Book Review: The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds #1) by Alexandra Bracken

Posted December 17, 2012 by Melissa in Book Review | 13 Comments

Title: The Darkest Minds
Series: The Darkest Minds #1
Author:  Alexandra Bracken
Reading level: Young Adult
Genre:  Paranormal
Size: 496 pages
Release Date: December 18th 2012
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Source: ARC picked up at BEA
Find It: Goodreads | Amazon | BN | The Book Depository

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.

When the white noise went off, we were in the garden, pulling weeds.

You know how you start reading a book and somehow based upon the cover, blurb and other reactions you can sense whether you will like it or love it, hate it or be ambivalent to it?  I’m going to admit up front that I went into The Darkest Minds with the expectation that it would be “just alright.”  Boy am I glad that this one surprised me!

Bracken paints a world that is almost too horrible to imagine.  Children dying by the hundreds of thousands and those that survive being changed…and viewed as a threat to the adults resulting in their containment in what amounts to forced labor camps.  And then if that is not bad enough…half of those survivors…exterminated…due to the adults’ fear of what they may be able to do since their changes.

I don’t want to talk to much about the plot of the book as I don’t want to give too much away but this is a very bleak and depressing world. As we slowly get to know our main character Ruby and her group of friends we hope that there is some avenue for escape…some path to change.

This one drew me in slowly and surely…the writing style and pacing work perfectly alongside the plot. About one fourth of the way through, I was completely hooked.  The characters all develop to the point that I ended up far more attached to them than I realized. Each character is so different, yet each adds a much needed component to the group so that as a whole they are made that much stronger. (I even became attached to Black Betty!)

I give Bracken much credit for managing to sneak them all under my defenses to the point that when the novel concluded I was bawling my eyes out and couldn’t understand why.  When had I become so attached? I’m very curious to see where this one goes and can’t wait for the second book in the series.


4 Stars
I Really liked this one!
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13 responses to “Book Review: The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds #1) by Alexandra Bracken

  1. I wasn’t a huge fan of her first book and to tell you the truth this one sounds almost too much for me to handle. The whole thought of all those children dying has me in tears just thinking about it. I may have to wait on reading this one, but I’m glad to hear that it pleasantly surprised you. Maybe at a later date I’ll look into this book again.

  2. Eeeeeek I’m so unsure about this one. I’m shallow enough to hate the cover, and the paranormal bit is totally not my deal. But you’ve made it sound like something I would actually like!

    Great review, Melissa 🙂

  3. Yay! I love when a book surprises me with how much I love it. It’s so much fun to go into a book expecting it to be okay, and then just be blown away. I gravitate toward the dark and bleak worlds, so I’m thinking this is definitely a book for me Melissa! Looking forward to getting super attached to it:)

  4. For some reason I was thinking this was a second book in a series so I didn’t investigate it and now I am hearing all this buzz on this one and I should have gotten it. Drat! On the other hand even though it is an amazing and powerful book, I just can’t do dark right now so I think I will save it for spring. I am wondering about this Black Betty as well!

  5. I’m with Heidi about just not being able to to dark right now. But I loved her other book so I will be looking forward to reading this maybe in the spring. So glad it surprised you with its awesomeness!

  6. Yours is the first review I’m reading on this one. Of course I’ve seen it everywhere but I just kind of went right by it b/c it looked like another bleak dystopian. Now I’m kind of kicking myself b/c it actually sounds worth the read.

    I’m with all you guys – light and fluffy to close out the year!!! BTW – awesome review!!!

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