Monday, December 1, 2014

REVIEW: The Darkest Minds 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.


I've read enough dystopian by this point to recognize the similarity in concepts and situations: a catastrophic event sends the entire globe into disarray + (a now) corrupt government takes dramatic measures to assuage the damage and create new laws/rules/restrictions + an obvious or underground rebellion is created to revolt these new rules + the ONE person (typically female) who will succeed in claiming victory and redistribute happiness and "normalcy" to all. I get it, it's been tried, and now the struggle is apparent as authors try to keep their own dystopian stories fresh and different from the rest. Alexandra Bracken took that challenge, and won the hell out it. I turned the last page of The Darkest Minds about 4-5 books ago, yet I'm writing this review like I haven't read another plot since-it's STILL lingering in my mind. 

I want to say that it was brave. It took what a lot of other dystopians out there shy away from, and shoved it in our faces. I literally took gulps of air between chapters, so little time was spent remembering to breathe. The Darkest Minds was non-stop until the end, with just enough downtime to seriously get you into the minds of it's characters. I'm afraid I'm going to be using the word "literally" a lot in this review, but if I was asked to literally pick out the characters in this book from a crowd, I could do it-that's how distinct and real they felt to me. They spoke out loud from the book; I heard their voices in my head, and felt the fear in the very centres of their beings.

Ruby was in a league of her own in terms of strong, female leads. Alike my beloved Katness Everdeen, Ruby cared for little else than protecting the people she was with, and keeping her eye on the end goal. Hormones raced, as is expected (it is Young Adult, after all), but not anywhere close to the point where I was questioning her sanity. It was an attraction born from something genuine, and sure, and innocent. With the entire country dead set on destroying her kind, it was easy to find pleasure in the the connections Ruby made with the people she cared about.

The world building was solid. So solid that I didn't even realize I had questions until they were being answered, and then I DID have questions, and those were answered too. It's a mark of a fantastic author, one who anticipates the questions her readers might have, and ANSWERS them. Ms Bracken, you are golden, and there pretty much isn't a single thing you write that I won't purchase and read.

Recommended for fans of: YA Fiction, Sci-Fi, Dystopian, The Hunger Games Trilogy, The Divergent Trilogy.




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