There are so many other incredible people working at Hyperion that I owe a huge debt of gratitude to: Mary Ann Naples, Augusta Harris, Dina Sherman, LaToya Maitland, Holly Nagel, Elke Villa, Andrew Sansone, Jennifer Chan, Guy Cunningham, Meredith Jones, Dan Kaufman, Sara Liebling, Cassie McGinty, Mary Ann Zissimos, and the entire sales team. You guys are the true heroes of this story!
I would be completely lost without the incredible guidance and support of my agent, Merrilee Heifetz. It doesn’t matter if we’re eating pasta in Italy, drinking margaritas on the beach, or on a conference call, I always have the best time with you. I’m so excited to see what the next few years bring. Many, many thanks also go to Rebecca Eskildsen for all of the support in coordinating the business side of things, and for being a white knight when I needed you most!
Alyssa Furukawa, I’m so grateful you were willing to read this story and provide feedback on it, even when it was in a rough state. One of your notes in particular has forever changed the way I approach describing characters. Thank you for your time, thoughts, and energy.
To Morgan Watchorn and Lisa Jordan, thank you both so much for your generous donations last year. Morgan, I hope you loved the early read! Lisa, I’m so excited to finally be able to reveal which character I named after you. I’m sorry I couldn’t work your last name into those chapters, but I hope you won’t mind a shout-out on the acknowledgments page to make up for it.
I have to send love to my friend Miya Cech, the sweetest of the sweet and the best on-screen Zu I could have dared to hope for. I’ve loved getting to know you and your family over the last year, and I can’t wait to watch you shine in all of your future projects. Thank you so much for keeping the secret about this story! It makes me so, so happy that you were one of the first people to know Zu was getting her own book.
The past few years have certainly had their ups and downs, and I’ve been lucky enough to ride out the waves with my friend Susan Dennard. Thank you for keeping us warm in our brainstorming cabin and for having such an incredible editorial eye that you helped solve story problems in The Darkest Legacy that I had no idea were even there. You are such a compassionate, generous person, and your friendship pulled me through the toughest bouts of deadlines and stress.
To Erin Bowman, Leigh Bardugo, Victoria Aveyard, Amie Kaufman, and Elena Yip: you are absolute gems and, to run with that metaphor, I treasure you all. Thank you for being there for me (and, at times, putting up with me and my many worries) over this past year.
This book is dedicated to my friend Anna Jarzab who—no exaggeration—was the first person to love The Darkest Minds and its characters. Even now, Anna, you see things in the story that I’ve completely missed, and sometimes I’m convinced that you understand this fictional world better than I do! For all of the hours you’ve spent critiquing these books and helping me brainstorm…there’s really no way to convey the full extent of my gratitude. Thank you for answering my questions about publishing all of those years ago. I can’t wait for our next reunion.
Finally, I am very, very, very lucky to have such a supportive and loving family. Mom, Steph, Daniel, and Hayley: writing a book is always a team effort, but somehow The Darkest Legacy turned into a full-on team marathon. For nine months, you guys stepped up to the plate and helped me with everything from running errands to handling any plans to watching Tennyson when I needed to pull all-nighters to get this book in on time. I will never forget that, and I love you all.
ALEXANDRA BRACKEN is the #1 New York Times best-selling author of the Darkest Minds series and the Passenger series. Born and raised in Arizona, she moved east to study history and English at the College of William & Mary in Virginia. After working in publishing for several years, Alex now writes full-time and can be found hard at work on her next novel in a charming little home that’s perpetually overflowing with books.