Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Darkest Minds - Alexandra Bracken

The Darkest Minds Alexandra Bracken book cover
The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
Series: The Darkest Minds #1
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publication Date: December 18, 2012
Source: BEA 2012 || ARC
[I received this book from the publisher. This in no way affects the opinions expressed in this review.]

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. (from Goodreads)

It is so hard for me to put into words how much I loved The Darkest Minds. I started reading it not knowing what to expect, but it really blew me away. The writing, the story, these characters - these elements were all combined together to create this amazing, dark and gripping tale. It was so thrilling that I had the hardest time setting it down, and thus flew through the pages of my ARC fairly quickly.

I love how this author is not afraid to embrace the complete and absolute truth of her story - which just so happens to be incredibly dark. It's not just the atmospherics of this ruined, rundown world, but even the government, the organizations and the people that are a part of it. Everything was tinged with a hint of darkness, even the most innocent of things, and that definitely lent to the feeling that this world was (or could be) real - and that it would be very, very scary if it was.

The story revolves mostly around the children and how their futures are either going to take them down one of two paths - they will either die at a certain age, or they will gain abilities that make them powerful and different. While we never truly discover what led to this phenomenon, that did not take away from my fascination with this book. The sorting system, the various organizations (all with different end goals in mind), the state of the relations between adults and kids - all these things were very interesting, and very uniquely executed.

Ruby is a very strong main character, and her voice stayed steady and consistent throughout this novel. Her emotions felt like they were jumping off of the page, which was understandable considering the horror and trauma that she had to live through. She's such a good, vulnerable person at her very core though, and I think that's what made it easy for me to like her.

It is also very easy to fall in love with the band of misfits that she falls in with - Liam, Chubs and Suzume. The dynamic between the four of them is just so good. They were like a little family, all "us against the world", and their relationships were an essential part of this story. Even though their acceptance of each other started out as something grudgingly given, they eventually hit a point where they all were really one tight-knit team.

There's romance in this book, and surprisingly, I thought it was really, really cute. I certainly felt like there was a little bit of insta-love to it, but it came across as believable because both are teenagers with uncertain futures and deep traumas in their past. I love how they cared for one another so deeply, and it was just so lovely to read about.

There are interesting twists and turns, both literally and emotionally, and I got to a point where I give up and let the story take me where it would. While I still am unsure about which side I would personally pick, the author did a great job making it clear what the objectives and actual results of each organization were.

The only reservations I have about sharing this story with anyone is just because it's a lot darker than most novels. The subject matter is a bit heavy, the body count is high and the things that go on made me uncomfortable even as I was reading. But if you're willing to submerge yourself into this darkness and lose yourself in such a bleak reality, then this book will appeal to you.

This novel blew me away with its strong world-building, dynamic characters and action-packed story. While it contains some dark moments indeed, I am looking forward to seeing what happens next to these characters (especially after that ending that tore my heart into a million pieces!). The storytelling is incredible and haunting, and it's one of the books I really enjoyed reading this year.

17 comments:

  1. WOW. Every review I read about this book makes it sound more and more fantastic. Is it bad to say that I'm excited to find out more about what you mean by the 'dark moments' in this book? I like when YA pushes boundaries and it seems like this one does. I also don't mind insta-love if it is well written and realistic. Bonds can definitely be formed quickly in intense circumstances.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This might not be dark in the way you'd think. It felt dark to me, considering how twisted things end up being... But I do hope you get to read this one soon!

      Delete
  2. Replies
    1. I hope you read it! It's a pretty interesting book, and it's dark but in an unexpected way :)

      Delete
  3. I need to read this now! I love the band-of-misfits arc and I don't mind books that are darker at all. This seems great!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The band-of-misfits is definitely a big part of this book, so I'm sure you'll like that part. I hope you get a chance to read it!

      Delete
  4. I really enjoyed this book as well, especially the characters. Bring on the sequel! Great review!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agreed. I'm wondering how the author is going to continue this story, and what will happen to Ruby!

      Delete
  5. Well you already know how much I loved this book :) It is really dark but I think it did have its bright moments. Like the little family she forms with the other kids (really loved this) and of course, Liam. I can't wait for the sequel!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Liam <3 I need that sequel like NOW!

      Delete
  6. this book is so bleak but worth it! i'm impressed and now curious about brightly woven, which i heard has a different vibe. wonderful review. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm very curious about the next book in this series, and can't wait for it to come out!

      Delete
  7. Great review! I really need to read The Darkest Minds, clearly. I also like how the author isn't afraid to shy away from the darkness that should be present in a dystopian novel. And who doesn't like to cheer for a group of kids against the world?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Who doesn't, indeed. I hope you get a chance to read this one! It's pretty great :)

      Delete
  8. Also crazy excited to read this one! This review is great! I love your descriptions and minor fangirling. It just makes me want to get on the bandwagon even sooner. I love the cover, too. It's kind of simple, but it does communicate that darkness you were describing.

    ReplyDelete
  9. This book kind of reminds of Graceling by Kristin Cashore. But mind reading and controlling was an ability in Graceling also. And people are also identified through their abilities in both books. ;) And both have awesome romance in it. ;D

    Cleo Rogers (Auto Detail)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Absolutely loved this book, it's a little bit dark and definitely isn't the book you want to read if you're looking for something to cheer you up, but somehow it just works. Not a lot else i can't say that won't give things away, so I'll just say read it, you won't regret it.
    Best Diesel Repairs visit site

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for leaving a comment! I love seeing what you have to say, and will try to reply (here or on Twitter) as soon as I can :)

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...