Thursday 21 November 2013

Review: The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Source: Bought hardback and audiobook

Synopsis from Goodreads:

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 blew me away with how emotional it actually is! Its a great story too- thrilling and action-packed, but I mainly loved the bonds between the characters, and the journey they take together. Its a fabulous sci-fi/ superhero journey. A great read- recommended.
Darkest Minds is a brilliantly written, exciting and moving sci-fi story. It's a book about teenagers with superpowers, the rest of the world who are afraid of them and want to contain them, and a world all gone to hell. 
A mutated virus is spreading across the world infecting children, and around age ten either kills them or leaves them with dangerous and strange powers. This is a very pacy book- a real thrill ride- and there is always something going on, the characters escaping capture, or rushing here and there, or just trying to survive. And you are thrown into the middle of the story right from the first page.

What I loved most about it was the depth of the characters and the journey they take together. They all have such a complicated past, and issues. Ruby and the band of misfits that she falls in with- Liam, Chubs and Suzume are a great support to each other, and their skills and characters complement so well. They become like a little family and only trust each other. I liked the "us against them" sense about them- that they would rush in defend each other if necessary. You can't help but become attached to these characters and their quirks as they drive across America searching for answers.

Ruby has spent six years in a rehabilitation camp, so her knowledge of the politics of the world outside is very limited, and we find out everything that is going on with the world as she does. The story is told completely from Ruby's point of view, which I liked, but it still takes a while to understand exactly what she has been through. Her traumatic past is hinted at but not fully explained until later.This is a dark run-down world run by corrupt organisations, and Ruby is only just starting to get to grips with understanding her powers. I enjoyed this slow revealing of the whole story though, and was never left confused.

There is also a love story in this book and it is very sweet. I instantly liked the guy, and the good-hearted way about him. Their romance is slow to develop but had a real substance to it, and it was nice to see the attraction brewing between the two characters even in such extreme circumstances. There are no awkwardly forced conversations, they just fit, and I liked the easiness of the two of them together. He always made me smile, and is one of the bright sparks in a dark book.

Its a dark and gut-wrenching adventurous tale of survival through persecution and desperation. Quite harrowing and violent in parts, it can get quite sinister. The adults are afraid of the teenagers, but with the desperate circumstances and lack of any rules or guidance the kids can turn on each other as well. It's quite a long book and it felt like a heck of a journey that they all went through.

A haunting, emotional and beautiful crafted world and story.  In a YA market saturated with dystopian stories, this is one of the better ones. It definitely stands out from the crowd and offers something a little different.


  1. AHH! I've read such amazing things about this series. I really must get my hands on a copy of this book!

  2. Glad that you loved this one. I didn't, though :( I felt it was too dragging, and I thought the narrator's voice was too whiny haha. I do agree about it being emotional... in my reading experience, while I was never able to finish it, felt like a roller coaster ride!
    thanks for the lovely review :)

    Faye @ The Social Potato

  3. This is a great book. I found myself riveted with the characters and wanting more. I had a hard time putting this one down.
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