Review: The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

Summary/Cover Image from Publisher's Website:
When Ruby wakes up on her tenth birthday, something about her has 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.

The buzz has slowly been building for Alexandra Bracken's The Darkest Minds over the last few months. It's been getting some great reviews, and it seems that everyone is talking about it. Therefore, when the chance came up to read it, I jumped at the chance. It seemed like a good enough book, especially given how unique and compelling the premise sounded, and I was curious to see how it compared to what I had heard. Now that I've read it, I can understand why it's causing such a buzz. The premise? Just as spectacular as thought it would be! The ending? KILLER. However, at the same time, I had a few problems with it that hindered my reading experience.

The Darkest Minds throws the reader into a distant America, one in which the economy has hit rock bottom, the president is never seen, and the children are feared rather than loved. The last of it all started a few years back when all the children begin to develop superpowers, ones that managed to scare everyone. Due to this, all the children were shipped off to camps, camps in which they are are supposed to be "rehabilitated" but instead, thrown around and abused physically and mentally. However, Ruby, one of the children who was sent to a camp on her tenth birthday, is rescued just as she's been there for a good six years. Her rescuers promise her that they are there to help her, that they won't hurt her, and Ruby believes them. Though, after a surprising twist comes about that challenges all of this, Ruby is on the run. Not knowing where to go, she quickly runs into and builds trust with another group of runaway teens, ones who talk about a place where kids are truly helped. Ruby joins the group easily, and off she goes with them. But is everything as it seems? Will this place be everything they expect it to be, or much, much worse than they ever expected? Only time and more pages can tell in this riveting addition to YA lit.

One aspect of this novel I truly loved about this book was the premise. There was just something so raw, unique and promising about it, and you'll understand what I mean, if you read it. However, the execution of it was a little too messy for my liking. For one, the superpowers for never fully explained, and that bothered me. Given how important they were to most things in the plot, I wanted to know exactly what each "color"  meant . For example why the Reds where feared so much. Sure, I got some info that helped it a long, but not nearly as much as to fully develop this area of the story. In addition, I also wasn't the biggest of fan on how every single adult they ran into was evil and just waiting to hurt them. I mean, seriously where are the good guys, and if there really are none, as it seems, how exactly will these teens and children be able to fight all these groups at once? It just stumped me, and kind of annoyed me since I wanted some unity, especially given how the kids sort of had hard time coming together. I did enjoy the road trip part, though. It was interesting and exciting as well as thrilling. Plus it really helped to develop my favorite part about the book...the characters.

I had a love/hate relationship with Ruby for the majority of the book, but I never failed to root for her. I really enjoyed seeing the transformation she made throughout the book. At first, she was kind of a scaredy cat, always quick to hide behind others and not face confrontation. However, as the book progressed, she got stronger and stronger...to the point, where she really managed to bloom into her own person. I didn't like, though, how scared she was to trust people. Sometimes all I wanted to do was shake her on the shoulders and be like "trust them! It will help you!" Moving on, I really enjoyed the addition of the teens she joined up with. Chubs was hilarious and sarcastic and he added an important part of lightness to a book this dark. Zu, on the other hand, always managed to pull on my heart strings. She was such a sweet little girl, probably my absolute favorite part of the whole book. Lastly, Liam was great as well. He was the typical hero type who always saw the best in everyone, and truthfully, I loved all the positive energy he brought to the table.

In all, The Darkest Minds is a decent enough start to a series, and while some parts didn't particularly win me over, I still will be reading the sequel, because (1) I like the characters and (2) I need to know what happens next. Plus who knows maybe it will manage to fix the things that I felt this one got wrong.

Grade: B-

The Darkest Minds (Amazon, BN, Goodreads) is now out!

Source: Publicist for blog tour

Don't forgot to check out Alexandra's guest post and my giveaway for a copy of this book. You can find it HERE

1 comment:

  1. I'm actually reading this book right now and haven't totally gotten into it yet. I've heard amazing reviews like you said.

    I hope I enjoy it more than you did :( There is so much hype surrounding it!


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