THE DARKEST MINDS
SERIES: The Darkest Minds #1 | OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES: Never Fade #2 (Release Date: October 15th 2013)
AUTHOR: Alexandra Bracken
PUBLISHED: December 18th 2012 by Disney Hyperion
ACQUIRED: Borrowed | Library
EDITION: Hardcover, 488 pages
CATEGORIES: Young Adult, Sci-Fi, Paranormal, Romance, Adventure, Dystopian, 5 Star Rating, Disney Hyperion, Alexandra Bracken, Series Book 1, The Darkest Minds, Review
RATING: 5.00/5.00 | GOODREADS RATING: 4.26/5.00
WHAT THE BACK OF THE BOOK SAYS: 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.
MY THOUGHTS: Holy cow, guys! This book seriously was more than I ever imagined it would be! Not that I didn’t have high expectations or anything like that, I’m just saying I went in hoping to like it, but came out LOVING IT!
Can we talk about Ruby, our main character who tells the story from her POV, for just a sec? I adore her. Truly, I feel like we are BFFs now, and she is telling her story directly to me, just me, like it’s a well-guarded secret. Ruby on page one is not the same Ruby on page 488, that’s for sure. The situations she encounters, the emotions she experiences that she never knew were possible make her into one of my favorite heroines by the time I closed the book after the last page. Ruby is a very selfless person who cares so deeply for others that it could be considered one of her flaws. She wants to think the best of everyone, even when they prove unworthy of her trust. She still believes there is good in people, which she chides Liam for at times.
Besides Ruby, we spend time getting to know Liam, Chubs, and Zu. This is one dynamic foursome, let me tell you! From younger, nonspeaking Zu, to strong, level-headed Liam, and blind as a bat Chubs we get to experience their joys and sorrows, their happiness and their setbacks. Each character is so wonderfully created with such love and detail that you literally feel like you’re in Black Betty (their minivan) with them as they try to find East River.
The pacing of the book is fast, flying by page after page with no lags or slow parts. There’s continuous action, lots of adventure, and so many anger inducing, tear jerking, want to throw the book against the wall because that SO did NOT just happen moments that it’s like you’re on an emotional roller coaster while you’re reading. From run ins with PSFs, to run ins with The Children’s League, to moments where one of them uses their superpowers or has them used against them, it’s constant up and down, oh my god moments.
The relationships between characters is very real and tangible. Nothing ever feels forced or awkward – even moments between Ruby and Clancy (Which, yeah, can’t wait to read more of, because I know we haven’t seen the last of Clancy, that weasel!) It was very refreshing to see the relationship between Ruby and Liam grow and wasn’t any of that insta-love. While both knew they had feelings for each other, they took their time (Thank you, Miss Bracken, seriously. Thank you!) getting to really know and trust each other, and even then it was stolen kisses that they shared in moments of fear and worry. There is still so much more to their relationship that we haven’t even seen yet, so I am extremely anxious to find out where they take their relationship in the next book(s)… especially with how the book ended.
As easy as it is to hate Clancy, it is also him we can thank for the strength and confidence that Ruby develops by books end. She’s managed to learn how to somewhat control, or harness and use her powers. While she still struggles with keeping her distance so that she doesn’t accidentally erase herself from people’s memories, Ruby is also able to grow her confidence in her abilities as well. She’s also learned to fend for herself, and to rely only on herself and not trust anyone until they’ve proven to be trustworthy.
I would recommend this book to absolutely any- and everyone on the face of the planet. Even if you typically do not read paranormal or dystopian, I beg of you, give this book a whirl! You will not be disappointed. (And if you are.. well, then I am sorry. lol)
SIMILAR READS: Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes | False Memory by Dan Krokos | Beta by Rachel Cohn | Black City by Elizabeth Richards | Renegade by J.A. Souders
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Alexandra Bracken wrote Brightly Woven as a birthday present for a friend, and the story grew and flourished during a year of unpredictable, wild weather. A native of Arizona, she is a recent graduate of the College of William and Mary, where she majored in History and English. She now lives in New York City.