The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken is the first in a YA dystopian trilogy. A strange plague like illness has swept through all under eighteen-year olds with many dying suddenly. Those children lucky enough to survive aren’t so lucky after all when its discovered they have changed and now have special abilities and the government take them away from their families and put them in camps for the ‘public’s safety’. There they are colour coded by how dangerous their powers are and forced to work long hours on menial labour so they are too beaten down to rebel.
Ruby was 10 when the illness first killed a girl in her class. Before she knew it she was one of the only ones left. When Ruby reaches the camp she manages to ‘convince’ her tester that she is a green, a low ability, low threat kid who could be mostly left alone. And for 6 years Ruby mostly is. But she knows that her ability to convince people to do what she wants them to do isn’t a green trait but an orange one, the second most dangerous kids in the camp, and is living in constant fear she will be found out.
And then Ruby gets out, and finds the world outside isn’t quite the one she remembered.
Cue the road trip music.
I read this book in a day last week, once I had gotten into it there was no putting it down. It was one of those books where I had picked it up a few times and gotten a chapter or so in but not found all that amazing and then put back down. If you’ve been doing this then PICK IT BACK UP. There’s a cut off point, a scene like 8 chapters in (that I won’t reveal for fear of spoiling you) and I could actually hear the shift in my brain, something clicked, and suddenly I was so into the book. That was it for me; I was hooked.
I did find Ruby annoying at times, but you know what it was okay- it wasn’t unbearable or anything. Ruby and I are clearly different people who would make very different decisions but that didn’t take away from the enjoyment I found in this book, maybe it added to it because I was often surprised at the way Ruby dealt with things; she can be unpredictable and I like that.
Also there’s this guy called Liam… who is basically one of the best male characters ever. I love him already and we are only one book in. He’s just not an overbearing possessive asshat nor is he a really cute shy poetry writing guy. He’s like in the middle, and I love that he is so different (YA always seems to have one or the other, why?) it was really refreshing.
The whole cast of characters was refreshing really. Here are kids with real issues and real emotions and different personalities and they where all so well rounded I felt like I knew them by the end of the book. Ahhh, I’m all over the place. Can you tell I liked this book and have no idea how to express that in words?
Bottom line: look I have done dystopian before, I read the hunger games like everyone else in 2009 and liked that and recently I’ve read dystopian-like books like The Lunar Chronicles which is like sci-fi fantasy more so then dystopian really but I’ve had bug problems with this genre before. I didn’t get on with Divergent as hard as I tried and all the other dystopian novels I’ve tried to read, like Angel fall and Matched, I didn’t really like enough to continue on the next book- but I am back in business now; The Darkest Minds has saved me from my fear of dystopia and cured my avoidance of them. I will 100% be reading Never Fade (finally made it to the second book of a dystopian series, yay for me) as soon as I can get my hands on it.
I’m giving this 4 ½ ice creams, it’s been given an extra half because of its curing abilities and the enjoyment it gave me. The characterisation was great, the storyline is intriguing and I can’t wait to see what happens next! (though to all you people who’ve read it already my heart also hurts like someone is gripping it when I think about the ending, thanks for that).