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Review: The Darkest Minds (Alexandra Bracken)

The Deets:
reading level: YA
pages: 496
Publisher: December 18th 2012 by Disney Hyperion
ISBN: 9781423157373
genre: dystopian/sci-fi
source: e-arc from Netgalley

The Darkest MindsWhen 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.

I thought my heart would only beat for Tris and Four, but now I have met Ruby and Liam. Ohmysweetgoodness. What a wonderful combination in The Darkest Minds.

There is no crazy love triangle (*cough Hunger Games *cough) to pull at your head and cloud your judgement. There is no lover's quarrel (Tris and Four) to confuse the emotions. There is simply Ruby and Liam.

I do believe that Liam is one of my new favorite protagonists. He is loyal, determined, and 100% honest. He loves Ruby regardless of her powers. They are the new Romeo and Juliet. I am SO glad to see this will be a series because I need more Liam pronto. as much gushing as I do for Liam, I should note that the other characters aren't half bad either. Ruby is pretty cool in that I-really-can't-do-anything-right kind of way. She grows on you. She also gets better with her powers, which makes for a pretty interesting conclusion in this book. But one of my other favorites in this story is Chubs. The legally blind book nerd. How can you not love a character that makes references to Watership Down and Lord of the Flies? He's witty and full of all sorts of dry humor. He makes such a great addition to this motley crew of X-men quality superkids.

For the fans of drama, there is plenty between these pages. Each chapter layers the complicated plot a little more. The action begins almost instantly with a pretty shocking and gruesome scene, and it doesn't stop. There are twists and turns to keep you guessing (even if some were pretty obvious). Best of all, there is a cliffhanger ending that actually works, even if it leaves you feeling that your heart has suddenly jumped into your throat. Side note: I strongly dislike cliffhangers that leave you asking a million questions about the entire plot or saying WTH to yourself. The Darkest Minds doesn't do that. The ending truly works, even if it's not a fairy tale inspired outcome (this is a dystopian afterall).

I encouraged everyone to read this one. It is wonderful. Refreshing even. Like all trends, things start to feel stale after a while. I mean, there are only so many ways you can write the end of the world/civilization without repeating someone's ideas, right? That seems to be the case with the majority of the newer novels hitting the market. They feel familiar. Too familiar. But, alas, The Darkest Minds did not conjure up any old memories or comparisons as I read, which was delightful. So, if you've read this one, I would love to discuss it! I think there could be some great conversations to spring from this gem.  


  1. Oh you make this sound awesome! I have it on my kindle so I'll have to read it soon.

  2. Yay no love triangles!! And I am definitely intrigued if you can't think of any other end of the world novels to compare it to. Lately they've all seemed too similar that I've been losing interest. Looking forward to this!

  3. This was such a refreshing read for me. I loved it from the get go. Ruby is such a unique and interesting character. I loved Chubs. I loved this book. Liam was my favorite, I must admit. And I loved him and Ruby together. The action was awesome, but the down times were pretty great too. And there was so much heart, so much emotion. And the ending was rough.... I really need to get Never Fade!


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