In the Afterlight: Launch Recap and Why I Love this Series

This week was pretty exciting for me as a reader for a couple reasons (one which I won’t talk about here is that I received an advanced copy of a book I’m super excited about). The main reason for all of this excitement is that it was the release week for In the Afterlight by Alexandra Bracken.

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On Tuesday night Nicole and I headed over to Books of Wonder to attend the launch party for In the Afterlight. (We were both so excited we planned our schedules so we could leave work early to arrive in time to get good seats!)

The event itself was a delight. Alex and her editor Emily Meehan talked a bit about the series before fielding questions from the audience. At the event we learned a bit about Alex’s writing process (packing everything into the final half of the story!) as well as what revisions looked like.We also heard about the inspiration behind this series–the characters came to Alex almost fully formed which was a first, she said.

The audience also got to see some mock-ups of covers for In the Afterlight which was really interesting. Many of the rejected covers looked similar to covers for other books while the final cover for this book looked more unique. (Also if you get a hardcover be sure to look inside the dust jacket!)

The Q & A session was also pretty cool as Alex revealed a little bit about how the final colors and powers in the books were chosen as well as a bit about the names of the Orange characters. (There is a push and pull between Reds and Oranges throughout in terms of who might actually be the most dangerous.)

By the end of the launch, I was even more excited about reading the conclusion to this series.

After the discussion and the Q & A, Alex was on hand to sign books (of course).

It didn’t really hit me until I was on line and talking with Alex, but this series has been hugely important to me as a reader and a blogger so it’s very, very strange to think that when I finish reading this final book, it will be over.

My interactions with this series started back in 2011 when Nicole and I headed to our first BEA. The day was great but planning wise it was kind of a mess because it’s hard to know how to plan for a thing you’ve never previously attended. That said, we stumbled across a lot of great signings including Alexandra Bracken signing paperback copies of her first novel Brightly Woven. I had been hearing about this book a lot because 2010 was the year of tapestry-centric fantasies. I was taken with the cover. And, when I was a Cybils judge in 2010, I thought it might be a book I’d end up reading for the shortlist. That didn’t end up happening and somehow it was still unread by the time BEA 2011 rolled around.

Needless to say I was very excited to see Alex was still signing. I started reading Brightly Woven three days after BEA 2011 (it was the second book I read from those acquired at BEA) and was completely charmed. Soon after I found Alex on twitter and started following her social media where, eventually, she started talking about her new book which she was then calling Black is the Color.

It’s a weird thing to be excited about a book not just before it’s published but before it’s even finished. But that’s how it was for The Darkest Minds. So eager was I for this title, that it became a key factor in planning for BEA 2012. As soon as I knew Alex would be signing again, I knew I had to be there. While getting an ARC from Alex I told her I had been following the book’s progress since it was called Black is the Color and that I couldn’t wait to read it. In fact, I started this book almost as soon as I left the convention center on the final day of BEA. It completely lived up to my extremely high expectations.

Victory! This was my first BEA read and it was SO. Good. I am already eagerly waiting for the sequel and this one isn't even out until December!

By 2013, a lot of other people were big fans of this series and Alex. So much so that, when Nicole and I began planning for BEA 2013 we knew Alex’s signing would be a priority (the prospect of being one of the first 30 in line and receiving a Ruby & Liam & Chubs & Zu tote was an added bonus). The hour wait was well worth it and again I gushed incoherently about the series while getting a signed ARC.

Alex Bracken BEA13Actually reading Never Fade took a bit longer this year because of crushing review obligations BUT it was still the first actual from BEA title I read. I obviously read and loved the first book, but this one blew me away with the expanded world building and Ruby’s growth as a character. Don’t even get me started about how well the plot comes together.

After the ending of Never Fade and all of its twists, I was really looking forward to seeing how everything comes together in In the Afterlight (and also to see the cover and title which, when I read Never Fade, weren’t actually known yet.) The weirdest thing about BEA 2014 was knowing that there would be no new Bracken title. But I think the wait will be worth it.

Which brings us back to the launch event I attended with Nicole on Tuesday night and that signing line where I was waiting to get my book signed with a business card ready as a sort of introduction because I never expect authors to remember me from my blog.

When I handed my book to Alex I told her about how I’d been following this series from the beginning–including seeing her at two BEA signings for it–and how much I loved it. Then, much to my surprise, Alex said she recognized me from twitter and my reviews before thanking me for supporting the series. After signing my book, Alex also gave me a hug before I left. Which was really nice.

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Later, when I got home from the signing I came home to find the giveaway I had won from the blog tour for In the Afterlight had arrived.

So now I am carrying my copy of In the Afterlight in this new totebag. And yes, I do have some duplicate copies (which also means I don’t have to worry about messing up my signed copy of In the Afterlight). But maybe that just means I have something else to talk about the next time I go to an Alexandra Bracken signing.

Obviously I’m really excited about this series. But what about you? What series books have you followed from the beginning? Is anyone as excited as I am about In the Afterlight?

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