September 4, 2013

BOOK REVIEW | The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds, #1)

Author: Alexandra Bracken (Twitter)
Series: The Darkest Minds #1
Genre: dystopian
Published by: Disney Hyperion in December 2012

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. 

After hearing so many good things about this series, I couldn’t just not read it… And so I did and I enjoyed reading this book because even though the start is a little slow-ish (it’s not that bad though) and talks about how the main character, Ruby, ended up in this rehabilitation camp for kids with special abilities. But once the story switched to the present there is not a single moment that isn’t either action, action, action or suspenseful to the max. That’s what I liked most about the book: it’s a whirlwind of action. The other part I liked about the book were the characters.

Ruby, the protagonist, got thrown in a rehabilitation camp at the age of 10 until she could escape at the age of 16. Another important thing to know: the camp she was in seems to be the most severe of all of ‘em (or at least as far as we know). In the beginning when we meet her, she’s quite defenseless, she doesn’t stick up for herself, never talks back, etc. But throughout the book you can see her change into a strong, young female. At first she’s afraid of herself and what she can do with her abilities but in the end she’s almost proud at what she can do.

Then there’s Liam, who’s the love interest in this book. I didn’t see much character development on his side but he is a caring guy who thinks that he’s responsible for every kid that’s put in a rehabilitation camp and he wants to set them all free. It’s like he almost feels guilty all these kids are locked up when it’s not his fault at all. He also sees the good in everything which is quite uplifting in this book because let’s face it: they are constantly on the run or hiding for their enemies.
His companion, Chubs, isn’t too keen on the idea of having Ruby in ‘the team’ at first because he doesn’t trust her or just anyone he doesn’t know. That all changes after a while though and they grow pretty close. Chubs is an awesome character and I liked him a lot.
Suzume is the fourth member of ‘the team’, as Liam would call it. When we first meet her she seems a very scared, little girl but we soon learn she is quite the opposite. She can control and use her abilities very well for an eleven year old.

Throughout this book I sometimes got a Shatter Me- vibe. There are some similaries between these two books being that there are kids with special abilities, that people are scared of them and that the society they live in isn’t exactly the best there is. I’m not saying it’s a rip-off because that’s absolutely not the case. All I’m saying is that Alexandra Bracken might have been inspired by it. I’ve also heard that it has been compared to X-Men but I don’t know anything about that so I can’t tell you if it’s true or not. My opinion on the concept of this book is that on one side it’s very original and on the other side it’s not that original at all. I felt familiar with the special powers but then I also felt the excitement of reading a new story.

I know a lot of people got their hearts torn out of their chests and had it trampled on. I feel you. I didn’t see that ending coming at all, though once we got there I knew what would happen even though I wished so hard it wouldn’t. It just… makes you want Never Fade right now and it makes you want to devour it to see what will happen to these awesome characters. Literally every single one of the main characters has experienced something in the last couple of pages that just makes you want to freaking scream. Alexandra Bracken is the master of cliffhangers. After Rick Riordan. He’s forever in first place.

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