Book Review: The Darkest Minds

Posted November 7, 2014 by Lyn Kaye in book review, Lyn / 2 Comments

Book Review: The Darkest MindsThe Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
Series: The Darkest Minds #1
Published by Disney Hyperion on December 18th, 2012
Genres: dystopia, young adult
Pages: 488
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon

Synopsis: 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 dystopia genre is back in the game (or, it was, like 2 years ago)! When I picked up The Darkest Minds, I felt some hostility at first. This came from the era when dystopian novels dominated the field, no matter the quality of the work. Every publisher was scrambling to ride the coattails of The Hunger Games.

Fortunately, The Darkest Minds brings a solid, well-rounded dystopian story and a wonderfully dark novel regarding the true nature of the world. Packed with wonderful characters, well-paced action and an ending that makes you die a bit inside, there was very little I found flawed with this book.


Jem Crush:  Can I mention that I loved how utterly flawed Ruby seemed during the whole novel? There is just something about weak-willed heroines that really warms my heart.  I find that I am very meek, and it honestly puts some of my fears to rest when I read about girls and female lead characters that seem similar in their mindset towards the world. I love my Katnisses, but I am nowhere near that courageous. Us spineless wimps need some book love, too.

The secondary set of players helped enforce my love for this novel. Liam, Chubs and Suzume get all the stars. I will always pause and take a moment to applaud a book that makes the main paramour interesting, fleshed out and internally attractive. Liam could stand on his own and didn’t depend on the romance of the novel to drive his characterization. Bravo for literature that makes you fall in love right alongside the MC. Chubs was a perfect balance of sweet and sour, level-headed, and I will always love the little kid sidekick with a tragic story when it is done with finesse.

Chillin’ like a Villain: The antagonists were great as well. The entire approach to the struggle and the people contributing to such problems came as a bit of a shock, but it added quite a bit of depth to the storyline. I enjoyed trying to  figure out the mysteries of this novel. Wonderful!

Realistic Reality:  The powers, the camps, and even the sorting system were overall believable. I could see something like this happening.  I liked how the raw emotional struggles faced by the character drove the book towards its goals.

Draggin Dragon: The book did tend to drag in some places, but it did come back to drive the plot. The storyline just took a few breaks on the way.

THE END: THAT ENDING! I’m still just blown away! It ripped a hole right in my heart. All my feels RIGHT INTO A BLACK HOLE. Epic ending was EPIC.


Solid, fleshed out and packed with enough bleeding emotion to keep drawing you back in, The Darkest Minds is a book that will attract the dystopian lovers and the general YA reader.

2 responses to “Book Review: The Darkest Minds

  1. I still need to dig into my copy of this one myself but I’ve heard lots of wonderful things! I’m a huge fan of the way you described the flawed and realistic MC – I love a heroine I can relate to,and not everyone can be a perfect heroine like Katniss after all. And that ending makes me think I’ll need to have the sequel at the ready 😀 Awesome review Lyn ^^
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  2. I’m actually really pleased you liked this, I’ve been wary about it sometimes because it’s one of the older trilogies, and you don’t hear a lot about it anymore other than the sequels, but I’ve been considering it, so your nice positive review Lyn is a lovely little push. Realistic main characters are always pretty fab, so here’s to hopefully one day getting it 🙂
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