Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Review: The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds, #1) by Alexandra Bracken

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.
A lot of pressure was riding on this series opener after Bracken got such an impressive response from her debut novel, Brightly Woven.  It was one I loved so much that after a few years I'm still wishing that it had a sequel.  Not all authors can live up to that kind of a challenge and become remembered as having a great debut novel, but not much else.  I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that being the case, sometimes an author has enough material for one great book, and that's more than I've ever come up with, so no judgement is coming from this direction.   But I will admit that it still becomes a disappoint when I've fallen in love with the way an author writes, or the way they're able to shape their characters so fully that I have no choice but to fall in love with them instantly, and then later not get to enjoy the same experience in a new book by the same author all over again.  Any reader can relate to this feeling.
I'm not sure how she can keep up this level of talent, but Bracken managed to create yet another world and group of characters that were irresistible, and this girl isn't complaining!  On top of her unique world and creative characters, she managed to break into the dystopian genre with a fresh take and one that was all too believable if you ask me.  So many dystopians out on the shelves now days are fantastic but contain premises that no matter how exciting and engaging just never feel possible or realistic in any way...not the case for Bracken and this series opener.  She portrays the big bad government in just the right way so that anyone who is in any way familiar with the way things are run on the politic spectrum can actually see something like this developing in the future.  I'm hoping we can avoid something of this nature, but Bracken sure left me with a few serious doubts and more than an occasional bad feeling when it comes to experimentation just for starters.
This is a book where readers will have no choice but to become emotionally invested and fully engaged from page one all the way through until the bitter end.  And when I say bitter end, I'm not exaggerating...Bracken crafted a cliffhanger that had me over the moon that I already was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy of the sequel, because if I had to wait even a second longer to see where things would pick up I might have gone over the deep end.
For readers out there who are familiar with Bracken's work and loved it as much as I did, do yourself a favor and pick up this first installment, because I honestly can't imagine how it could disappoint anyone in even the slightest way.  My hat is off to Bracken and I can't wait to see where she plans to take her readers next!


  1. I'm so happy to hear that The Darkest Minds lives up the Brightly Woven. I've been hesitant to start it for fear that I wouldn't like it. I'll definitely be reading it soon. Lovely review!

    -Taylor @ Reading is the Thing

  2. I've heard so many great things about this series. I hope I can find time to read it one day soon.



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