In Time | Sparks Rise | Beyond the Night

The Darkest Minds Novellas

Title: In Time | Sparks Rise | Beyond the Night

Author: Alexandra Bracken

Series: The Darkest Minds

Publisher: Harper Collins

Release Date: July 16th 2013 | September 2nd 2014 | January 1st 2018

In Time
Gabe’s life has been devastated in the wake of the economic crash. The only option left for someone like him to escape his tragic past is to leave his small town behind and to attempt to become a skiptracer. This already almost-impossible task is made all the more difficult by his first “score,” a young girl who won’t speak, but who changes his life in ways he could never imagine.

Sparks Rise
Sam didn’t think things could get worse at Thurmand rehabilitation camp. Then the Reds arrive. Everyone assumed the kids with firepower had been killed years ago. Instead they were taken away, brainwashed, and returned as terrifyingly effective guards. To her horror, Sam recognizes one of them: Lucas, the one spark of light in Sam’s dark childhood. Lucas has a deadly secret—he beat the brutal training that turned his fellow Reds into mindless drones. When Sam defends herself against an attack by a vile PSF guard and faces a harrowing punishment, Lucas must risk everything to save her.

Beyond the Night
The government-run “rehabilitation camps” have been shut down, but kids with Psi powers are anything but free. Sam would rather be on her own than put in the care of a foster family and given the “cure”—a dangerous procedure that unclaimed kids across the country are being forced to undergo. But there’s more at stake than just her own safety. Sam once made someone a promise, and the time has come to fulfil it. Now that she’s out of her camp, Mia only has one thought in her head: finding Lucas, her beloved older brother.

– Blurb courtesy of

“They want you to think that darkness or evil is only something that gets inflicted on you by the outside world, but I know better, and I think the freak does, too. Sometimes the darkness lives inside you, and sometimes it wins.”
– In Time

With no other way to survive in the wake of the economic crash IAAN brought to the United States Gabe’s only option is to become a skiptracer, tracking down the children on the run and returning them to the camps. Gabe isn’t one of the skiptracers who hunt children for the thrill of it, he’s just someone down on his luck who’s trying to survive. I loved getting to know his character and I thought it was really interesting seeing how IAAN affected people who weren’t children, just ordinary people who’ve still had their lives irreversibly changed.

In order to access better resources Gabe needs to hand in a child, and he hits the jackpot when he finds Zu. There was an interesting bond that developed between Zu and Gabe. In Time is only told from Gabe’s POV, so we don’t get any insight into what Zu is thinking, but the longer the two spend together the harder it is for Gabe to keep thinking of Zu as a ‘thing’ and the longer he puts off turning her in for the reward money.

“He has gone to a place I cannot find him.
I cannot sing him home.”
– Sparks Rise

Life at Thurmond hasn’t changed for Sam, not since one of her bunkmates was taken away in the night, but then the Reds are brought back and among the blank brainwashed faces Sam spots someone she used to know. One of the main things I enjoyed about Sparks Rise was seeing through Sam’s eyes, rather than just learning about her from Ruby’s perspective. She still stands up to the guards but this time we see how scared she is as well as simply witnessing the outspoken confidence Ruby saw.

Sparks Rise is told from two POVs, Sam’s and Lucas’s. Unlike the other Reds Lucas managed to come out the other side with his memories intact, and he walked into Thurmond willingly looking for his sister only to find his childhood best friend. Lucas is a brilliant character, one of my favourites from this series, his open and caring personality at odd with his Red abilities. Based on the fact that this novella was set in Thurmond I knew it wouldn’t have a happy ending, but the way it ended hurt worse than I was prepared for.

“One day we will ignite and create a blaze that no one can put out, ignore, hurt. We will move forward as one, and in time, rise like sparks beyond the night.”
– Beyond the Night

After being freed from the camp Mia is one of the unclaimed, no one has come for her so she’s remained a ward of the government. She believes her brother is out there waiting for her, but when Sam reunites the two siblings even Mia can’t get through to Lucas. I loved getting to know Mia after hearing about her from Lucas and Sam in Sparks Rise. She’s a kick ass character who’s still strong, brave and confident despite everything she faced in the camp.

“You want to know the real reason they never let us touch or talk to each other if they could help it? It made us strong. If you have people who love you, you can fall back on them when you’re afraid.”
– Beyond the Night

Unlike Mia what Sam went through in Thurmond has broken part of her. She managed to save Lucas from being taken with the other Reds when the camps were liberated but she doesn’t know how to help him. There’s a lot of doubt and guilt Sam is dealing with, and it’s such a change from the character we were first introduced to in The Darkest Minds.

Beyond the Night acts almost as an epilogue for the main trilogy, told from Mia’s, Lucas’s sister, and Sam’s POVs. This story had a more hopeful ending than In Time or Sparks Rise, but it’s an open ending because it’s obvious there’s still so much work that needs to be done in this world Alexandra Bracken has built.

In Time:

Four Stars

Sparks Rise:

Four Stars

Beyond the Night:

Five Stars

These three novellas fill in a lot of the gaps the original trilogy left behind; what happened to Zu in between when she left East River in The Darkest Minds and when Ruby found her again in In the Afterlight? What happened to the Reds when they were taken from the camps and what happened in Thurmond after Ruby escaped? These are dark stories, and while they’re not necessary to understand the main trilogy I’d highly recommend them because they offer so much in terms of character development and world building.

What did you think of The Darkest Minds novellas? Were they favourites of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.

9 thoughts on “In Time | Sparks Rise | Beyond the Night

  1. The novellas are my favorites from the whole Darkest Minds trilogy. It really ties everything together and I love all of them in their own way. It’s just so fascinating. My personal favorite is Sparks Rise because of the emotions of Sam and Lucas but I loved Beyond the Night.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes!! Their story was the best and it shows how strong of a writer that Alexandra Bracken is that novellas are just as powerful as the actual book.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Are these published as actual physical books or did you read ebooks for these? Oh, and does the author plan on releasing more books within this trilogy, or was Darkest Minds the last “extension”? Glad to see how much you enjoyed these stories though. Awesome reviews, Beth!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I read the eBooks, they’ve all been published in one collection you can get as a physical book, but the first time I read this series was before the collection was released so I already had them on my Kindle as individual books.
      I think based on the way The Darkest Legacy ended there’s going to be more books. All the last books have ended in a way that means you can go back to the world and it doesn’t feel tacked on.
      Thanks so much. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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