Title: The Darkest Minds
Series: The Darkest Minds, #1
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Genre: Dystopian, YA
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release Date: December 18th, 2012
Length: 488 pages | 13 hours 59 minutes
Source: Gifted to me by Cyra at Rattle the Pages
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.
This was one of those books I had a difficult time putting down. The concept is not entirely new (dystopian future as a result of biochemical sudden evolution and catastrophic decisions made by a panicked populace), and though it bothered me that no one questioned WHY or HOW the psi powers could have happened, it was entirely understandable that they didn’t, given everything else going on. Except Chubs. Why didn’t Chubs mull it over?
Ruby is the MC and narrator, but by the end of the novel it’s an ensemble cast. She’s the kind of heroine you like but not the kind who is universally liked- she’s vulnerable and persistent and can think on her feet, but she’s also spiky and naive. I had no problem coming along for the ride, with her perspective. Zu is the least-developed, primarily because her backstory is an intentional mystery. I’m really hoping that means we see more of her in later books, although the way this one ended….*ahem*
Liam is, as he’s meant to be, amazing and swoon-worthy. And Chubs goes from over-the-top snide to understandable and sweet throughout the course of the book. Everyone else serves as a plot point, but it works.
Although I was invested in the book, I wasn’t emotionally torn open by it (as I am with Patrick Ness’ books, and a few others). Which is fine- I don’t have the energy for that kind of literary evisceration. But I have to say, the ending was surprisingly brutal. No spoilers, but don’t think you’ll be putting the book down with three chapters to go, I don’t care how late it is.
Overall, I recommend it for fans of dystopian, especially if you like some science fiction in there (think X-Men), fast-paced YA, realistic romance (even though Liam was maybe *too* perfect, the pace of the romance was sweet, realistic, and well-balanced with the peril), and flawed heroines. Now to get my grubby paws on book 2!