Release Date: December 18th, 2012
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopia
Source: I received a physical arc from another blogger.
Blurb: When Ruby wakes up on her tenth birthday, something about her has 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.
Review: Before we get started, you should know I thought The Darkest Minds was a standalone. It is not. So if you are not wanting to start another series yet, do not start this book. Because once you start, you will not be able to stop. This is one hell of a suspenseful novel. It’s a page turner. Even when nothing major is happening, I always felt very uncomfortable, like that next second action was right around the corner. I was always waiting for the next shoe to drop. It’s a very unsettling feeling, but one that works incredibly well in dystopian novels. When the suspense is believable, when you truly feel the characters plight and the tension, that is when you know a book is successful. This is one of the many reasons why I totally recommend this novel. But first, you should know what it is about.
The book opens with a bang. Ruby is in a camp for kids and the White Noise goes off. The reader has no idea what this is, and all we know is that Ruby is hurt. The novel jumps back and forth a little as we learn just exactly what is going on in this post-apocalyptic world. But never too much. The major answers always remain just out of reach. Kids are dying. But not all the kids. And she is sent to a camp with the other survivors. At the high security camps, the kids are treated like criminals. They are called rehabilitation camps but there is no rehabilitating going on. Because what these kids are dealing with cannot be cured. Eventually Ruby breaks out of Thurmond, and then, as her questions begin to be answered one by one, she finds herself on the run with other kids like herself. And they all have powers that are very different.
Okay, so this is where I tell you that I did not like Ruby very much. She had zero confidence and I got truly tired of hearing her talk about being a monster, having a big secret, and wondering how everyone would judge her if they really knew the truth. And the secret that she was hiding was not all that big, to be honest. I don’t know what her issue was. She was always making it out to be worse than it really was and she kept REPEATING it over and OVER and I just got tired of hearing about it. When her secret finally came out, no one gave a shit so it was all for nothing. I said in my updates if this happened I would be pissed off. And I was pissed off because it was stupid and ridiculous. Not only that, but she had a tendency to be helpless and she made a few bad decisions. I got very angry at her a couple of times and I can’t talk about that because spoilers, but let me just say I was not a huge fan of Ruby.
But…I was a fan of Suzume and Chubs. So it was all worth it. These two kids were Ruby’s travel buddies. There was also Liam, the love interest, but I thought he was really flat and kind of blah. But trust me when I say Suzume and Chubs were awesome. It was easy to root for those kids and be terrified when something bad happened to them. Could the characters have been more strongly written? Yeah, I think so. If there was a weakness in this book, it was in the characters. Not in the writing, in the story, or in the world-building. All those things I very much enjoyed.
But the ending. Oh. My. God. It was probably one of the worst cliffhangers I have ever read. If you are not a fan of these, if reading cliffhangers will make you rate books lower, then there is a chance you will be doing that with this book. Because it was brutal. I sobbed, got really mad, and almost threw the book at the wall. So I just want to prepare anyone going into this one. I think if you are prepared for the inevitable, it might not make it as ugly when you get to it. Especially if you think this is a standalone and then crap! I would be so pissed.
Other than that though, this was a wonderful book and even though it is almost 500 pages, to me it never felt like it. The book is easy to read, flows well, and if you are a fast reader, you can easily do this book in one day. Not everyone can do that, but even so, it is still a very fast paced book that I would highly recommend. Keep in mind that book two is not due out until the fall of 2013. With the cliffhanger and that date, you might want to wait if you are going to get upset. I think I may have done that myself if I did not have an arc.