The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds #1) by Alexandra Bracken

The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds #1) by Alexandra BrackenThe Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds, #1) by Alexandra Bracken
Published by Disney Hyperion on December 18th 2012
Pages: 488

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something frightening enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that got her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that had killed most of America’s children, but she and the others emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they could not control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. She is on the run, desperate to find the only safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who have 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 having a life worth living.

One of the greatest feelings in the world at least the book blogging world, is starting a book with high expectations and then being able to finish said book, with an even greater amount of excitement. I’m not going to beat around the bush. The Darkest Minds rocked! From start to finish my hands were glued to this book and my eyes to the pages. I couldn’t get enough!

The Story: Bracken proves that there’s still plenty of originality left in the dystopian genre having crafted an incredibly original tale of (future) disarray, destruction, subjection and fear. The world in DM is so large and full of possibilities. With so many different organizations/groups at play, you never really know who to trust, or who’s the bad guy. The plot is very twisty at times. Just when you think that you’re safe, you realize you’re not, or vice versa. Bracken throws out a lot of false trails, continually and successfully leading us down wrong paths.

The Main Character: I had quite the love-hate relationship when it came to Ruby. On one hand I found her incredibly naive. Having firsthand witnessed Thurmond’s cruel treatment and quite literally laughable ”rehabilitation” methods, you’d think that Ruby wouldn’t be so quick to trust. Unfortunately that’s not the case due to the fact that she makes a lot of stupid mistakes. These mainly involve trusting anyone who promises to help, save or protect her. Ruby is flawed for sure, but the parts of her that shine the brightest are the good parts, like her huge heart and budding determination. She grows a lot throughout the story. In the beginning you find a girl too scared to stand up for herself, let alone anyone else. By the end, Ruby is ready to strike down whoever tries to comes at her or especially, her friends.

Supporting Characters: A lot of DM‘s strength comes from its core group of supporting characters. Unlike many books that feature their S.C. in the background, DM‘s remain constantly upfront, thickening and propelling the story forward. Each one, Suzume, Chubs and especially Liam, burst with strong individuality. Their quirky, irritable yet hilarious and charming personalities (in that order) fill out this book with emotion. No characters fall flat in DM because they are all carefully constructed and considerably utilized.

The Romance: Sigh! Swoon! Drool! You name it!!! Since the description makes mention I don’t feel spoilery for saying that there is a lot of lurve brewing between Ruby and my dear, Liam. Besides the fact that I personally want to transport into DM‘s world and snatch Liam for myself, the chemistry between Ruby and Liam is just so damn powerful. Watching their relationship slowly (sometimes painstakingly) build, kept me hooked the whole way through. What I like is seeing love not being told there’s love. DM excels at this. You won’t see any pre-mature “I love you!” and “I love you tos!” Instead you get the story of two people, having met under incredible and horrific circumstances, learning to trust and lean on one another through dangerous after dangerous situation, and finally realizing that their feelings of friendship branch deeper and stronger.

Because at times the story did slow down and it was a bit of a struggle to get through, I give The Darkest Minds 4.5 stakes. I’m so bummed that it’s going to be a year before book two comes out. After the mind-blowing cliffhanger in DM and Ruby’s new-found realization and determination I CANNOT wait for the book(s) to follow.