Book: The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
Series: The Darkest Minds #1
Date Published: December 18th, 2012
Date Started: December 24th, 2013
Date Finished: December 29th, 2013
Other Books Reviewed: Never Fade, In The After Light
When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.
Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.
When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.
When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.
This book absolutely exhausted me. And I mean that in a good way. I was afraid when I started reading this book that I wouldn’t like it as much as other people had. I had heard so many good things about it, and I was afraid to get my hopes up about it. But I’m glad that I took the plunge, because it was totally worth it.
The Darkest Minds is set in a dystopian world in which a disease has been taking the lives of children all across the US. The children who survive the disease are left with a side-affect in which they are in possession of a power, ranging from the ability to harness electricity to being able to move objects. Ruby has been given a power in which she can affect the minds of people. These children are sent off to “rehabilitation camps” that are more like prison camps. When Ruby escapes one of these camps, she meets three other escapees from another camp. She travels with Liam, Chubs, and Zu while they try to discover a mythological camp of sorts in which kids with powers are treated more kindly. However, Ruby is falling for Liam, but she is afraid of what her powers will do to him if they get too close to each other.
So, while I was reading this, I was having a horrible time. Its wasn’t anything to do with the book. In fact, I felt that the book deserved more attention from me. I was dealing with a head cold that left my brain feeling really fuzzy and I couldn’t focus on a page for more than a few minutes. But as I was getting over my cold, I got sucked into the book more and more.
Ruby was a really relate-able character. I know its hard for a lot of us to imagine going through an experience like she did, but Bracken did such a good job with the writing that it felt like you could feel all of Ruby’s anguish and guilt that flowed through her. One aspect of Ruby that I really like was that even though she felt guilty for her power, and tried to stay away from people, she didn’t over pity herself. Sometimes it can be overwhelming when a character beats themselves down over and over again. I was able to relate to Ruby because she just wanted to live a normal life, just like the other kids in the book. Ruby didn’t feel this need to start a rebellion or bring down some sort of governmental force. She just wanted to survive, to feel like a girl even. When I mentioned that this book exhausted me, I meant the struggles that Ruby went through. I was able to feel her struggle for survival and all the sacrifices she made. The ending of the book was absolutely heartbreaking and made me want to read the next sequel of the book.
What I also liked about Ruby was the fact that she didn’t feel this constant need to be attached to someone in a romantic sense. She had a relationship with Liam, but they weren’t overly attached or pining for one another constantly. They still had a relationship that made you swoon (hey, sometimes you just love a good swoon now and then) but it was in small doses. Enough for you to keep going with the stories. I sometimes feel that a romantic aspect of a book can overpower the book and then you end up with things like “team _____” or “I ship _____ and ____” I felt the love, but I also felt the stronger pull of the dystopian world. It was a really nice balance between the two, and it was kind of refreshing.
I definitely recommend this book. I loved it. It had a sort of paranormal feel to it, in the telepathic sense, but it wasn’t overbearing. It felt believable and thats all due in part to Bracken’s style of writing. There is a short story that goes between this book and the sequel called In Time which centers around the character of Zu. I am going to be reading that next, however, I am unsure at this point if I will post a review about it because it is so short. The sequel is titled Never Fade. I think the title is supposed to be read as The Darkest Minds Never Fade, but I’ve seen it just listed as Never Fade. I could be speculating. Who knows. But I will be reading the sequel in the near future, as soon as I get my hands on a copy, which could be as early as tomorrow. So look out for that in the future!