second of every day, but he doesn’t know why, because he’s just met her, and it doesn’t make sense. Ruby manages (inadvertently) to restore his memories, because she hadn’t done a good job on them in the first place, and they were lurking around in Liam’s head, hidden.
  • They make they’re way to California, but are soon directed to go to Colorado via chatter. They realise that the chatter link has been compromised and it’s someone else sending them instructions. At the meet up location in Colorado, a cafe, they meet Clancy.
  • Clancy wants something from them, but isn’t yet ready to reveal what it is. He knew Nico from when he was in Thurmond, and it was he who helped him hack into their chatter connection. He says that several agents in the League had revolted, killing Alban and seizing control. They had to get to them before they moved the kids. Cate and Cole were either dead or captured.
  • They get to HQ and break into the dorms to free the kids, but Nico says that it was Cate and Cole who staged the revolt, and they were coming to get them in a few hours. That’s when Ruby realises that Clancy had wanted to get into HQ for another reason and had simply used them as a means to an end.
  • Ruby finds Clancy in Alban’s office, going through some files. When he sees her, he tries to destroy them. Before she can get to him, they’re both discovered by League agents and attacked by White Noise. Cole rescues them, revealing in the process that he’s a Red. He asks Ruby to keep it a secret from everyone, including Liam.
  • While going through the papers Clancy had been reading, Ruby finds out that he was after his mother, a researcher at Leda Corp, who was working on Project Snowfall, to find the cause of Psi.
  • After all the excitement dies down, the League members decide to move to the old League headquarters near Sacramento and go forward from there.
  • As they’re watching the Peace Summit on TV, a small kid shoots President Gray, and soon after, they’re all blanketed in darkness – a blackout. A few minutes later, soldiers start bombing the city, and the underground headquarters starts to get buried. They all get out, but in the confusion, they miss Jude, and realise his absence only later. Liam and Chubs go back in, and find him buried beneath the debris.

How did it end?

The President releases a statement saying the Federal Colition and Children’s League were together training PSi children to become soldiers, proof of which was in the assassination attempt on himself. Clancy makes it out (miracle of miracles) and tells them that the assassination attempt was a set up, so that he’d have a reason to bomb Los Angeles, the center of the rebellion.

Clancy’s mother had been working to find a cure for Psi, not the cause. He thinks that’s lost as well, but Ruby had saved the papers he had tried to burn, so the research is not lost.

anything else

Chatter: A device used by agents to relay digital messages, photos, and short videos on an un-hackable network the Greens had created.

IAAN: Idiopathic Adolescent Acute Neurodegeneration. A condition that manifests itself at the onset of adolescence. It gives children superpowers. Children with IAAN are classified into five categories based on their powers.

Red: Fire

Orange: Mind Control

Yellow: Electricity

Blue: Telekinesis

Green: Intelligence

Calm Control: White noise set at a frequency that only Psi kids can hear. It is extremely painful, and used at Thurmond to keep the kids in line.

Children’s League: An organisation dedicated to helping children affected by the government’s new laws. Oh, and they also train Psi kids to be used as their weapons.

Skip Tracers: Bounty hunters who track down kids who’ve run away from centres.

West Coast/Federal Coalition: The section of the government that opposes the Gray presidency.

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