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The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

The Darkest Minds (edition 2012)

by Alexandra Bracken

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4565522,833 (4.05)7
Title:The Darkest Minds
Authors:Alexandra Bracken
Info:Hyperion Book CH (2012), Hardcover, 496 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken




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I'll skip the summary and just get to my thoughts on this book.

First off, it took me a good while to get invested in this story - exactly 171 pages, if I want to be precise. But, for some reason, as soon as it was revealed that Liam was responsible for breaking Zu and Chubs, as well as other children, out of their prison camp, I was completely on board for some reason.

I really enjoyed the relationships between all four of the major characters. Although there is a romantic element to the story, it doesn't overwhelm the reader. The budding friendships between Ruby and Zu, as well as Ruby and Chubs, were just as well developed as the relationship between Liam and Ruby. And I really liked that Liam was more "beta" in this book; it seems that a lot of dystopian novels have a super alpha male lead, but Liam was caring and emotional, taking his failures to heart and always wanting to do better.

As for the Slip Kid...aka Clancy Gray...I didn't like him from the start, and it wasn't surprising to me that he turned out to be a "baddie." The East River camp just ran too smoothly for him not to be shaping minds and attitudes, especially since everyone in Ruby's group already knew that he was an Orange. Ruby, above all, really should have realized that he was doing more than he let on to the others, especially when he had her "playing" with the minds of other kids in the camp for "practice."

Even though this book was published in 2012, I somehow, miraculously, managed to somehow remain unspoiled, and I'm glad that I did. Chubs! What happened to him? :( And Ruby erasing Liam's memories of her...ahhhhhh...I knew that she was going to do that, but I still literally screamed out loud when she did it. It reminded me a lot of scene in X-Men First Class when Charles mindwipes Moira, and I pretty much had the same reaction in the movie theater.

I'm looking forward to reading the next two books in the series, as well as the novellas interspersed between them. ( )
  schatzi | Sep 7, 2014 |
I felt too confused at first to really get into it, but it did get better as it went. ( )
  Mirandalg14 | Aug 18, 2014 |
*No spoilers.

This is a hard review to write. I enjoyed this book, but so much of what I enjoyed is spoiler material, so I find myself grasping for things to say that could convey my jumble of feelings. I’ll mercifully try to keep it to the point.

This book was a bit disarming. I read the synopsis, so I had an inkling of what to expect, but once I started reading, my expectations and the reality were very different. The premise is pretty implausible, but Bracken’s execution made it easy to overlook that.

This was a dark and scary world. I don’t want to live in Ruby’s world. The more I read, the more uneasy I became, because I never knew what was going to come at me/Ruby next. I never once felt “safe” and that worked for me. It kept it interesting. Personally, I like dark reads – the darker, the better. I prefer them to lighthearted ones, so keep that in mind when trying to decide if this is a book you’d like to read.

I appreciated Bracken’s writing style. Often, authors will dump a crapload of info on you in order to set up their world, but Bracken gives it to you a little at a time. This has the added bonus of making the aforementioned darkness easier to digest. You get snippets here and there that paint a pretty grim picture, but when the time comes to really get Ruby’s story, it’s pretty brutal. There will be no coddling.

I’m on the fence about Ruby. For the most part, I thought her story and circumstances were tragic, but just when I’d start warming up to her, she’d do something stupid. She made a lot of mistakes. It became more and more frustrating and it was hard to accept a lot of her choices. Conversely, you need to keep in mind that she was removed from her home at 10 and she spent 6 years being physically battered and severely mentally and emotionally abused at an internment camp. It’s easy for me to see what choices she should have made, but I wasn’t in her shoes. She’s little more than a child in a teen’s body and her lack of love, guidance, and education made it easier for me to overlook some of her follies and ultimately cut her some slack.

While a lot of things in this book will make your heart and mind race, I did find it to be a bit long. I felt like it didn’t really hit its stride until about the midway point. I was pleased that for the first half, there was little to no focus on romance. I knew it was coming, but at least there was no insta-love, so hallelujah. When the romance did finally come, I wasn’t overly impressed with it or the love interest, but at least he’s not a douchebag, so again, hallelujah.

There were a couple of side characters that, for me, really made the story. They seemed to burrow themselves right into my cold, black heart and I was emotionally invested in them from beginning to end. I ran the gamut of emotions with these two, from laughter to tears. Had they not flanked Ruby and her love interest throughout the story, I would have enjoyed this a lot less.

Be forewarned, this book ends on a brutal cliffhanger. The fates of all the major players hang in the balance, so if you’re not a cliffhanger type of person, you may want to wait for book #2, which is slated to be released in December 2013.

In conclusion, this is a solid story and in comparison to the generic YA that’s out there, this is a very solid story.

For more of my reviews, visit my blog:

( )
  JennyJen | Aug 14, 2014 |
Read the full review here.

Bracken is incredibly talented. She used fresh metaphors that had me marking the pages to read later. Her description of action helped the scenes read as fast paced as they would be if it were reality and not on the page. Also, there is no off-putting info dump. Whenever we’re given information, it’s always relevant to a scene or Ruby’s thoughts or feelings.

Ruby is a wonderful character. She’s naive about some things, but in other ways she’s matured well beyond her age (thanks to her experiences in Thurmond). While she doesn’t always make the best decisions, she is always well intentioned. That’s something I can respect. I can understand why she erased Liam's memories, even though I wish she hadn't. I love how passionate, caring, and strong she is.

Liam, our dear Liam, is a sweetie. The relationship between him and Ruby seems so natural and realistic. Bracken gives us details like them holding hands or sitting together. These moments are quiet, but the emphasis she places on them made them incredibly important and sweet.

Chubs and Zu are amazing. Zu is a feisty little thing who’s been through a lot already at her young age. To read about her being excited about dresses and pink was honestly so great. Chubs, the arrogant but loyal bookworm is hard to like at first but always easy to understand.

Obviously, the construction of the characters is top-notch.

Overall, The Darkest Minds is a fantastic book. It’s got a good mix of action, sci-fi, romance, and so much more. ( )
  CaitlinAC | Aug 10, 2014 |
"The darkest minds tend to hide behind the most unlikely places."



When I started this book, I thought that it would be an easy read. That it would be just like any other book in it's genre. No. I was very wrong. It was very far from that. I didn't know that I'll be signing up in a very intense, catastrophic read. After reading this, I can't do anything else but to sit still and stare into space. I'm a freaking wreck.

Let me tell you my thoughts about the characters of the book:

RUBY. She has an extraordinary ability just like any other kids in the story but she's one of the strongest, the most dangerous. I laughed, hurt and even cried with her. Everything that she went through was so not easy and I'm at awe by how brave she was. And selfless that made her basically one of the most heroines I loved. The thing about the choice she made in the end just UGHHH! I absolutely understand her but it doesn't make it hurt any less. Yup. You heard, I mean read, that right! I am hurting. I've become so emotionally invested in this book.

LIAM. Oh my gosh. (I can't even type his name without tearing up!) I harbored a little crush on him. I mean, who wouldn't? He was so adorable. I mean, remember the socks? The orange? *sigh* I admire his optimism, he's will to make everything right by giving everything that he could. I also admire his kindness. He's perf, nuff said.

"Did you know...you make me so happy that sometimes I forgot how to breathe? I'll be looking at you and my chest would go so tight ...and it's like the only thought in my head is how much I want to reach over and kiss you."

I don't know why I cried in this part but I did. You see, I'm an emotional wreck.

CHARLES. He's like Liam's bestfriend. He hesitated at first in letting Ruby join them. I understand him. But when he loosened up and finally accepted Ruby in their group, I've grown attached to him. I cried when I thought that he's going to die. I cried when the letter he wrote was read.

SUZUME. She was so adorable! Seriously, she's like the light in their darkness. I honestly love her and I really wish that she would talk already and overcome what's keeping her from doing it. I would protect her myself, if I could.

CLANCY. I liked Clancy at first. Seriously, I thought he's going to be like Warner in The Shatter Me but I was so wrong. What the hell? He's creepy and controlling and absolutely horrible. HE MADE ME DOUBT MY LOVE FOR LIAM FOR ABOUT TWO SECONDS. UGH. I can't believe I liked him.I'm just so glad he taught Ruby something useful.

I loved that this book is filled with pretty intense, action-packed scenes and it never, not eeven once, bore me. It held my attention from the start to finish. The plot was awesome. Okay, enough said.

I'm so freaking ruined right now. I can't stand the fact that Ruby would be shaped into a monster. I am pissed at her a little when she pressed the panic button. I mean, from the beginning, i was conveying my message to her to get rid of that cursed button by shouting!! But I can't hate her. It seems like the best thing to do. But #@?$;&/8&?$;/ it was so sad. It was definitely heartbreaking.

The ending. It broke my heart into million little pieces. My poor Liam. I MEAN, WHAT THE HELL? I honestly have a thing against authors right now trying to do everything to break us. To leave us being this miserable.

But if i didn't make myself clear enough, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this book!! I recommend this book to everyone. EVERYONE! I mean, who the hell in their right minds would rate this book other than 5 stars? I can't believe I didn't read this sooner. Pick up this book right now. I promise you that you won't regret it. I need to read the second book right now or I'll lose it. ( )
  margaraawr | Aug 8, 2014 |
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"Sixteen-year-old Ruby breaks out of a government-run 'rehabilitation camp' for teens who acquired dangerous powers after surviving a virus that wiped out most American children"--

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