Here’s the final part of my trilogy wrap-up, at least for now. Who knows? If/when I read more awesome trilogies–or just plain series–in the coming months, maybe I’ll expand upon this series.
Best imaginary friends-turned real life maybe more than friends. A tough female reporter with a wise-cracking group of diverse buddies. Magic and sorcery and family secrets. A tiny English town that’s about to be the scene of some serious trouble. These are a few of my favorite things! (Sorry, it was never going to rhyme.)
In the first book, Kami discovers that Jared–the boy who has been her imaginary friend since she was little–is actually a real person, and that the link between them was forged as a result of a magic spell. Jared is a member of the powerful Lynburn family, who once ruled the town from their manor house and are looking to reclaim their old heritage. In the final book, Kami and her friends must stop some of the Lynburns from destroying the town and everyone in it.
I was invested in this story and its amazing cast of characters from the very beginning, but by the time I started Unmade, I was obsessed. Like, I bought the book and did not pick it up until the weekend, when I could sit down and read the whole thing without interruptions obsessed.
Read for: The characters. Seriously, you will feel something for every person in this story–whether it’s love or loathing or smoldering desire. Also, the humor, the ties between magic and ancestry, and the romance(s). Good God, the romance.
This trilogy makes you think it’s a YA dystopian superhero novel about a group of kids with special powers roaming the country in search of safety from a government that wants to incarcerate them. You’re engrossed in the story of Ruby, a prison/concentration camp runaway who believes herself to be a monster because of her powers, and who finds some small redemption in helping other kids like herself. You’re laughing over the interactions between Ruby and her friends, and squealing over the budding romance between Ruby and another outcast.
Then the story yanks it all out from under you–not just with death, and war, and destruction, but with its subtle look at how much damage society can do when it treats members of its population as less than everyone else.
I realize that the dystopian trend has kind of passed, but The Darkest Minds has depth that so many other series lack. It develops the current US politics in a thorough, though not overwhelming way, and it even mentions how other countries have tried to step in and help. (Which is a thing I always wonder when I read dystopian or post-apocalpytic fiction. Like, is the rest of the world in shambles, or is it just us?)
In the Afterlight answers the vast majority of reader questions, but not all of them. It leaves some holes in the story unfilled, because real life is often messy and unfulfilling, and you can’t always undo the damage you’ve done. Ruby and her friends feel painfully real, in spite of their unreal abilities, and their doubts and fears never feel forced. You’ll spend the whole trilogy hoping that they will get their old lives back, even if those old lives aren’t the same. You’ll root for them, even when you hate the decisions they make.
If you’re looking for painstakingly developed YA, you should definitely check out these books.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my recommendations as much as I’ve enjoyed providing them. If there are any series or trilogies that you’d recommend to me, let me know!