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I Belong

Review: The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

Title:  The Darkest Minds

Author: Alexandra Bracken

Genre: YA Science Fiction

Series: The Darkest Minds (Book 1)

Publication Date: December 18, 2012

Format: Hardcover, 496 Pages

ISBN-10: 1423157370 (Disney Hyperion)

ISBN-13: 978-1423157373 (Disney Hyperion)

Reviewed by: Michelle


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.

Quick & Dirty: The Darkest Minds is an amazing story, one that I will reread for many years to come.

Opening Sentence: When the White Noise went off, we were in the garden, pulling weeds.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

I love Science Fiction. It might be one of my favorite genres to read about. Not only for the out-of-this world elements, but also for the possibilities of an alternate future or even a dystopian one. I first heard about Alexandra Bracken’s The Darkest Minds, was from an author signing. From what the author had said of Bracken’s book, it was something that everyone should read, and that The Darkest Minds will be a book that I will never forget. And you know what? That author was correct.

In a futuristic world, bordering on reality and apocalyptic, the adults of the world fear young children and teenagers. In The Darkest Minds, young children are manifesting powers of mental persuasion, memory manipulation, and even telekinesis. What started out as a fatal disease, suddenly became a prison sentence for survivors. Those that survived held unknown powers that adults were afraid of, powers categorized by different levels of power. For one teen in particular, Ruby, she is the voice of the story, telling her tale and the tales of others through her eyes. Together and individually, they survive, for reasons yet unknown. Some of the survivors use each other, while others just want to survive. It’s a bleak world out there, and the minds of these powerful teens really are dark.

In Bracken’s world, the children hold all of the power. Because of their young and untrained minds, they are held in prisons and camps, against their will. They fear the unknown, not even knowing their full potential. The children are grouped into colors, representative of their abilities and ranging from control over elements, objects, or human minds. The categories are Green, Blue, Yellow, power over electricity, Red, power over fire, and the dreaded Orange, mind control.

Ruby opens the story in an unforgettable way. White noise at a camp hinders the minds of a certain color, and while she has been categorized as a tame green, she quickly is targeted as someone who is dangerous. There are those on the inside who have sought out to help her, and Ruby quickly learns who to trust and who to stay away from. She is naive and innocent, regardless of the power she holds. Ruby has always lived an isolated life, and as a reader, I was quick to understand who she was. Ruby holds this heavy guilt throughout the story, one that I didn’t understand until the end. Bracken wrote her beautifully, and I quickly felt Ruby was one of my favorite heroines for this year.

The Darkest Minds has a beautiful and dark world, bordering on the lines of cruelty and somber tones. It’s hard to imagine young children in these camps and prisons, but Bracken brought us there. She wrote about the prejudices against the children, their powers, and even about the cruel ways they were treated. It all felt real and I couldn’t help but cry.

Bracken’s writing style is very distinct, filled with imagery and precision. Ruby’s voice was loud and pure, and very much easy to connect with. There were hints of teenage angst and maybe even young innocence, but it was all done tastefully so. Each moment in the story was revealed in a timely manner, each moment unveiled perfectly in relation to the scene. It helped the pacing of the story, and Bracken didn’t hold back when she felt she didn’t need to. Emotions were felt, never allowing the reader to lose that distinct connection to the characters and the story.

The Darkest Minds is an amazing story, one that I will reread for many years to come. I highly suggest that you pick it up this week, and dive in to Bracken’s dark mind.

Notable Scene:

A way out.

I glanced back out the window on last time, making sure Cate and Rob still had their backs to me, before bolting past the display of beef jerky and heading straight for that door.

It’s just a raccoon, I thought, or rats. Not for the first time in my short life, rats were a preferable option to humans.

But the crinkling came again, louder, and when I pushed the door open, I wasn’t staring at a group of rats ravaging a bag of snack food.

It was another kid.

The Darkest Minds Series:

1. The Darkest Minds

FTC Advisory: Disney Hyperion provided me with a copy of The Darkest Minds.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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One Response to “Review: The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

  1. Rain MaidenNo Gravatar

    Another book to add to my wish list. Thanks for the review.

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