Title: The Darkest Minds
Author: Alexandra Braken
Published: December 18th, 2012
Buy The Book: Amazon/Barnes and Noble
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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.
So, I had some high expectations going into this one, I had heard some really great things about this book but, for some reason I just never got around to reading it, and when it came on sale for a kindle daily deal I knew that I had no more excuses and I had to pick it up. I love dystopian so much so going into it I figured it would be a good fit for me and honestly I had my up and downs throughout my time reading this one. I would think I had a idea of how I wanted to rate it and then something would happen that would make me enjoy it even more and something else would happen that would make me want to rate it lower again. I liked the fact that my emotions and thoughts throughout this one went up and down because I feel like sometimes when I read books how you feel about the book, plot, and characters stays the same and nothing that happens changes it and that was definitely not the case for me with The Darkest Minds, and it had me feeling so many different emotions throughout the story.
Ruby is just your average ten year old girl, but everything changes for her on that fateful day. She knew that things weren’t right with the kids in the United States overall, she knew that kids from her own class were getting sick and dying faster than anyone would have expected. The disease was mysterious and unknown, but on her tenth birthday when Ruby wakes up her parents don’t remember her and they get her picked up and shipped off to one of the many Rehabilitation camps in the country, she gets taken to a camp called Thurmond. Ruby doesn’t understand what’s wrong with her or why her parents don’t remember her but, she does know that she has to protect herself at all costs. The disease manifests itself in different ways depending on the kid, from moving things with their mind, to mind control and being able to control fire. Each kid depending on it’s abilities is categorized by a color from the lowest being blue, green, yellow, red to orange being the highest and what they consider the most dangerous. Ruby convinces the doctor that she is one of the lower colors knowing that somehow they can’t know about her abilities. Ruby is at Thurmond until she is 16 years old when with the help of a terrorist group called The Children’s League, she is smuggled out of the camp but, everyone is not what they seem and for Ruby the real adventure begins, one she could have never expected. When she is alone and on her own she comes across a group of kids just like her Liam, Chubbs, and Zu.
Ruby’s character changed so much throughout the course of this story, I know that sometimes people say that about a lot of characters but with Ruby I really felt like we got to see it firsthand. I felt like we got to see who she truly is because she was in so many dire situations with her back against the wall and I feel like that is really when you get to see who somebody is. I at times felt so sad while I was reading because I was trying to imagine what Ruby’s life must have been like, she went from being a woman to a young girl all in this horrible camp and she didn’t really seem to understand what all of that meant and she didn’t get to have the kind of life a regular 16 year old girl got to have. When she meets up with Liam and the gang she really seems in awe of the bond that the three of them at formed together and she is very hesitant for most of the book at being a part of their group, she is hiding what she is and what she can do just like she has done for her whole life and she doesn’t know how to open up to people because she never got the real chance to. When the group finally reaches the East River I felt like Ruby finally became more comfortable with who she was and what she could do although when she was at the camp I never completely trusted the people she was with and I had definite feelings about a certain character that won’t be named but, I really disliked him a lot.
Liam, who is Ruby’s love interest and basically the leader of their group was an interesting character to say the least. He was definitely the strongest of them all in my opinion and he never hesitated during any situation and he definitely seemed ready to sacrifice himself for the greater good of the group if it was needed. He was so sweet to Ruby and he took things slow and I really felt like the feelings they had for each other grew and I felt like their chemistry was real and believable.
Zu and Chubbs were great secondary characters that I couldn’t help but love. Zu was a young girl who never spoke but, she became attached to Ruby quickly and was the one to save her in the first place. She loved finding pretty clothes for them to wear and was just completely adorable. Chubbs did not warm up to Ruby like everyone else and he definitely seemed like he was the most cautious of the group which was definitely needed when they really weren’t sure who they could trust. He was determined to get back to his family and he loved to read and write and I he was definitely the one who gave me the most laughs throughout the book.
Overall, The Darkest Minds was great, I loved getting to see a character start as a young girl and find out who she is and who she really wants to be. Bracken created such a broken world and I am hopefully going to start the Never Fade audiobook soon because I can’t wait to continue on with this series and see what happens next!
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