Alexandra Bracken’s Darkest Minds trilogy concluded with last fall’s In the Afterlight. But the story for Ruby & Co. isn’t quite over.
EW has exclusively learned that Hyperion will release Through the Dark, a collection of three novellas set in the Darkest Minds world. Through the Dark (out Oct. 6) will feature In Time and Sparks Rise, available in print for the first time. The book will also include a brand-new novella titled Beyond the Night. So for those of you keeping track, these novellas form a sentence like the original trilogy does: In Time Sparks Rise Beyond the Night. The collection will also feature a sneak peek at Passenger, the first novel in Bracken’s newest two-book series.
EW also has a first look at the Passenger cover (click “enlarge” up top to see the full image) with an exclusive excerpt below. Read on for the book’s official description and our chat with Bracken about her latest projects.
Here’s the official description of Passenger:
Violin prodigy Etta Spencer had big plans for her future, but a tragic accident has put her once-bright career at risk. Closely tied to her musical skill, however, is a mysterious power that she doesn’t even know she has. When her two talents collide during a stressful performance, Etta is drawn back hundreds of years through time. Etta wakes, confused and terrified, in 1776, in the midst of a fierce battle. Nicholas Carter, the handsome young prize master of a privateering ship, has been hired to retrieve Etta and deliver her unharmed to the Ironwoods, a powerful family in the Colonies—the very same one that orchestrated her jump back, and one Nicholas himself has mysterious ties to. But discovering she can time travel is nothing compared to the shock of discovering the true reason the Ironwoods have snared her in their web. Another traveler has stolen an object of untold value from them and, if Etta can find it, they will return her to her own time. Out of options, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the mysterious traveler. But as they draw closer to each other and the end of their search, the true nature of the object, and the dangerous game the Ironwoods are playing, comes to light—threatening to separate her not only from Nicholas, but her path home forever.
EW: What can you tell fans about Through the Dark?
ALEXANDRA BRACKEN: I’m incredibly excited that these stories will finally be available in hardcover print format so readers without e-readers will be able to access them and have another hefty—this will be pretty close to 500 pages—beautiful hardcover to add to their collection. Each of these stories is told from perspectives outside of Ruby’s main story line narration, and they’re meant to expand upon different aspects of the story’s world. While you don’t have to read them to follow the main story line of the novels, they do tie into them.
More specifically, what can you tease about the newest novella, Beyond the Night?
Beyond the Night is a continuation of sorts of Sparks Rise, which is told partly from Sam’s perspective. I loved revisiting her in Sparks Rise and showing what happened to the friend Ruby left behind when she escaped Thurmond in The Darkest Minds. Maybe “loved” isn’t the right word considering the horrible things that happen to her, but I have a real soft spot for the character and how strong she is. Lucas, the other narrator from Sparks Rise is out of commission in this novella, so Sam shares alternating chapters with someone new. The story is set several weeks after the end of the third book, In the Afterlight, and touches upon the uncertainty and disorganization that comes after the end of a monumental shift of power and before a new, stable regime takes its place. There’s a new terrifying danger that the kids are facing, and you will get to see some characters from the main story…but I won’t say who!
What can you tease about Passenger?
I’ve been pitching it to people as National Treasure meets Outlander. There’s a very swoony—if I do say so myself—romance between Etta and Nicholas. Seeing as she’s from the 21st century, and he’s from the 18th, they’re both extremely surprised by how well they work together and understand each other’s hearts and minds considering how different their backgrounds are. They’re drawn together to find an object of unbelievable power that’s been stolen by another time traveler with only a set of clues as their guide. It takes them across all centuries and continents, all the while trying to figure out if there can be a future for them. It’s also a story about ambition, the price of it, how far people are willing to go to achieve what they desire, and living with the consequences and sacrifices of those choices.
What was the inspiration behind Passenger?
This is definitely a case of me writing the exact book I really wanted to read that I couldn’t find out there—a story that combined history, romance, fantasy, and adventure. I actually had the first idea kernel before I started writing The Darkest Minds series, but it took a long time to cook the story, so to speak. A few weeks after I turned in In the Afterlight, I had a lightning bolt idea about how to fix the world building problem that had kept me from writing it initially, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Is there anything else you’re working on?
I just finished working on a retelling of Star Wars: A New Hope for younger readers that I’m incredibly excited about. As someone who grew up with a Star Wars collector father and spent the ages of 8 to 13 reading Star Wars novels almost exclusively, this has been a huge amazing experience for me…. I jokingly call mine The Star Wars Breakfast Club because it’s split up into three point-of-view sections—Leia, Han, and Luke—and plays with the labels others have been quick to place on them and their struggle to prove to both themselves and the galaxy they’re more than what others would have them to be. You can catch The Princess, the Scoundrel and the Farmboy out later this fall.