Title – Author: The Darkest Minds – Alexandra Bracken
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release Date: December 18, 2012
Series/Standalone: Series – The Darkest Minds #1
Format – Source: eBook – Bought
The terrifying virus that killed most of America’s children left behind a broken country. The kids who survived discovered they had powers…powers that made them dangerous. The government rounded up the kids and put them in “rehabilitation camps.” Ruby has been in Thurmond, one of the harshest camps, since she was ten. She’s spent her years hiding her true powers, but when the truth comes out, Ruby has to run for her life. She meets up with a trio of kids looking for a haven for kids like them – East River. But is East River just a myth or is there really a place where Ruby and her friends can finally be safe?
I’m always a bit wary of dystopians these days…there are so many and you just never know if it’ll be good or just more of the same. The Darkest Minds does have similar elements to the other dystopians I’ve read, but that didn’t stop me from becoming hooked on the story.
Bracken isn’t afraid to go dark with this novel, and there are some seriously disturbing aspects to this dystopian society. The kids in the camp are treated like animals. The soldiers guarding them are brutal and unforgiving. The survivors may have escaped the virus’s path, but many can’t escape an untimely death. This all sounds familiar, but I still managed to be surprised by how everyone acts in this society. The kids retaliate with their own violence. The supposed heroes, the adults wanting to end the camps, aren’t so heroic. And the adults on the outside see the kids as monsters. No one is completely good or evil. There are so many different dynamics going on in this world and the action kept me eagerly turning pages. Ruby is constantly in danger and not always from who you’d expect. There’s so much going on and I want to find out more.
Where the author really hooked me, though, was with the characters. I loved them all so much. Ruby has seen a lot of shit over her life and basically every adult she’s interacted with has treated her as if she was less than human. It was so heartbreaking to see her struggle with her using her powers because she had been told over and over that those powers made her a monster. She has an amazing gift and she’s only ever seen it as a curse. But even with all of that self-doubt, Ruby doesn’t hesitate to protect those she cares about. She’s determined and really grows into her strength over the course of the novel.
Then there are her friends, Liam, Chubs, and Suzume. Oh, how I love them. Everyone in this story is so damaged that you can’t help but feel for them. Liam, who made a hard choice with devastating results. Chubs, who wants more than anything to reach his family and who is unfailingly loyal to his friends. Suzume, who lost her voice because of what happened to her in the camps. I just wanted to hug them all and make it all better. But don’t let their pasts fool you. They’re all just as determined as Ruby. I loved seeing how they accepted Ruby into their group and became a family.
The Darkest Minds packs an emotional punch with its terrifying society and lovable characters. I will definitely be back for more.
7 – really good but missing a little something – George Weasley