“The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds #1)” by Alexandra Bracken
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Science Fiction, Dystopia
Summary from Goodreads:
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’m always a fan of books with special powers. I always find it interesting to watch teens/kids come to terms with their new powers as well as growing up and finding themselves. My biggest problem with the powers was information wasn’t really given to the reader. We just had to pick up and figure how the powers on our own. I figured out green was on the ‘low’ end of the danger scale and red was on the ‘high’ end. As to what each color’s power was I’m still not quite sure.
Unfortunately I found the world building to be severely lacking. Where did illness come from? Why are only some affected? Why don’t kids have the exact same powers as those in their ‘color family’? The government is really going to round up kids and lock them up? Why wouldn’t they study them first? Maybe train them instead? I’m sure a lot of these issues will be taken care of in future installments but it always irks me when the first book doesn’t tackle some of the big issues.
The story never got boring because of how much the characters and story moved around. You would just start getting used to the new location before we moved onto another one. It was interesting to see the inside of a camp and get limited information just like the campers. We move onto a road trip like setting and gained some more knowledge about the world. Then we end up at East River where we get tons of new information from other characters.
I was please to see how the main characters were pretty rounded individuals. We understand Ruby and her fears of harming others. We understand Liam and his guilt. We see Chubs change over the course of the story and let Ruby into his inner circle. I was pretty disappointed in the inclusion of romance. I didn’t feel it was necessary. I felt more passion coming from their friendship than the romance. Maybe passion isn’t the right word but I felt how much they cared for each other and preferred that type of relationship with Ruby and Liam. I really rolled my eyes when there were the hints of a love triangle. It was weird on too many levels. I didn’t like either side of the triangle. Not to mention when Clancy was introduced he absolutely reeked of sleazeball. When his reveal came around I wasn’t really surprised.
The bottom line? I had a few complaints but enjoyed the story overall.