Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken [Review]

The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds, #1)4 out of 5 Robots!

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
Series: The Darkest Minds #1
Genre: YA Dystopian/Paranormal
Release: December 18, 2012
Hardcover: 488 Pages
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
My Copy: Purchased
Reviewer: Shannon
Buy the Book: Amazon

Book Summary:
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.
(Courtesy of the Publisher)

Shannon's Thoughts:
I have been wanting to read this book since I first heard about it.  I'm not exactly sure why it took me a year to actually get around to reading it.  But with the sequel now out, I finally managed to crack it open.

The Darkest Minds and I got off to a rough start.  I had a very hard time getting into the story.  I think part of this was the writing style.  Alexandra Bracken has a very matter-of-fact writing style.  But since it is told from a first person narrative, it felt very blunt.  I couldn't connect to Ruby as a narrator at all.  I also had a little trouble wrapping my head around it.  There is a big info-dump at the beginning and it slows down the story telling process.  I toyed with the idea of setting it aside, but then Ruby escapes Thurmond and meets up with Liam, Chubs, and Zu.  From there the book sort of took off for me.  While Ruby was still a bit of a cipher, I thought the other supporting characters were pretty fleshed out.  I absolutely loved Liam, Chubs and Zu.  And loved their interactions with each other and how each of them interacted with Ruby.  There are some genuinely sweet moments between all of them.  I especially liked the development of Ruby and Chubs relationship.  I loved watching them go from dislike and distrust to grudging respect to true friendship and trust.

But during the times that did not involve either Liam, Chubs or Zu, I found myself a little less interested. The pacing was a little off at times. I found myself skimming through the parts at East River and had a pretty good idea where it was going.  Plus, there are so many "agencies" to keep track of between the Psi Special Forces, the skiptracers, the League, the Slip Kid, the tribal kids, etc.  It can be dizzying, especially when two different groups are after them at the same time.

But overall, I ended up liking it quite a bit.  I'm definitely excited to read the next book and figure out how Ruby gets herself out of THAT mess. 

Other books in this series in the order that they should be read:
1. The Darkest Minds
2. Never Fade


  1. Hmm, I remember seeing the cover for this a while back, but hadn't read any reviews. I'm not the biggest fan of dystopian style YA unless it does something different, so I'm not sure I'll be reading this, but it's interesting to see what you thought :)
    ~Ailsa @The Book Bundle

  2. Flashbacks and history are well-integrated throughout the narrative. It is a page-turner, and the moving ending made me anxious to read the next book in the trilogy.
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