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.
The Darkest Minds takes place in a dystopian reality. Where children who possess certain talents are taken away from their homes and placed under the care of the government. Locked away in containment facilities surnamed “rehabilitation camps” all the children are colour coded by power. Ruby, our protagonist is an orange. Maybe the last orange in existence. Ruby is plagued by doubt, regret and guilt rooted in previous actions concerning her uncontrollable abilities. She stays under the radar at Thurmond, until it is no longer safe.
There is a certain vulnerability to Ruby. She is afraid of the unpredictability of her powers and the danger she presents to those around her. She tries to stay isolated in the hopes that minimizing contact will minimise the risk of harming others. However, Ruby has no problem using her abilities against those who wish to harm her and the ones she cares for. When the need arose she had no qualms about knocking out a few bad guys and using her powers to manipulate them. There is a good dose of romance, however, for a good portion of the novel the budding romance is overshadowed by Ruby’s needling fears and doubts about her inability to control her talents.
Overall I enjoyed the novel. It was fast paced and brought together a lot of elements I enjoy seeing in young adult literature. Such as a diverse group of characters, a corrupt government, a growing protagonist, plot twists, betrayals, romance and the depiction of the loss of childhood in a dystopian society.
There were times when Ruby’s lack of leadership mentality grew to frustrate me. Nonetheless, the ending of the novel more than made up for it. Ruby’s reaction to their predicament at the end of the novel (I will refrain from bestowing you with the grittier details of said predicament) made my spine tingle in anticipation for the sequel. The author has set us up for what I hope will be an intense second instalment.
This novel proved to be a very interesting read where abnormal powers were found in children and teens. They were captured and sent to special programs and facilities all over America. I found it interesting that although Ruby started at the beginning by being a rather depressed character always seeming to feel sorry for herself. By the end of the novel she proved to be a rather strong female character who demonstrated her dedication and determination to help save these imprisoned children and improving her abnormal capabilities. One aspect of the book i found to be unoriginal is the overall plot seemed very basic although the story of the characters were still interesting the plot was rather dry. I found the end to be the best point in the novel as is was the one surprising event that occurred thought-out the novel. Overall i would recommend this book for a raining day or just to read over the course of a few weeks.