When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something frightening enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that got her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that had killed most of America’s children, but she and the others emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they could not control.
Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. She is on the run, desperate to find the only safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who have 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 having a life worth living.
The Darkest Minds is yet another series that has been near the top of my TBR-list for a long time. A very long time. I was finally able to pick up the first book in this series and, as usual, I was extremely mad at myself for not reading this book sooner. The Darkest Minds was a really great read and it had action, romance, twists and turns, and basically everything that I love seeing in young adult dystopian novels. But, with that being said, it also had elements to it that made it original and definitely thrilling. While this book did have its flaws every now and then, I think The Darkest Minds was a really great first book in a series that left me wanting to read the next book as soon as possible.
The rest of this review is spoiler-free.
The main plot of this book was a bit hard to quickly jump into, but once I finally understood the world and what was going on, this book was a breeze to finish reading. I do think, however, that there were information dumps in some places and then there were fairly slow parts in others (specifically parts in the beginning and sections from the middle of the book).
I’m a sucker for any type of road-trip situation, so I instantly loved reading about Ruby, Liam, Chubs, and Zu as they drove around looking for East River. And, when they finally arrived at their destination, I think the build-up for the ending was set up really well and I could sense that something action-packed was going to happen (and I was not disappointed). There’s a certain character that gets introduced (I’m sparing their name because spoilers) and I had so many mixed feelings regarding them and GAH, that ending. I kinda predicted what the twist was going to be at the end but I was still extremely intrigued and the chapters near the end of this book never felt boring.
The ending. Of this book. Can I just say that I didn’t see it coming at all and I was actually fairly mad about it…? I don’t know how to feel about the ending yet and I’m going to read the second book in this series ASAP to see where the story goes but as of now I’m nervous yet interested to see where the author will go with the direction of the story.
I loved Ruby’s character and I loved that we were able to read from her perspective. Ruby was one of those main characters that you can’t help but automatically root for; she’s been through extremely difficult times, yet she manages to remain level-headed and caring towards others. As soon as I saw that Amandla Stenberg was going to be playing Ruby I was so happy because, honestly, Amandla is going to be the perfect Ruby.
Speaking of loving characters… Liam, Chubs, and Zu. I LOVE THEM EACH SO MUCH. Don’t get me wrong, Ruby was definitely one of my favorite characters in this book, but I grew so attached to those three characters so quickly. Zu is literally one of the most adorable and spunkiest characters I’ve read about. Chubs was basically me in fictional character form and I adore him. Liam is actually perfect…? I don’t know how Alexandra Bracken does it; each and every one of these main characters was complex and I fell in love with all of them.
“Let’s carpe the hell out of this diem.”
Alexandra Bracken’s writing style was really eloquent and it captured me fairly quickly. Although the beginning of the novel seemed a tad slow, I think it was Bracken’s writing that kept me so intrigued from the first page. There were humorous moments that made me laugh, happy moments that made me smile, distressing moments that made me anxious, and everything in between, and I think the author translated each of those situations into words extremely well.
Overall, The Darkest Minds was a thrilling read that left me in desperate need for the sequel. It had its flaws, but I think that the interesting world, amazing characters, and twisty plot really overshadow the few problems that I came across whilst reading this book. I can’t wait to dive into Never Fade so I can see what happens next in this story!
“We’ll just have to try to make better mistakes tomorrow.”
So, have you read The Darkest Minds? What did you think about it? Comment your spoiler-free thoughts below!