By Breia Brissey
Updated May 21, 2014 at 05:36 PM EDT
Into The Afterlight

In the Afterlight

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The third and final book in the Darkest Mind trilogy, In the Afterlight, doesn’t hit shelves until October. (Who do I have to bribe to get an early copy?) But the good news is we’ve got an exclusive first look at the cover and an interview with author Alexandra Bracken today! If you’re a fan of the series, you know that each title builds off the previous one. So for those of you keeping track, the series tag is: The Darkest Minds Never Fade in the Afterlight. Check out our chat with Bracken after the jump.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What do you think of the cover?

ALEXANDRA BRACKEN: I love it more and more each time I see it, if you can believe it. Truly, madly, deeply. The texture, the color, the chains—everything. I’m a natural-born worrier, so I went into the cover process for In the Afterlight nervous that it’d be hard, or somehow impossible, to live up to the first two covers, both of which are so fantastic. Totally baseless! Not only did they manage to make it click with the others, it has its own totally unique look.

I think this goes without saying, but the crescent moon symbol becomes hugely important in the finale, specifically in what it represents to the kids.

Credit: Lewis Jacobs/NBC

What can you tease about In the Afterlight?

I could go so many directions with this! My lips are sealed for the most part, but I’ll say that the events at the end of Never Fade have very much thrown Ruby off kilter, and she’s forced to really confront who she is and what she wants for herself. There’s a considerable amount of guilt and darkness to work through before she can step up and be the leader the other kids are looking to her to be. I’ll also confirm that yes, you do find out exactly what caused their mutation in the first place. I’m hoping readers will be as surprised as the characters are.

Where does book three pick up at?

The story picks up about two weeks after the ending of Never Fade, with our intrepid cast of heroes attempting to figure out how to get out of the recently destroyed Los Angeles. The big problem is the presence of the military, which is working overtime to not only find this remnant group of rebels, but also prevent anyone from entering or exiting the city.

Anything else you want to add about this book of the series?

Only that I hope In the Afterlight leaves readers as emotionally exhausted as I was writing it—just kidding! But I will totally own up to crying at the end…and, okay, a few other times as well. I’ve had the most incredible time connecting with readers over the characters, and I’m both nervous and excited for them to see what fate has in store for Ruby and the gang. I genuinely feel like we’ve all been on a journey together, and now that we’ve come to the end, I’m finding it hard to say goodbye.

What else are you working on right now?

Speaking of having a hard time saying goodbye, I do have a little extra project in the works for fans of the Darkest Minds series. I’ll have more details on that soon. Then it’s on to Passenger, the first in a two book series that I’ve been pitching as a time-travel romance that turns into a treasure hunt through the centuries. It’s quite the departure from the dark world of the Darkest Minds series, but I’ve loved dusting off my history degree and starting out on a whole new adventure.

In the Afterlight

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