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Don’t miss the thrilling novella that connects the last two novels in the New York Times best-selling Darkest Minds trilogy.

Sam didn’t think things could get worse at Thurmond 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 his everything to save her.

Includes a bonus preview chapter from the final Darkest Minds novel, In the Afterlight.

110 pages, ebook

First published September 2, 2014

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About the author

Alexandra Bracken

37 books24.2k followers
Hi! I'm Alex and I write books. Please note that I don't respond to messages here on GoodReads. Please send me a note on twitter or IG @alexbracken. xx A

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5 stars
2,812 (52%)
4 stars
1,736 (32%)
3 stars
648 (12%)
2 stars
123 (2%)
1 star
39 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 757 reviews
Profile Image for Alexandra Bracken.
Author 37 books24.2k followers
August 25, 2014
After writing this, Sam became one of my absolute favorite characters in the series. I hope you all love her as much as I do!
Profile Image for lauren ❀.
278 reviews414 followers
April 30, 2017


WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED!?!?!?! I can't believe this, my heart is once again shredded into a thousand pieces because of a novella that is written by Bracken. I have no words. I have no words to explain how I feel. This book...this book ruined me. I love it so much and I don't know what to do. I can't believe I was going to skip reading this novella and other (In Time). I can't stop rereading the ending and like the other novella, it's going to take a while to get over this and forget. Even if you don't read novellas you HAVE to read these.
Profile Image for Alex Glass.
214 reviews3 followers
March 1, 2016
*unintelligeble screaming*
*incessant crying*
*a tiny, misplaced shred of hope, quickly and heartlessly crushed*

Thank you for reading this summary of the hour it took me to read this.


*continued crying*
Profile Image for Jessica.
259 reviews3,576 followers
April 6, 2016

I better get some closure in the next book... or else.
Profile Image for ambsreads.
656 reviews1,403 followers
July 18, 2016
Oh my God. I feel fooled. I feel so hurt. Are these novellas written to rip my heart out? A full review for this because my heart will never repair from Sam and Lucas - who I need to feature in the finale or else I will drive to the authors house (over an ocean) to demand answers. I need answers and happy endings. This is ramble, but all I can say is you can not skip the novellas when reading this series. They're heartbreaking, but oh so amazing.

Also can anyone explain to me what's so dangerous about Greens? They've got photographic memories? Super spooky and dangerous! Don't make me go against them in a test! I understand Oranges (mind control), Reds (fire) and to a level the Blues (telekinesis). But, the Greens are in no way threatening.
Profile Image for Dana.
440 reviews290 followers
November 23, 2015

God Damn, these novellas are even more grim than the novels. Once again Bracken spins an unputdownable tale of suspense, fervor and bitter reality. Impossible to pick which of the two novellas I liked better. Admittedly this one was even darker than the last but in my opinion it is just as amazing as “In Time”.

I know some people have issue with how dark and dreary these novellas are, but personally I'm impressed with the author's ballsiness to take these stories into such dark places with no apologies.

Buy, Borrow or Bin Verdict: Buy (although I normally find multiple novellas nudged in between a series to be a blatant cash grab, the high quality of these stories coupled with the low price make these a nice addition for fans looking to get a fix between books)
Profile Image for mich.
647 reviews230 followers
November 23, 2014
"You can't do anything. You can't. That's the point of this place."

Jesus Christ.

I'm amazed at how much emotion -- how much intensity -- Bracken manages to pack into her novellas. This one, just like In Time, was incredibly well done. They are both, in my opinion, much better than the actual books in this series (although I haven't read the last one yet).

The connection I had to the characters was strong, impressive for such short works. I wish I could feel for the main character of the series even an ounce of what I feel for these side characters. (Dammit, why does Ruby have to suck so much?)

Anyway, these are very short reads, but worth it, completely worth it. Every page mattered, every moment felt important. SO GOOD.

Read them.
Profile Image for Ferdy.
944 reviews1,097 followers
October 6, 2014
3.5 stars - Spoilers

-Liked Sam's character in this, she was much better than Ruby from the main novels. I was rooting for Sam throughout, I wanted her to get out of the camp/Thurmond and beat the people who had done her wrong. Whereas with Ruby, I never really cared enough about her to want her to get a happy ending of any sort. Sam was far more of a heroine than whiny Ruby.

-Wasn't that impressed with Lucas, I never thought he felt for Sam what she felt for him. When Sam was getting attacked by that pervert, it was clear he would have done nothing to stop it unless he was instructed to do so, he would have let her be humiliated and abused. He grew on me somewhat towards the end when he tried to save Sam, but it wasn't enough for me to like him.

-I had to roll my eyes at Sam worrying about Lucas and his pain when she was faced with a psycho pervert. Really? All she could think about was how tough things were for Sam when she was the one in danger. It was rather ridiculous.

-Tildon was a right bastard, I was disappointed nothing bad happened to him. I'm hoping he gets his just desserts in the third novel, he's too much of an evil character to not die a painful, violent death.

-It was frustrating to read most of the adult characters being so cold and heartless. I highly doubt that that many of them would feel so scared and disgusted by a bunch of kids, there would have been much more of them who showed compassion and tried to help, especially when most of them weren't there out of choice.

-There were some parts that were really slow, whenever some action would take off, Lucas or Sam would start monologuing about their life history or 'deep' feelings. I wanted less monologuing and more story, action and dialogue.

-The ending was so depressing but in a good way, I wasn't that bothered about Lucas but I was sad for Sam not getting some happiness. She'd already had a rubbish childhood with awful parents, and then the rest of her life was spent in a miserable prison camp and she lost her best friend too, she deserved some good in her life. If she doesn't get that in the third book I'll be pissed.

-I didn't like all the mentions of god and prayers. It wasn't written in a preachy way but it still felt preachy.

-I enjoyed the two novellas better than the actual main novels, probably because the main characters in them have been more endearing and likeable than Ruby.

-Looking forward to reading the third one just to see what happens with Sam and some of the side characters in the series.
Profile Image for Lexie.
181 reviews134 followers
January 15, 2018
Wow. This was amazing! I loved this novella, it was so suspenseful and fast paced. I loved Sam and oh my gosh I loved Lucas! I could relate to Lucas so much! Him always getting lost in his head and imagination and writing stories all the time, that is so like me! Sam and Lucas' friendship was so cute! Their whole backstory was so sweet I loved it so much. And then their reunion, when their both like "Oh my God he/she remembers!" Gosh the feels.

Warning this review contains mild spoilers, but nothing really serious, especially if you are logical and realise that the events in this have to match up to In the Afterlight (unlike me who got shocked, haha, silly me I should have realised).

I'm still in shock by the ending. How could it end like that?! Oh my God. The story leads you along, thinking it's gonna have a good, happy ending, but then it's just like "Nope!" And crushes it! Oh Alexandra Bracken is so cruel. Haha, joking, it was an awesome story though. And I guess I should've realised that would happen. This takes place in between Never Fade and In the Afterlight, in In the Afterlight Sam is still at the camp so I should've realised their escape attempt wouldn't work. But Lucas! Oh my God! He... They got him! Oh God that last chapter in his POV killed me!

"I try to slip away, wrap myself in layers of memories and stories and songs, but every time I try to go the Trainer is there, and he cuts at each one with his blade. He drags me out. He digs into my skin."

"It does not stop hurting until I stop trying."

"They show me photos, a smiling man, a smiling woman, but I can't remember their names and it hurts too bad to think. A piece of bread. Yes they are no one. A warm cup of water. You are no one. I am a shadow. I am weak. They will fix me.

"There is a girl with sunshine hair who turns my world to shreds. There is a glow around her like the sky at noon, but it narrows, the image, it shrinks, and the pain eases its grip into numb nothing. It shrinks and shrinks again until it becomes a pinprick of light in the dark. A spark that fades to nothing at all."

Oh my God so heart wrenching! Oh man why can't I get the third novella anywhere?! It's about Sam again and Mia, Lucas' sister and I want to find out what happens to Lucas! Does he come back?! Oh my God he has to! Oh I want to find out now!

I enjoyed this whole novella immensely. It was great being in Sam and Lucas' POV, different POV's from the main trilogy. I like stories with two dual POV's, the views of the two different characters is so interesting and great to read. As I said before I loved Lucas' character so much! I just felt such a kinship to him he is so much like me. Sam's character was great too, love her determination and resourcefulness, and their friendship is so beautiful! It was interesting getting a real look at the Camps, and I loved the whole concept. The brainwashed Reds and all. And Sam and Lucas' journey through this! Ah the feels I tell you! I just loved this whole story from beginning to end! It was pretty short, but unbelievably powerful and memorable, and you still get incredibly attached to Sam and Lucas. Oh God the ending killed me!

Anyway, Sparks Rise definitely gets a 10/10. I loved every page of it and Sam and Lucas' backstory was so amazing and nostalgic. I loved the characters, loved the story, it was written beautifully and the pace was perfect. Plus the ending leaves you just begging to find out what will happen next, because it's certainly not the end of this story. Oh Lucas! As soon as I can somehow get my hands on the third novella, I'm doing so! I'm coming for you!
Profile Image for Bd Myriam.
42 reviews15 followers
September 21, 2014
After i read it:

OMG! OMG OMG OMG!!! MY FEELS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

How can i feel so much for characters i read about in like, 80 pages!! seriously! OMG i am such a mess right now!
Alexandra Bracken has the gift of making you care, even about characters you never thought you'd read about again.

Why did i put myself through all this pain!

I'm not going to lie, i kind of didn't like Sam when i read The Darkest Minds, i don't know, she was just the "friend" who got mad at Ruby for not trying to get her ass kicked... But now, she's this great girl who's been through so much, and never gave up! And i have fallen in love with her character after reading the first 3 pages of the novella.
And Lucas is just... I don't know i loved reading the POV of a red for a change, it gives a nice twist to the story. And when he told the story about he's parents

But you now what Alexandra, you'd better give me closure about those two in "In The Afterlight" 'cause that is not the end for them, it can't be! I won't accept it!

And i forgot to say that I LOVED THIS NOVELLA SOOOOO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Before reading it:
I literally can't wait to read this novella! In Time was such an amazing story and i am absolutely sure this one will be awesome!!

Soooo excited!!!!!!!

Profile Image for Vy.
500 reviews31 followers
March 5, 2015
5 STARS, 5 PAINFUL stars.

The best novella I have read thus far.

I believe that it takes a certain amount of talent to be able to write a novella that is enthralling because there isn't a lot of room to really get into full details, but "Sparks Rise" is a novella done right. I've always wanted to learn more about Sam, and I am so glad that I was able to sneak a peak into her life after Ruby. Despite being a short story, I felt so engross into this world-one that I wanted to run away from-and felt so much compassion for characters I barely knew.

There is so much depression, helplessness, and hopelessness bottled up inside this story that it pulled me into the story and compelled me to stay with Sam and Lucas despite the fact that a part of me wanted to get out and realize that this isn't real...it's not happening. Because the way the author tells the story-every detail wiped clean of euphemism-doesn't make this feel like a work of fiction at all, and that is talent at its finest.

This novella is absolutely beautiful-beautifully written, beautifully thought provoking, and in typical Alexandra Bracken style...beautifully heartbreaking.

PS. I hope we get more of Sam and Lucas' story in In the Afterlight *fingers crossed*

Profile Image for Lara.
169 reviews62 followers
March 28, 2019
I loved Sam all the way from The Darkest Minds and always hated that she appeared on so few spaces. This is a really cute and fluffy, but also painful novella about Sam and Lucas. It's full of emotion and I loved it- I think I might have found myself new favorites xd
Profile Image for laura.
76 reviews14 followers
May 10, 2017
“he has gone to a place i cannot find him. i cannot sing him home.”

wow. i don't think i'll ever be able to read something written by alexandra bracken without having my heart broken into a billion pieces.

i could not stop reading it. just like "in time", sparks rise feels a lot more than just a novella. it was beautifully written and so goddamn painful— sam and lucas' relationship was so genuine; i desperately wanted them to be safe, to be okay and to be happy.

i'm just relieved that we're getting "beyond the night" because their story simply can't end like that.
Profile Image for Teryna90.
200 reviews49 followers
December 11, 2014
He is the best thing I have ever seen in my life. The worst thing.

sadness photo: tumblr_l8y9isVgl01qzidas.gif
Me after reading Sparks Rise

After finishing Never Fade I thought to myself well before you start book three why don't you read the novella first? It's about SAM and there is love and hope... this tender and pure love with her old childhood friend, Lucas, that just stole my heart. They both stole my heart, made it feel warm and then shattered it.

How could a short story make you smile, cry, laugh, dream, scream, dispair, wonder, hope, give up, fight, love the way this one did????

Yes... love... hope... and tears. This book with its 100 pages just broke my heart in so many pieces that when I ended it I couldn't stop all the tears forcing their way out.

The sparks that came out of me while reading this book could have lighted up a whole city during a black out.

I can't belive I just read this... Alexandra Bracken has a way of writing that just captures you and makes you dream. Just like our Lucas who was dreaming for all the others that couldn't anymore...

I will dream for them, if I have to.

Please please please let there be Sam and Lucas in book three. Please. Otherwise my heart is going to meltdown and never regain its original form :((((
Profile Image for Christina Morden (ClaryNathanWill).
735 reviews84 followers
April 4, 2015
That is one of the most sickening things I have ever read.

I feel disgusted. I hate Thurmond so much. I only hope for good things for the future.

I'm so scared for In The Afterlight. After the endings of the other two and no epilogue! The short stories have both been devastating.

This is the dystopian world that sickens me the most. More than any other.
Profile Image for Jaclyn.
478 reviews314 followers
October 29, 2014
Profile Image for Jenny.
188 reviews1,315 followers
September 7, 2014
This is even worse than In Time. Alexandra Bracken knows how to write great short stories.
Profile Image for Louisa.
6,795 reviews31 followers
March 3, 2015
Oh, really great story, though that ending! So heart-breaking! But I think Sam was starting to remember Ruby! And yeah, I can't wait to read more!
Profile Image for Robin (Bridge Four).
1,588 reviews1,468 followers
October 29, 2014
I’m not sure that Alexandra Bracken is capable of writing a happy story. Sam and Lucas’s story is just as tragic as Zu’s novella. I was so hopeful for them and then I was again left crestfallen with how incredibly horrible this future is.

Sam was Ruby’s best friend in the camp until she accidentally erased her memories like her parents. She has an empty gap and thinks that maybe Ruby is the reason it is there but just can’t seem to put it all together.
I don’t understand how someone I barely knew can bring tears to the surface faster than thinking about my parents, my cousins, the other girls I’ve lived with for the last seven years. It’s like sitting in front of a nearly complete puzzle that’s missing only one piece—but that piece, the one that completes the image, is just...gone. Not in the box.
Somehow, I lost it.

With ruby believe to be dead and gone Sam really has no one.

Things in the camp have become even worse, if that was possible. Everything is falling apart and now that the girls are older a predator seems to be among them. Tildon is beyond despicable and the apathy of all the other Psi’s is truly despicable. There is only one ray of hope in the entire place and that is Lucas. The Red that is hiding he is unchanged.

Lucas and Sam share a past childhood together and the memories of that have kept each of them safe in some way. The games they played together as children are easily remembered.
“Red,” I say, trying to hide the flush of shame. “Comes with the territory. Megafreak.”
Sam pulls her face back, her eyes hard. “Who called you that?”
“No one. Everyone.” I smile, recognizing her indignation all too well. “What are you gonna do about it, Sammy?”
She looks down, her own small smile touched with sadness. “Let the air out of their bike tires. Set off fireworks under their window. Hit them with snowballs walking home from school.”
“My champion,” I say. “My hero.”

A new hope burns within them to escape together before something truly awful happens to Sam.

I want to tell you this is a happy story but it isn’t. It had moments of true hope in it but at the end I almost feel hollowed out by it. I really hope that this isn’t the end of Sam and Lucus’s story. I REALLY hope there is something more for them in ‘In The Afterlight’.
Profile Image for Anna.
224 reviews158 followers
January 8, 2015
Esta reseña contendrá pinceladas d SPOILERS, pero es q necesito desahogarme.
Odio a la autora, la odio con toda mi alma, por crear algo q me hace sentir tanto y luego arrebatármelo como si nada. Con este libro he sufrido insta-love. Insta-love hacia Lucas, hacia su historia, hacia su pasado con Sammy. He querido q fuera el protagonista d una historia, el protagonista q consigue llegar hasta el final y tener un final feliz. Pero después d mi trauma con su otra novella In Time he sufrido cada página q leía. Este final la verdad es q no lo esperaba, me daba miedo otro desenlace, pero creo q incluso éste ha sido peor. Una cosa q me maravilla d la autora es la facilidad con la q me hace encariñarme con los personajes. A veces no t hacen sentir nada ni en un millón d páginas, pero con ella abren la boca para decir "hola" y ya los quiero. Y en estos momentos la odio por ello.
No sé qué esperar de In The Afterlight. ¿Puedo permitirme el lujo d tener esperanza?
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