Through the Dark Summary & Study Guide

Alexandra Bracken
This Study Guide consists of approximately 57 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Through the Dark.
This section contains 1,409 words
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Through the Dark Summary & Study Guide Description

Through the Dark Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Quotes and a Free Quiz on Through the Dark by Alexandra Bracken.

The following version of this book was used to create the guide: Bracken, Alexandra. Through the Dark: A Darkest Minds Collection. Hyperion. 2015. Paperback.

Through the Dark is separated into three short stories; ‘In Time,’ ‘Sparks Rise’ and ‘Beyond the Night’.

In Time

A 25-year-old Gabe buys a truck and leaves his hometown of Flagstaff, Arizona with the intention of becoming a skip tracer. It is revealed that many years prior, an infection wiped out nearly all of the children in the world. Those that remained developed super powers ranging from perfect memories to control over electricity. Most were sent to rehabilitation camps, but have not been seen in seven years. As a skip tracer, Gabe’s job is to find kids who have escaped or never entered the system to begin with, and turn them in for a massive bounty. He hopes to find one or two - just enough to fund a degree and find a stable job since he cannot work as a PSF due to his injured knee.

One day, however, Gabe witnesses an SUV crash while being chased by a van with two other skip-tracers inside. They chase two of the girls into the forest, but a third is trapped behind the dead driver. Gabe frees her and takes her away even after the men return and try to shoot him. However, Gabe struggles with the morality of turning her in, especially after seeing her fascination with the Wizard of Oz and realizing that she has never seen it before. When he does decide to take her to the main PSF station in Arizona, he becomes attached to her despite the fact that she never speaks. He later learns that her name is Zu and she helps him by changing out a tire and stealing gas from the pump. He asks her to help him find another kid in exchange for her freedom, but she declines, much to his surprise.

However, when the two arrive at the PSF headquarters, they rescue a second kid, Bryson, for another skip tracer and Gabe steals the tracer’s equipment. They then meet up with a woman named Della whose home Bryson was hiding in, and she encourages Gabe’s decision to help Zu find her Uncle in California. With Della’s help, he sneaks Zu across the border. However, when they reach her Uncle’s house, Gabe is shot by an unknown girl and Zu cries as he passes away.

Sparks Rise

Seventeen-year-old Sam thinks about a girl named Ruby whom she remembers, but everyone else seems to have forgotten. She thinks Ruby escaped from their camp, but she is not certain. When the girls are led out of their cabins for their daily routine, Sam is shocked to see a small army of brainwashed Reds, including her best friend Lucas. Devastated, she tries not to think about him too much as they are led to breakfast, and then mindless hours of work at the factory. While there, Sam is sexually assaulted by a PSF camp counselor named Tildon, but fights back when he demands a strip search. She is then pinned by Lucas when Tildon calls for backup, who subtly reveals to her that he is not catatonic like the other Reds.

After Sam is beaten for fighting back, another counselor tells Lucas to follow her to the cages where they force Sam into a dog-sized cage for the night. However, the counselor tells Lucas to stay until the power comes back on and leaves. The two friends reconnect after Lucas reveals that he survived seven years of torture and brainwashing by retreating into memories of their childhood imaginary world of Greenwood. Sam is glad that he is himself, but warns him not to get caught. As the lights come back on, Tildon returns. Lucas is forced to leave, but not before he tells command that Tildon has relieved him of his position, forcing command to call Tildon back as well. Unfortunately, Sam is bit by a snake and narrowly escapes the cage before passing out.

The next morning, Lucas is assigned to escort the kids to the infirmary when Tildon snidely tells him that he should have been there for Sam. This drives Lucas crazy, as he has to pretend to not have a reaction. Lucas overhears a counselor speaking with Nurse Dunn about Sam, but Lucas does not find this out until later. After hours of escorting kids back and forth, Lucas finds some time to get into Dunns computer and search for his sister Mia. Dunn catches him, but tells Lucas about his own brother Martin who escaped the camp before Dunn started working there. Then, Lucas learns that Sam is dying and comes up with a plan alongside Dunn and another nurse to sneak her out of the camp. Unfortunately, the plan fails when the truck they are escaping on gets stuck in the mud. Lucas is forced back into a tortuous training until he forgets who he is and his memories of Sam and the others are repressed. After Sam is saved, she is brokenhearted to see Lucas as catatonic as the rest of the Reds.

Beyond the Night

Mia, who had been living in Black Rock since her parents died seven years prior, is forced to flee with the other campers when the counselors set fire to the records upstairs. Five hours later, an army arrives promising that they will take the kids home to their parents. While most are convinced they will only be moved to another camp, Mia is hopeful that she will find her brother Lucas and boards the bus to Pierre.

An unknown amount of time later, Sam finds Mia in a hotel just before she is being sent away for a procedure (where they put a chip into her brain) and to be rehomed. The two girls escape and Sam explains what happened to Lucas. She tells Mia that the rest of the Reds were injected with something and sent away, but she was able to command Lucas to follow her. The two girls find him in a cottage nearly unresponsive. Mia gets furious, blaming Sam for his mental state. When Sam leaves for supplies, Mia tries to talk to Lucas, but he responds angrily to stores of their family. Instead, she tells him stories of Greenwood. His responses are much calmer, and Mia decides they need to take him to their home in Bedford so he can see the treehouse where they used to pretend they were in Greenwood.

Unfortunately, when Sam returns, the three are almost kidnapped until Lucas sets fire to the kidnapper’s truck and kills at least one of them. The police arrive as Lucas passes out and arrests Sam and Mia. They look up the girl’s information in the PSF system, but are unable to find who Lucas is. The girls are taken to a concrete facility while Lucas is taken elsewhere. Sam and Mia are rescued by Ruby and her friends who all eventually agree to help them save Lucas who has been transferred to Ashford. Once they get there, Sam charges in after hearing that Lucas is dead, and Ruby follows her, killing a few of the men and giving false memories to the others. When they find Lucas, all are relieved to learn he is alive and load him up in the SUV. When Ruby tells them that she sees an unknown memory of a forest and a monster, Mia is certain they need to tell him an exact story from Greenwood. They all agree and head to Bedford.

Once there, Lucas has a meltdown when he is led into his old home and Mia panics and runs from the house. She finds the tree house where she remembers all of the Greenwood adventures. Ruby’s boyfriend and leader of the group Liam comes out to talk to her, and the two bond when he explains that his brother, Cole, was also a Red who died protecting him. Mia then finds a story and reads it to Lucas who wakes up. He asks to help Ruby in her mission to save the other Reds who memories were suppressed like his own. Sam and Mia agree to join. The ending section shows that they are slowly working toward that goal, and while all three look to the future, Lucas knows they will never forget Greenwood.

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