Kogiopsis's Reviews > The Darkest Minds

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
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Jan 06, 2016

it was amazing
bookshelves: favorite-2012-reads, fangirl-alert, reviewed, not-for-the-sensitive, author-took-a-level-in-awesome
Read in May, 2014 , read count: 2

Edit: Re-read in May 2014, but leaving original review standing because it still expresses my feelings perfectly.
Edit x2, January 2016: Having read some negative reviews, I'm thinking I might need to reread again and re-write this - not because I have doubts, but because I'm a little pissed off at the way people react to a traumatized teen by calling her whiny. I've had friends say it, I've seen reviews complaining about it, and it infuriates me. Come at me, bros; I'll fight you for Ruby Daly's honor.

ow ow ow
ow ow ow ow ow

I don't
know what to do with this book
and all of these feelings ow ow ow

Obviously it's been too long since I last re-read Brightly Woven because I remembered that Alexandra Bracken was a good writer but I seem to have forgotten HOW good until this book punched me in the gut.

How do I talk about this?
I don't even know. I finished it at about 8:30 last night and the ending basically rendered me nonfunctional for an hour. I vacuumed my room because I couldn't get my brain to cooperate on anything else.

Let me count the ways in which this book was stupendous:
1. An absolutely chilling dystopia. Plague diseases are basically my biggest fear, so that aspect had me freaked out from the very beginning, but what was even scarier were the camps. I've seen some reviews mentioning that they didn't think the U.S. government really would have locked kids with freaky powers up in internment camps, and to them I say: obviously you aren't familiar with the shit our government pulls on a regular basis. That is exactly what would happen, and that's what makes it scary.
Honestly, this dystopia struck me as markedly closer to classics of dystopian literature - 1984, Brave New World, The Handmaid's Tale - than pretty much anything else I've read in this current faddish YA craze. Yes, even more so than The Hunger Games (though I'm sure fans will disagree with me). I've been trying to figure out why, and I think what it is is that the world of The Darkest Minds is incredibly harsh in a way a lot of YA authors seem to shy away from. LOTS of people die (again, something I've seen other reviewers complain about but stridently disagree with them about) and in incredibly brutal ways. There are multiple factions and every single one of them is dangerous and vicious. This world is horrifying and that is what makes it work.

2. Genuinely scary characters. This gets its own category because I CANNOT BELIEVE HOW TERRIFYING THESE KIDS WERE??? Friggin' Martin, holy shit. And the villain - not to spoil anything but AAAAAAAAAAAAAAH. Again, totally believable - bunch of kids who have been ripped from or thrown out of their homes and treated as less than animals for years and have these potentially horrifying powers - of course they're going to lash out at everything and anything. Of course they turn around and treat anyone who isn't them as worthless. These poor broken terrifying children were just... chilling.

3. Relationships. GIRL FRIENDSHIPS AND SWEET SUPPORTIVE ROMANCE AND RUBY AND CHUBS BEING BUDDIES AND PEOPLE CALLING EACH OTHER ON THEIR SHIT AND WOW THE BLACK BETTY GANG IS EXCELLENT. I love them all, and I love the way they interact. They are a bastion of humanity in a world gone mad. And I honestly think one of my favorite moments was Chubs getting mad at Ruby for not fulfilling a promise, because real friends can and should bring that up and it made their relationship feel so real. I also loved how Ruby and Liam didn't just exist in this romantic bubble - they both had unique friendships and histories and they did things apart from each other and they were INDEPENDENT PEOPLE. (dear almost every other YA writer ever, are you taking notes?)

4. Liam.
can we have more love interests like this? Who are flawed, sweet, caring; who fall head over heels as much or more than the girls do, who make mistakes that have consequences and react to them realistically, WHO AREN'T CREEPY AS HELL, who do this: "Liam's only response was to move back a few paces. Giving me space."
He's not perfect. He's not some hormone-triggering sex god. He's not dark and mysterious - he's just a well-meaning guy who is good for Ruby in every way and I enjoyed their relationship so much.

5. The ending. Obviously I can't say much but ow ow ow ow ow ow. I assume this book will have a sequel and I will wait for it as patiently as possible.

(view spoiler)

A couple of quotes/aspects that stuck out to me under this spoiler cut; pages from the ARC:
(view spoiler)
(not actually spoilery, really, but hidden anyway just to be sure.)

I wish I could talk about the villain, because he was honestly one of the best aspects of the book - so subtle and scary, and even though I mistrusted him from before he appeared, there were times when I wondered if he was genuine.

Anyhow, hopefully this scatterbrained and emotional review will convince you that you need to read this book, because you probably do. It's extraordinary.
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Reading Progress

02/04 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-19 of 19) (19 new)

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Miss Clark Exactly so!

Kogiopsis I am still pretty bummed that she says she's not going to write a BW sequel any time soon, but this one sounds so good.

Miss Clark :( I just hope we eventually get one.

Have you listened to her playlists for her books? Very interesting...

Kogiopsis I signed the petition for one. I think I signed it twice.

I'm actually listening to the first Black Is The Color one right now. I do like the idea; I know that other authors make playlists for their books in progress, but she's the only one I know who posts them for her readers... it's really cool.

message 5: by Lora (new)

Lora You like Brightly Woven? I've always wanted to try that book but the reviews seem mixed.

Kogiopsis I really enjoyed it. It's pretty fluffy, and on reflection I noticed more flaws than I did the first time, but it's kind of like Anna and the French Kiss - not perfect, but so much fun that you just can't help but like it. (Or alternately, hate it.)

message 7: by Nalnac (new) - added it

Nalnac Wow. I really want to read this Anila. GREAT review.

Kogiopsis Nanalla wrote: "Wow. I really want to read this Anila. GREAT review."

Haha, thank you! I was worried it was going to be too random - I'm out of practice and FULL OF FEELINGS and the combination usually spells disaster. Glad it worked, though!

message 9: by Gavin (new) - added it

Gavin I'm not a fan of dystopias -- like, at all -- but your description of the character writing was enough for me to toss this on my to-reads.

Kogiopsis Gavin wrote: "I'm not a fan of dystopias -- like, at all -- but your description of the character writing was enough for me to toss this on my to-reads."

I hope you like it! If it helps, by the way, it could probably also be classed as post-apocalyptic to a certain extent; it's a lot more chaotic than most dystopias.

message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

What? WHAT? How did you get an arc of this?? I'M SO JEALOUS!

Kogiopsis Sarah ~Slow reader, or slowly reading? ;) wrote: "What? WHAT? How did you get an arc of this?? I'M SO JEALOUS!"

Liiiiiiiiiiiibrary teen advisory group! I have the coolest library. Also I got to the meeting early and pounced on the galley cart.

Kogiopsis Moorchild wrote: "I always need more girl friendship solidarity in my life. So going on my to-read list!"

The girl friendships aren't always front-and-center, but I think you'll like them. Ruby's interesting friend/older sister relationship with a younger girl named Suzume is particularly great. (Zu's an incredible cutie, too.)

message 14: by Fatesocruel (new) - added it

Fatesocruel WAIT she wrote another book how did I not know about this! Ohh and I see it comes out four days after finals end, which means I can avoid the Mistborn Effect.

message 15: by Kogiopsis (last edited Aug 20, 2012 03:36PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kogiopsis Fatesocruel wrote: "WAIT she wrote another book how did I not know about this! Ohh and I see it comes out four days after finals end, which means I can avoid the Mistborn Effect."

Yessss she did and she has been blogging about it for a while and I have been incredibly excited AND THE SEQUEL'S FIRST DRAFT IS APPARENTLY ALSO DONE???
I could pass my galley copy to you, actually, if you want to tempt fate and read it sooner. But it's probably better for your grades if you don't.

message 16: by Fatesocruel (last edited Aug 20, 2012 04:00PM) (new) - added it

Fatesocruel WOW, that was fast. I see she's on tumblr! Probably so, since I get to read Middlemarch, Jane Eyre, and Tess of the D'Urbervilles for one of my literature classes this semester and I also have copies of Warbreaker and Elantris and ALSO Alloy of Law comes out in paperback in October. I can wait til December.

Kogiopsis Alright, sounds good.
And yeah, super fast, especially since apparently the draft is nearly 200k. That's HUGE, especially for the time she's been working on it.

message 18: by Cindy (new) - added it

Cindy Loved this review.

Nemo (Young Adult At Heart) I loved this book, too! I can't wait to read Brightly Woven.

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