Title: The Darkest Legacy
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Series: The Darkest Minds, #4
Publisher: Quercus Children’s Books
Release Date: August 2nd 2018
Five years after the destruction of the so-called rehabilitation camps that imprisoned her and countless other Psi kids, seventeen-year-old Suzume “Zu” Kimura has assumed the role of spokesperson for the interim government, fighting for the rights of Psi kids against a growing tide of misinformation and prejudice. But when she is accused of committing a horrifying act, she is forced to go on the run once more in order to stay alive.
Determined to clear her name, Zu finds herself in an uncomfortable alliance with Roman and Priyanka, two mysterious Psi who could either help her prove her innocence or betray her before she gets the chance. But as they travel in search of safety and answers, and Zu grows closer to the people she knows she shouldn’t trust, they uncover even darker things roiling beneath the veneer of the country’s recovery. With her future – and the future of all Psi – on the line, Zu must use her powerful voice to fight back against forces that seek to drive the Psi into the shadows and save the friends who were once her protectors.
From #1 New York Times best-selling author Alexandra Bracken comes a harrowing story of resilience, resistance, and reckoning that will thrill loyal fans and new readers alike.
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This review may contain spoilers for previous book(s) in the series.
My Thoughts On…
It’s been five years since Ruby walked out of Thurmond, since the cruel rehabilitation camps were shut down, but fight isn’t over. Zu has become a spokesperson for the government, giving talks around the country and representing the Psi children and their interests, but after using her gift to defend herself when she’s attacked she’s framed as a terrorist and forced on the run with the two strangers who saved her life.
The ending of In the Afterlight was an open one. It wasn’t happy because even though the children were finally freed from the camps it was obvious there was a lot of work that still had to be done to intricate those with gifts back into society. The Darkest Legacy goes into more detail about the work Chubs and Zu have been doing since the end of the original trilogy, but it builds the story on the idea that just because people have realised the camps weren’t the right way it doesn’t mean they aren’t still trying to surprise the Psi children.
Together with Roman and Priyanka Zu tried to find a safe haven where she can work to clear her name, but she’s unsure whether she can trust them when it’s obvious they have their own agenda. Off the grid and out of reach of the government for the first time in five years Zu realises there’s a lot she was kept in the dark about, and that once again her countries future is being built on secrets, lies and the blood of Psi children.
The Darkest Legacy opens in the middle of the story, we see Zu again washing blood off her hands and clothes and backtrack to see what events happened to lead her where she is. From there the plot doesn’t slow down. It seems like there’s always something else she’s discovering which throws Zu off the path she’s believed in since the camps were closed. While The Darkest Legacy is a sequel to the original trilogy it feels like a new book at the same time, giving us a different fight for Zu to face.
Zu spent most of the original trilogy without a voice and at the beginning of The Darkest Legacy she’s the governments voice, repeating their rules to the Psi, but the longer she spends on the run the more she finds her own voice, one she wants to use to help the Psi for real this time. Even after everything she’s been through Zu trusts the government, she believes in what she and Chubs are fighting for, but the longer she spends outside of their control the more she sees the corruption she’s been unknowingly helping to cover up.
The Darkest Legacy is told solely from Zu’s POV, and it stayed true to her development in the original series while at the same time building almost a new character. I thought the representation of her PTSD was well done, how her time in the camps and how what happened to Gabe still has such a strong impact on her.
With the introduction of Roman and Priya Alexandra Bracken opens up a new world for the Psi children and The Darkest Minds series. Neither were in camps themselves but they have scars of their own from growing up with abilities. They’re clearly keeping secrets from Zu, they have their own reasons for wanting to help her, but when they finally open up and reveal their backstory you can’t help but feel heartbroken for them.
There some great diverse representation of LGBT+ characters in this book. I loved the friendship that quickly developed between Zu, Roman and Priya but I wasn’t as much of a fan of the relationship between Zu and Roman. They worked well together but I didn’t think they had the spark or connection that Ruby and Liam did in the original trilogy.
Although we get cameos from the characters in the original trilogy The Darkest Legacy was very much Zu’s story, and I think the way Alexandra Bracken kept Ruby, Liam, Chubs and Vida relevant to this story while not allowing them to overshadow Zu was really well done. In the five years since the camps shut down things have changed, and the different priorities Ruby, Liam, Chubs and Zu have driven them apart. There’s still that bond between them, but it’s been stretched to breaking point by physical distance and too many secrets.
A lot of the world building for this book had already been developed, but that didn’t stop Alexandra Bracken expanding on it and taking the story in new directions which opened up a whole new aspect never discovered in the original trilogy. With the camps closed and the Psi children out in the open it’s created a lot more groups fighting for or against them, or hoping to use them for their own ends. I still have a lot of questions, I can’t wait to see where things go with both Mercer’s Blue Star organisation and the Psion Ring, but I know by the end of this new series Alexandra Bracken will have answered them all.
The Darkest Minds is one of my favourite series, and The Darkest Legacy is an incredible sequel which stays true to the original trilogy while creating a new battle for the characters to face. I did feel the ending was a little rushed, but overall this was a solid first book which wonderfully developed Zu’s character and left me excited to see where she goes next.
What did you think of The Darkest Legacy? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.
All quotes have been taken from an ARC and may differ in the final publication.