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The Darkest Minds

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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.

488 pages, Paperback

First published December 18, 2012

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About the author

Alexandra Bracken

35 books23.9k followers
Hi! I'm Alex and I write books. Please note that I don't respond to messages here on GoodReads. Please send me a note on twitter or IG @alexbracken. xx A

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 18,212 reviews
December 15, 2015
If The Hunger Games brought back my faith in YA dystopia, Darkest Minds made me an atheist. This book has a plot filled with more holes than a Dunkin Donuts. It is mind-boggling to me that the rating in this series is as high as Hunger Games when the supporting characters in this book are are without personality nor complexity, combined with a weak-ass, whiny wimp of a main character, not to mention the majority of a book is a pointless snoozefest of a roadtrip.

Let's for 1 minute talk about The Hunger Games. The world is well-developed, well thought out, and honestly, the best thing about that series for me lies in Katniss' personality and strength of character (let's just forget Mockingjay ever happened *curls up into a ball and weeps*).

The events in this book just plain don't make any damned sense. And not as in the whole "What?! There's no way hundreds of thousands of kids could just DIE out of nowhere and then some develop psychic powers!" No. Believing that that event could happen is a willing suspension of disbelief, one that every reader accepts. This book had me in disbelief.

Take, for instance, the whole "Shit, our kids are either dying or turning into the X-Men (they're not mutants, but you get the point)" thing. Hundreds of thousands of kids are dying. The government's solution: LOCK UP THE SURVIVORS WHO COULD BE DANGEROUS.

What the FUCK, why?!

Granted, the government isn't the most rational of entities, but let's think of it this way. To be a little clichéd, the young is the future. There's a Social Security crisis right now because there are too many old people who need support and not enough of the working young giving tax dollars to support them. Same with developing countries. More young people = more workers.

Therefore, my reasonable mind comes up with these few questions:
1. Why the fuck is the government locking up the future? No kids means no population growth (unless you do mass test tube babies or something and we ain't that advanced yet) -> decline of a country. Yeah, I don't think our government is that stupid. Or at least, I hope not.
2. Why the fuck is the government overreacting when they don't even know if these kids are dangerous? I mean some of the Oranges can read minds. I DON'T KNOW ABOUT YOU BUT THAT'S PRETTY FUCKING USEFUL. THEY SHOULD BE TRAINING HER FOR THE FUCKING CIA, AM I RIGHT? Best spy ever! But noooooooooo, they ship them away and lock them up as dangerous. Doesn't make any fucking sense.

Then, when the kids are in the camp. They just bend over and take it because they're poor little helpless kids.

Not.

Please. We saw one of the kids make a security guard shoot herself in the mouth. The kids are strong, they clearly have powers. Why just take the abuse when they can easily free themselves?!

Makes no fucking sense.

And then there's Ruby. I hate Ruby so much. Her level of whine in this book made Katniss in Mockingjay look strong and tough in comparison. Wah wah wah. Wah wah wah. I have strong superpowers. Wah wah wah I'm a monster. Wah wah wah I'm unnatural. Fuck you.

Maybe it's just me, but wouldn't having mental powers be the coolest thing in the world? Imaging the evil and havoc I could wreak (I could do good, but that ain't my thing). I want a character who embraces her own strength. I want a character who matures through her weakness. All Ruby ever does is whine, whine, whine. I'm sick of her pitiful, maryred mewlings.

The Bad Guys have no personality. They have no complexity. They're there to abuse and hurt and nothing else. There is nothing human in them, and that's just unbelievable.

This book was a waste of time.
Profile Image for Sarah Maas.
Author 87 books287k followers
December 4, 2013
THE DARKEST MINDS is one of the best books I have EVER read. No joke. I can't even properly express how much I love this book. It touched my soul--it's THAT incredible. It haunted me for days and days (and still does!). The world-building and plot are phenomenal (it leaves you absolutely breathless in spots!), and the characters are some of the most vivid I've encountered.

When 2012 rolls around, DO NOT miss this book--it will stay with you long, long after you've finished reading it.
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,921 reviews290k followers
July 30, 2015
“They were never scared of the kids who might die, or the empty spaces they would leave behind. They were afraid of us-the ones who lived.”

Ever since The Darkest Minds was released at the height of the dystopian craze in 2012, I think I've been subconsciously saving it to enjoy at a later date when the hype died down and I was no longer sick of reading YA dystopias. With an average rating of over 4.3, I was sure that I would enjoy it when I eventually gave in. But now, to be honest, I am clueless to where the hype stems from.

The strongest part of the book is undoubtedly the first 20-25%. Bracken creates a frightening world where a plague tears through kids, killing most of them and leaving the survivors with weird powers. Psi powers, as they are soon called by the terrified adults. Ruby is just ten years old when her powers surface and she is sent to Thurmond - a "rehabilitation" camp for the Psi kids. For six years, though, she manages to keep the extent of her power secret, until one day the truth comes out and she must flee Thurmond in order to stay alive.

This first part kept me hooked, hence the extra star. Thurmond is suitably dire and Ruby's fear suitably realistic enough to make it interesting. But after she escapes, what follows are three-hundred pages of an extended road trip. And, hell, it was so slooooowwwwww.

Perhaps it would have been okay if I'd found Ruby more interesting, less irritating. I found her inner whining, cowardice, and reluctance to use her powers for anything (even when it would have been so freaking useful!) just plain annoying.

I thought the romance was thrown in for no other reason than because people expect it from the genre. Liam was sweet enough, but I never felt any chemistry between them. In fact, Ruby's earlier comments about her being educated to 4th grade level and her obvious emotional immaturity made the romance seem kind of weird to me.

But mostly, I just wished it would pick up. They rode around in a truck called "Black Betty", constantly running from someone or looking for something else. The author threw in a few car chases in an attempt to speed up this road trip, but it didn't work. I'm amazed I actually managed to struggle through those hundreds of pages in the middle, given that at least 200 pages could have been cut from The Darkest Minds and it still would have told the same story.

And - not sure if this is considered a spoiler but just in case -

The only consolation is that I'd heard the sequel wasn't as good as this anyway, so at least I'm not feeling the need to read it. So disappointing, though.

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Profile Image for NickReads.
461 reviews1,208 followers
May 3, 2020
“Sorry about that. Hey—I don’t think we’ve had the chance to meet. I’m Liam.”
Profile Image for Emma Giordano.
317 reviews116k followers
June 17, 2019
WOW this book REALLY holds up over the years! I'm SO pleased I decided to reread this series :)
Profile Image for Kaylee Magic.
74 reviews184 followers
December 4, 2013
OH. MY. GOD. Ohmygodohmygodohmygodohmygod!!

This book was so damn beautiful, so damn heartbreaking, and so damn freaking AMAZING! I think it's one of the most in-depth books I've read since The Hunger Games -- and I mean that with my heart and soul. It's not just another fluffy mock-intense book; it's not just another dystopian knock-off that I could never see happening in real life; it's not another sweet romance without anything else of substance that makes for a good time passer but doesn't make me think.

The Darkest Minds succeeds where I feel 99% of dystopian novels fail in creating a terrifyingly dark yet realistic world that could very much happen tomorrow. Not only was I extremely immersed in the world, but I believed in it. That isn't an easy thing to pull off!

(Sorry Divergent, Wither, Delirium , etc. I love all of you but I never believed that any of your dystopian futures could possibly come true!)

Alexandra Bracken's world takes place sometime in the future when more than half of the younger generation is infected with a diseased called IAAN. The rest of them are labeled as Psi -- psychic -- and are cursed with abilities that the adults don't know how to deal with. They're scared of these kids, so they lock the surviving Psi children up in concentration camps, force them to do laborious work, and basically condemn them to a prison-like life.

It's dark, and gloomy, and heartbreaking what these kids go through, but it's also so damn GENIUS. I'm trying not to spoil any of the major twists, but let me warn you: Crying may overtake you. Heartache is inevitable.

Enough with vampires and werewolves and faeries and witches. It's time to be scared of psychics, damn it!

I love Ruby (our dangerous yet warm sixteen-year-old heroine) with a fierce, undeniable passion! She's so strong for someone who's been through so much, and it isn't just told to us. We figure that out ourselves when she's carted off to a concentration camp at only ten years old and somehow manages to maintain her sanity; we figure that out when she finally reveals what happened to her parents and when we watch her risk everything to protect those she loves. She pretends to be Green to avoid the terrible fate that awaits the ever-more-corrupted Oranges, but there's never a time when she's not in danger and that somehow makes our time with her precious.

Then there's Liam -- and oh god, I want to cry again whenever I think of him. He's HANDS DOWN one of my favourite boys in literature! It's no secret that I'm in love with the badass bad boy types, but Liam (sweet, Southern, and gifted with a heart the size of the Empire State Building) has reminded me exactly why the genuinely good guys need to top.

As the sort-of leader of a growing rebellion to break more kids out of concentration camps, Liam's first encounter with Ruby definitely isn't a cliche -- but hell, I smiled so widely and fell for him so hard that I'll bet other authors will be trying to make it one after they read this book. And their relationship just blooms from there. No insta-love, no awkwardly forced conversations, no questioning how they could possibly work out. The way they are together... God, they just fit and they realize it maybe only a few beats after we do. And it's so real and beautiful and perfect that I immediately pushed over boys like Jace Wayland and Travis Maddox on my Book Boy Wishlist and added Liam to the top 5!

"God." He shook his head, mouth twisting into a shadow of a smile. "Did you know... you make me so happy that sometimes I actually forget to breathe? I'll be looking at you, and my chest will get so tight... and it's like, the only thought in my head is how much I want to reach over and kiss you."

I LOVE HIM SO F*CKING MUCH. ♥

COMMENT ON WRITING: (Please take note, future authors, because this is SO SO SO important!!!) As a teenage girl who plans to major in English and reads more books than should be legal, I can gratefully say that Alexandra Bracken can write. Like a goddess. Oftentimes, a book will have an amazing premise and storyline but writing that makes me want to pull my hair out or is so simplistic that a sixth grader could've written it. I was starting to get annoyed with YA books for that reason. With The Darkest Minds , that is not the case! Bracken finds a way to make Ruby's voice pure and beautiful and SO easy to connect with, all without the annoying whiny tone that a lot of author's give their heroines in their attempt to not sound flat. I can honestly say that it's probably one of the best written books I've ever read, not just this year!

Alexandra Bracken not only doesn't treat her readers like they're stupid (because we DO have the capability to put two and two together, you know), but she also explores her world more as we go along. She doesn't info-dump all the world's details into one chapter that bores its readers to tears; she reveals everything piece by piece, gradually pulling apart mysteries all the while moving the pace along with a quick pace that kept my heart clenched the entire time. All of which certifies that Alexandra Bracken is a genius in hiding.

In conclusion...

Have you read my review at all? Do I even need a conclusion? All you need to know is that if you're stuck between deciding whether you should read this book or not, BUY IT. Even if you're unsure, BUY IT. Even if you hate me, BUY IT.

That's because my love extends waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay beyond 5 stars here. And I'm trying to be generous around Christmastime, so just take my world on this, all right? You will LOVE this. ;) ♥
Profile Image for SerenaSmiles.
8 reviews
April 6, 2014
THE ROYAL REVIEW for...

The Darkest Minds
By Alexandra Bracken




WARNING: This review contains spoilers.

no.
NO!
NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! LIAMM !!
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Why? Why must you do this to me? There is only so much my heart can take…
Alexandra Bracken you have managed to weave my heart full of glowing bright fibers of pure gold and happiness, then, just when I decide to blink, managed to crushed it with a giant sledge hammer over and over again into tiny pitiful particles in the form of tears…
AND I LOVE YOU FOR IT!
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Okay, Let’s rewind for a second for those who have yet to read this a-fricken-mazing novel. In short, this is a dystopia where kids are being infected by a disease known as IAAN. Basically it affects kids who have yet to reach, or in the process of going through, puberty. (Oh, yes, puberty. Yet another factor added to the fun of those good ol’ days.) Those kids who are infected either drop dead, or develop certain special powers which are categorized in colours.

We are first introduced to our strong, very beautiful, and incredibly kick-ass protagonist named Ruby. Except, she doesn’t know that about herself just yet, which I love because Bracken managed to show not only the deepness of Ruby’s character, but also enabled her to develop both mentally and physically throughout the book. Ruby was obviously quite strong since the very beginning, and had a lot of potential however, it was that fear of being found out that held her back and was her Achilles heel. I enjoyed rooting for her throughout the book as she quickly became stronger as time progressed. I must admit, there were some parts where I really felt like ripping her head off or chaining her to a post or something that would stop her from doing whatever stupid thing she had decided was right (especially when it came to Clancy, whom I secretly have a major crush on), but she always managed to win me over again, so, Ruby, you can just go chill over there in my favorite heroines VIP corner while I move on to your oh-so-lovely counterpart… oh yeah. You know who I’m talkin’ bout.

Readers, May I introduce the catch-me-before-I-faint gorgeous, and oh-so lovable southern gentleman, Liam Stewart!
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Let me just say this: Liam, you have forever raised all expectation I now have of men in the real world. I don’t know if I should thank you for giving me so many incredible feels, or hate you for ensuring that I stay forever alone.
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What I loved about Liam was that his life did not revolve all around his love for Ruby. Instead he had so many other important aspects in his life that he held dear to his heart, like his need to help others, or his loyalty to his friends, and included Ruby as one of those most important aspects, while still, somehow, managing to stay a swoon-worthy romantic love interest that totally blew Clancy off his mysteriously-creepy, yet very hot, ass. I mean, let me just list some his good points (since listing all of them is not even possible):

He’s a family man. Not only when it comes to finding his parents, but how he took Chub, Zu, and Ruby in like with an open mind and heart and cared for them like family. His loyalty to them is strong and pure, and that, my friends, already hooks a hook deep into the heart by itself.
He’s the definition of gorgeous. Ash blonde hair, blue eyes, slight scruff. I kind of imagine a boy-next-door/cowboy in my mind when I picture him. I think it was mentioned that he was also quite lean and muscular or something (?). No surprise there. This is Liam, of course.
He has an accent. Southern drawl. Nuff said.
He’s smart. I mean, plan master who organized the first successful break out? COME ON! The boy’s a keeper.
He's soooo sweet.
“Did you know...you make me so happy that sometimes I actually forget to breath? I'll be looking at you, and my chest will get so tight...and it's like, the only thought in my head is how much I want to reach over and kiss you.”

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Ohh lordy...

Now, I can go on for days listing everything good about him, but I’d probably need my own page or something or that. Anyways, MOVING ON

To the creepy guys...
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And yes, may I say they are creepy indeed. Yet, somehow, they managed to intrigue me and urged me to find out more. That’s a hard things to do when writing these types of characters cause usually I find that the “bad guys” end up turning out kind of flat, with no substance or appeal. And although Martin was definitely not appealing in any sense of the word, he still was able to tug at my curiosity. Pretty much all these guys need to learn a thing or two about personal space.
For example,
I whirled around and slapped that same clammy hand back down into his lap. My next breath caught in my throat. Do not touch me, I wanted to say; don’t think I won’t break every single finger on that hand. But he was still grinning at me, his tongue on his cold sore, his hand rising again. Only this time, he wagged his fingers in my direction, taunting.

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or how about this?
Martin picked at the sore with grubby nails until blood appeared and he licked it off with his lips and the tip of his fingers. Watching me, like he expected me to ask for a taste.

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umm… no thank you. Don’t feel like catching Hep B today...

In short, Bracken did an excellent job in making sure the creepy guys were either seriously messed up, or deep, or dark, or, well, creepy.
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Other details that helped pile on those golden stars:

The slow, and a little rocky, build up on Ruby and Chub’s friendship was simple fantastic. We really get to see them grow in a way that showed a true and interconnected relationship that ended up quite strong. Throughout the course of their relationship there was tension, arguments, and suspicion, but eventual make-ups, sweet “i-got-your-back-ol-buddy-ol-pal” moments, and an unspoken understanding that tied everything up beautifully between these friends. And then near the last few pages of the book, while I was enjoying their happy mission-accomplished moment, and I’m all like
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Mmmm Hm. Don’t mess with my Chubs, boy.

Then there was The Ending. Cue the thunder and rain that will accompany my ocean of tears that aim to drown me in anguish. Yes, it was that depressing. Just as I was gushing and blushing over the most adorable Liam/Ruby scene ever where they are imagining a world where they ride off into the sunset together
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Ruby goes all Obliviate on his ass
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And Liam doesn’t remember her anymore
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And then…
Just
Leaves.

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I spent a few minutes considering therapy afterwards.
Excuse me while I go and change the bandages around my heart.
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I also loved how this romance was not insta-love! Which totally gave this book at least an automatic three stars in my mind when I realized that from the beginning. Development, development, development! I cannot stress that enough! It’s clear that Bracken put a lot of deep thought into developing this novel. The world was incredibly created and strangely realistic, as far as world where kids are running around with powers can go, of course. The voices and dialogues stayed true to characters, and the pacing was perfect! There was hardly ever a dull moment, even when there were explanations about Psi powers and all that jazz, I was still sucked into the story because there was always something going on the kept my eyes glued to those pages. And let me tell you, it was not pretty when I was forced to part from this book in between breaks.
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Let's just say by the end I was a big blubbering mess
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It wasn't pretty.

Anywhoozles, until the next book comes out I will be attempting to mend the huge gaping hole in my chest that I do not blame this book for producing one bit. I'd do it all over again if there was some way to read this one for the first time all over again.
Sighhh, if only...
OK!

OVERALL RATING: [image error]
FIVE CROWNS!

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This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Mitch.
355 reviews602 followers
July 15, 2018
On the surface, The Darkest Minds has a lot more going for it than your typical dystopian. It's incredibly dark and disturbing, but more than that, there's a certain realism to Alexandra Bracken's writing that makes the plot believable in a way few other books in the genre are. Yeah I'm frustrated, but not because this book is a generic dystopian - it's not, not because the plot calls for kids being rounded up in concentration camps and shot in the back - though that happens, but because I feel like this is a book with massive potential derailed by really poor execution.

For one, the concentration camp angle really bothers me, but not for the reasons you might think. We've had internment camps in this country before, so I'm not going to question whether it's realistic the government can round up kids and lock them up - it's a stark reminder of what could happen, except to say, if all the kids are either dead or locked up, and having more is illegal for fear of more tiny terrors with psychic powers running around, yeah, the United States isn't going to survive once the last twenty something dies of old age, no? Just something I wish Bracken would’ve considered.

But beyond that, it’s the way Bracken handles the concentration camps that really irks me, because I am not a fan of writing bad guys to be incredibly sadistic for no reason other than to score sympathy points for the victims. It just never works for me. And that’s exactly what happens here, we have adult guards rifle butting and mentally abusing little kids, and for what? So I can feel sorry for Ruby and the other child victims? It’s strange, because Bracken actually has an out - the Oranges, the kids with mind control powers, some of them really are mentally unstable and get the guards to shoot each other, and if I were a guard at a place like that I’d be scared like shit and might take my constant paranoia out on the kids. That psychological angle would’ve at least given a point to all the child abuse (besides as cheap emotional manipulation), but I don’t think Bracken worked that distinction into the story until too late - until my impression of a camp run by sociopaths for housing sociopaths made me want to fling my copy of the book across the room.

Then Ruby manages to escape, and for one glorious moment I thought my frustration would be over - but turns out... not even close. Because this is a book with no end game, no direction, none of the characters, Ruby included, really knows what the heck they’re doing. So Ruby basically stumbles around from one ‘bad guy’ organization (the U.S. government) to another before she just happens to fall in with Liam, Chubs, and Zu and go on the lamest road trip ever. I think my eyes started glazing over as they’re driving around, because Liam is completely bland and not an interesting character in the slightest, Liam and Ruby together are a total fail, Chubs and Zu have their moments of brilliance but end up contributing very little to the overall plot, and the whole thing just meandered around until just when I thought I couldn’t take any more of it they get shot at by bounty hunters or somebody and my interest is briefly sparked until their pursuers are dealt with and I’m back to being bored.

The whole time, none of them really has a plan for what they're going to do, it's mostly Ruby wanting to learn more about her powers while the others stick with her because they don't have anywhere better to go I guess? And this cycles three or four times as they’re going up and down the Eastern Seaboard looking for this supposed hiding place where they’d be safe and where Ruby can learn more about her powers, and the only thing it ultimately does for me is remind me that journeys which are just a string of random plot points assembled together usually aren’t very interesting unless you’re doing it Jumanji style by hitting the characters with various dangerous jungle obstacles at the roll of a dice.

So finally, the three four of them make it to the sanctuary they were looking for. Interestingly enough, I’m not spoiling anything, this is all in the summary, but two thirds of the book has already gone by. Anyway, after being introduced to *two* evil organizations already, neither of which has been sufficiently developed to make them compelling enough for me to actually care whether they’re a threat or not, I’m introduced to another group that may or may not be evil and I’m trying to think what the heck Bracken’s trying to do with all these groups and... I have no clue. Something about using the kids to take control of the country, but how does group one figure with groups two and three? None of the groups really interact with each other, characters pop up, do stuff, then disappear again, and I'm really left with zero idea why Ruby would choose to work with any one of these groups over the others... well, besides the government, since they’ve been torturing her for years.

Sure, there are a few reveals at the camp, but nothing I couldn't guess from before, and no real information that would actually tell me where the plot is going - how are Ruby and her friends going to take down the evil dystopian government? What's the point of the Children's League? What's their game? And was that just a rape scene I read and nobody really says anything? And you know, the ending, I supposed I should be shocked or outraged or something, but considering I never actually liked Liam, he didn’t do much of anything during the book, I don’t think I’ll miss him.

In short, the best part of the book, writing wise at least, was the first couple of chapters describing the horrors of the camp, though the way it was done pissed me off completely. After that, it felt likes these characters just aimlessly wandered around waiting for the plot to find them rather than actually doing anything about their situation and nothing really happened. So thanks The Darkest Minds for the two hours of my life I’ll never get back.
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,372 reviews9,446 followers
February 16, 2020
This is one of the physical series I’ve decided to unhaul. I just keep changing how I feel with books and I need more room for favorites. I have bought some of these at really discounted kindle prices so that’s a thing. I just skim read this one and took away a star from my original review. No worries, just time to move on and don’t plan on rereading, but y’all enjoy 😉

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾



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www.melissa413readsalot.blogspot.com

I loved this book. I felt sorry for these kids that had to go through this stuff. Most often, at the age of 10, all of the children would develop abilities and the majority of their parents would send them off to camps. Instead of helping the children manage these abilities, the camp either kept them around forever, or they killed certain ones.

At these camps the children were labeled with colors with, red and orange being the most dangerous and pretty much killed right off the bat. I'm sure if they did the right thing and tried to help them with these abilities there would still be some evil kids, but that's life.

Some of the kids get away or they hide when they start to develop their powers. It's a pretty sad existence.

Ruby is one of the children taken away after her parents called for her to be picked up. She was in the camp at Thurmond from age 10 through age 16 when she was broken out by a so called good team of grown-ups. I'm not sure about these people yet as you know how adults are!

They make a pit stop and Ruby spots a little girl scavenging for food. She follows her and ends up with this little rag tag team of kids who are trying to get to a sort of safe haven. The little girl is named Zu and the other two are Chubs and Liam. I loved Zu and Liam right off the bat, you have to learn to like ole Chubs, he's a little cranky. I would probably be just like him, but worse!

Ruby is hiding the color she truly is from the other kids. She's afraid they will want to get rid of her. She wants to meet the other kid at the safe haven that is just like her.

These poor kids have bounty hunters, guards from the camps and those people from the other place after them. That's a lot of people to have to hide from! Needless to say some major stuff goes down and they end up finding out who Ruby really is as she has to use her powers to help save them.

They finally make it to camp and find out the other kid is leading the group. Anddddddd.... it's not all that it's cracked up to be.

The ending makes me mad and I hope it turns out ok in the next book. I probably shouldn't hope for anything good, half the time it's something bad!!

Overall, I think it's a great book and I really enjoyed it!
Profile Image for ♥ Becky  22 .
161 reviews260 followers
December 4, 2013
Everybody, everybody should go read this book. Like right now.
The Darkest Minds is amazing. This is one of the best books I've read in a long time. 100% recommended.


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1) The writing = perfection.
I felt like I was there. I could hear the music when Ruby and Liam were dancing by the fire. I felt the cold from the AC in the hotel room. I honestly felt like I was there. And the writing is beautiful. And also funny.

"Use the damn map," Chubs groused behind him.
"I can figure it out without it," Liam insisted. He kept swiveling his head back and forth, like he expected someone to appear and guide him in the right direction with road flares and fanfare.
Five minutes later, the map was spread over the steering wheel, and Chubs was gloating in the backseat.

2) Liam.
Liam is definitely NOT your typical YA love interest.
You know how some authors feel the need to constantly point out how hot a character is? (Sometimes I feel like they do that to make up for the character's lack of personality...) And then those characters are all moody and mean to our protagonist and treat her crappy, but that's okay, because, look how hot they are. (Ugh.)
With Liam that is definitely not the case. I'm not saying that he's not good-looking. I'm saying that he's SO KIND. He treats Ruby with nothing but respect and kindness. He's goodhearted and honest and a wanna-be-hero in the best possible sense. Don't think he's boring because he's no mysterious, brooding paranormal bad boy. (Well, he is paranormal!) He's awesome. I don't think I've ever read about a character like him. Absolutely love him.


3) Chubs, Zu, Ruby and all the other characters
I loved ALL of the characters in this book, even the bad guys (though you guys figure out who they are for yourselves. Sometimes it's not that easy to tell right away.) Even when Chubs was being cruel, I still liked him, because I understood why he was acting the way he was.
I also really liked Ruby, our protagonist. Even though I didn't agree with all of her choices (every time the panic button was mentioned, I wanted to scream at her to just get rid of it), I still felt for her, and I understood her actions, and I was impressed by how much she changed throughout the book.

The plot
Perfect. 'Nuff said.




Fave quotes

When a girl cries, few things are more worthless than a boy.

"This is Lee Stewart?" he demanded. "From Caledonia?"
"From North Carolina"," Liam said with surprising venom.

The thing about enthusiasm - especially Liam's particular brand - was that it was catching.

"Did you know ... you make me so happy that sometimes I actually forgot to breathe?"


Spoiler Stuff


Basically, this was one of those books where, whenever you're not reading it and you remember that it's waiting for you at home, you smile. ★★★★★/★★★★★
Profile Image for Montzalee Wittmann.
4,455 reviews2,319 followers
April 1, 2017
The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds #1) by Alexandra Bracken is one creepy, but good book! Something happened to the kids when mistake happened. The white noise buffer they always hear stopped. A strange loud noise pierced the air and the ears of the kids. Many kids died right away, others slowly, and others changed. Some slowly, others quickly. The government took all the kids to a brutal camp. One of the camp "doctors" save her and got her out of the camp, but she knows this doctor is going to use her. Very intense story. These kids have 'gifts' they use. Very cool book! Loved it. I got this at the library.
Profile Image for Jesse (JesseTheReader).
459 reviews162k followers
July 23, 2016
I really enjoyed this book! It didn't necessarily blow me away, but it definitely held my attention.
Profile Image for lolo'.
257 reviews40 followers
June 27, 2016
I JUST LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH. MY HEART ACHESSSSSS FOR LIAM I NEED HIM IN MY LIFE.


Thank youuuu literary gods for making me love this book.

I LOVE IT.

Passenger is nooooooothing compared to this.

I love everything about it.

The writing I love it.

The powers are so awesome.

The characters AHHHHH.

Liam my sweet cinnamon roll I love you forever and always.

CHUBS IS MY FAVORITE AND IS MY NEW FICTIONAL BESTFRIEND!!

Zu i just want to wrap her in a blanket and keep her safe.

RUBY IS AWESOME AND THE CHARACTER GROWTH OMG.

Clancy? Hmm...

Martin? Weirdo.

I JUST LOVE EVERYTHING AND I KNOW BOOK TWO WILL BREAK MY SOUL.

Wow just WOW.
758 reviews2,357 followers
April 22, 2017
I have finally finished this almost 500 page boring crap, thanks to my cousin.

description

Expectations, expectations, I should seriously start lowering them. I went into this book expecting some badass, kickass action scenes with a strong heroine, but what I got was a boring ass long as fuck road trip story with some dun dun dun.

When I think Dystopian, this is what comes to my mind:
•Evil government
•Some sort of plague/disease
•Group of teens that must take down the government
•SOME ACTION
•Butt kicking female characters
•Some good romance

So I was expecting this book to be like extremely fucking epic, but it was a huge let-down.

The story:
On the morning of her tenth birthday, Ruby has changed. She survived some sort of disease??? that killed like most of the kids, but she survived and other people like her have some "super powers" and the government is afraid of them so they get sent to some sort of camp. Six years later, Ruby escapes, finds 3 other kids and has some fun on a road trip. Okay they don't exactly have fun on a road trip, but that's the idea I got while reading this book.

Now that actually sounds interesting, but it was boring as fuck. Like about 80% of the story was just Ruby, Liam, Zu, and Chubs in some fucking car running away and shit. It was boring, just not catching my attention. At some point I didn't even want to fucking read this, but I my cousin forced myself me to. There was no action, no awesome ass fighting scenes, no butt kicking heroine and it was just hella long and boring.

Ruby:
What a weak heroine. Like I get it you've been through some traumatic shit???? but like shouldn't you be mad at people and like use your "abilities" to kill them??? All she did was cry and lie and depend on Liam and pity herself. LIKE GET YO FUCKING SHIT TOGETHER WOMAN AND GO KICK SOME PSI ASS!

The romance:
Jesus shit Mary fuck the romance was so what-the-fuck I think my brain just died. At one point Ruby is trying to put as much as distance between herself and Liam, then she starts to slowly let him touch her and then, like 50 pages later they kiss. Like how??? When did we confess feelings here?? Did my eyeballs miss something?? Like HOW THE FUCK DID THIS HAPPEN?

Overall:
Waste of my time. Disappointment.

I'm going to read the next book because I have it so why not?
Profile Image for Angela.
583 reviews1,257 followers
September 30, 2018
LOVED THIS BOOK... A LOVE CHILD OF SHATTER ME AND XMEN!!! COULDNT GET ENOUGH

MOVIE PLEASE

UPDATE AFTER MY RE READ
I’m going to leave my original review and rating.
I originally read this book the first time in 2012. So at that time this was all so new to me that it was definitely a five star read. Now all these years and books later my opinion has kind of changed. I would say now I would give this book a 3.5.

Ruby annoyed me a lot more then I remembered. Liam and chubs are still perfect.


Movie review:
I really enjoyed the movie. The first half is kind of ehhhhh, but the second half I really liked. The actors playing chubs and Liam really stood out. I want a second film just for them. Also because I think with a bigger budget and a little more work put into the writing this movie series could be something good.... however I don’t think we’ll be seeing a second or third film. This it took them to long to put this movie out.
December 12, 2021

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This book is called THE DARKEST MINDS but it could just as well be called THE X-HUNGERVERGENT GAMES, seeing as how it's a snapshot of everything that was trending in 2012. Set in the ambiguous "near-future," an idiopathic degenerative virus (idiopathic being medical jargon for "fuck if I know") has killed most of the United States' children. The ones who survive get neat, psychic powers. Rather than doing anything useful with these powers - which come in five forms: telekinesis, super-intelligence, fire-starting, electrical manipulation, and mind control/reading - the government says, "Hey, let's create a whole bunch of concentration camps to send the kids to! Only we'll call them rehabilitation camps and we'll tell the parents that we're fixing the kids. BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, THAT WORKED SO WELL BEFORE, HISTORICALLY." So the kids must fight for their lives against this fascist, Nazi-like government. And apparently all of the parents in this book are as dickish as the PSF ("Psi Special Forces"), or the government agents in this book, because nobody protests or marches against this. They're just like, "Yeah, fuck kids! Take mine too!"



#Parenting



Ruby, our heroine, has been stuck in one of these camps since she was ten. She is now sixteen. Oh, and she's a special-specialton who has one of the most rare and dangerous powers of them all; she is an Orange (e.g. psychic). She had the foresight to trick her doctor into thinking she was one of the harmless super-intelligent kids when she saw that all of the Reds, Oranges, and Yellows were being sent away, but that is literally the only smart thing she does in the book. From that point on, it's stupid decision after stupid decision. She's also a coward, and a firm follower of the three Ws: whiny, wimpy, and wussy. Want a heroine who bemoans what a monster she is and stands frozen in fear when forced to make any sorts of tough decisions? LMAO, no? Too bad. Her sole quality, apart from her special and rare powers, is her hotness (which she doesn't even know she has), and which you will be reminded of repeatedly from all male characters, usually in uncomfortable and rapey ways.



The rest of the cast is as by the numbers as the tropes of the plot. There's token ethnic girl with stupid nickname (because taking the time to learn to pronounce someone's ethnic name is so un-American) whose sole job is to look cute. There's token Good Guy Greg love interest who falls into insta-love with the heroine's lack of personality and advocates for her without any sort of basis (oh wait, she's hot). There's sidekick lackey with vaguely sexual nickname whose sole purpose is the laughs. And then there's the Red Herring Villain, the one who might as well have a neon sign that says EVIL, DO NOT TRUST, but everyone trusts him and of course he's much hotter than the Good Guy Greg love interest, because beautiful heroines need at least two love interests and the fans need a villain to write bad fanfiction about that they can later republish into a best-selling contemporary romance about sports or college love or some shit.



What annoyed me the most about this book was the wasted potential. It's readable in a way that DIVERGENT was not and the first couple chapters were decent. What bogs this book down is the tedious main character and the fact that nothing really happens. Honestly, I think that's why the movie bombed. If you shave out all of the introspective whining, this book is mostly Ruby walking or driving around and talking to people. Cut out the middle, and the end of the book literally takes off right where the beginning of the book ended, with no character development. We also don't know much more about their powers. As far as I recall, most of their abilities are not explicitly defined in this book - I had to look at some of the reviews for this book to figure out which did what. (Orange? Yellow? Red? Please tell me someone ironically picked Lorde's Yellow Flicker Beat as a soundtrack to this movie so I can laugh my ass off.) Also, major plotholes virtually everywhere you look. Why is this disease only affecting Americans, and specifically, American children? Why aren't the other countries that the United States has a history of being a douche to seizing the advantage and invading or overpowering the nation? So they put up quarantine blockades. Big freaking whoop. Also, the name of the book itself is pretty stupid because brains light up when they're active, so if anything these kids should have the brightest minds (and speaking of bright minds, what the hell is up with these stupid doctors who get tricked by kids at the drop of a hat and fail to produce any sorts of results with medical testing? Get a CAT scan. Take a blood test. Do an EKG. If kids were dying, you can bet that people would be pouring money into funding to stop the progress of the disease - and I highly doubt society would collectively shrug its shoulders and say, "Yeah, take away our kids to be imprisoned, tortured, and executed," psychic symptoms or no. And do you really expect that a teenager was the only person in the country who saw the potential uses of kids with super powers? REALLY?



I'm honestly not sure why this book is as popular as it is. The writing is not great and the plot is not particularly original. It has an okay premise, but STEELHEART and BURN FOR ME by Brandon Sanderson and Ilona Andrews have very similar concepts, and they did it much better. I guess the color-by-sorting hat premise will appeal to teens, who like defining themselves with neat little labels, but Divergent and Harry Potter beat Alexandra Bracken to that, with much success. HUNGER GAMES has more action and better fight scenes, with a kick-ass heroine to boot, and even though both have Amandla Stenberg stealing scenes like the BAMF she is, Hunger Games accords her so much more dignity than The Darkest Minds (which made me want to cringe just by watching the trailer alone, after seeing the mid-2000s special "eye" effects & the Michael Bay-esque explosions). YA Dystopians are so five years ago, and I'm honestly surprised that the people behind the movie didn't learn their lesson from Allegiant's ironically bleak and dystopic fate at the box office.



1.5 to 2 stars
Profile Image for lauren ❀.
271 reviews413 followers
May 27, 2017
"That girl was gone forever, and all that was left was a product of the place that had taught her to fear the bright things inside of her heart."


For once I understand why a book has so much hype. So many books are overrated and others are so underrated. The Darkest Minds deserves the 4.28 average stars it has. It deserves much more than that. This book destroyed me and if I wasn’t in public when I was reading the ending I probably would have done more than tear up. I would have starting crying even though the ending wasn’t so so sad but I always cry in books. This book was one of the best I've ever read.

I wasn’t that excited to read this book. I was a little hesitant. I've been utterly disappointed in the past when I read a book that is so popular but then I can’t fathom why. I thought ‘Oh it's just another dystopian/fantasy book that is probably just like the rest’. BUT NO. This book was better than I possibly could have imagined. From the beginning, I was already drawn into the book. One of the reasons I wasn't that excited was because I didn’t really know what the book was about. I just skimmed the blurb and dove in hoping I wasn’t going to be disappointed.

The plot was just so intriguing. Sometimes I think all dystopian books are the same. The world is in chaos and then some heroine comes in the saves the day. This book was unique and I’m so glad I picked it up. This is going to be a book I will never forget. In some reviews, people say that they only started liking it half way through but I loved it from the beginning. As soon as we learn about whats going on the world Ruby lives in I was engrossed in the book. I don't even have the proper worlds to express my love for this book.

Right now I need to go lower the ratings of some of my other books because this book made me realise that some other books don't deserve to have the same rating as this one. Everyone needs to read this book because it is REMARKABLE!
Profile Image for ♥ℂĦℝΪՖƬΪℕÅ.
230 reviews3,934 followers
October 28, 2018
3 One of Us ★'s

“The Darkest Minds tend to hide behind the most unlikely faces.”

Buddy read with Nancy
This was my very first Alexandra Bracken book and I gotta say I didn't love it but I didn't necessarily hate it either. The writing could have been a lot better, I seemed like some of the sentences were unfinished as well. I kept waiting and waiting for more details that never came. I love the idea and premise of the world and the characters she has created, it just needs more work.
The characters were pretty great and I seriously like them all. The villain was decent, though I figured out who it was right away. This book also has it's really funny bits :D Some parts had me laughing pretty good. The Darkest Minds has lots of hits and misses in places, I was hooked at times and just plain bored at others. I felt that some key elements were missing, that's why I feel this first book only deserves 3 ★'s. I really wish Bracken would have taken more time explaining what the characters actually looked like. It's a really good thing for the movie that's coming out so I can just picture them as I read. I am looking forward to the movie though :) Also, I feel like there should have been a better classification on the powers each color could control and what it all entailed because as of right now I have a vague understanding. It would have been nice to have a better understanding of what caused these powers to manifest in the children in the first place. All in all, this was an ok start to the series and there are still more books that will hopefully answer these questions.

What I know about the colors:
Green - Photographic Memory
Blue - Telekinesis
Yellow - Electtricity
Orange - Mindfuckery
Red - Fire

“When a girl cries, few things are more worthless than a boy.”

These characters are all so easy to like and to sympathize with :) Each one with a story to tell and I can't wait to learn more about there lives before, in the middle of and what's to come. I have a soft spot for the broken and in a society like this one in a world falling apart, let's just say there are a lot of them. I did like the transformation of Ruby's character even though the change was very drastic from the Ruby we met at the being of the book who was a cowardice girl. Then she makes new friends and BAM she's all brave and I'll kick your ass attitude. Still, I'll take it cause I have a distaste for weak whiny characters lol. Liam... *Sighhh, I completely fell for this guy! His charming personality and compassion and bravery is infectious and I understand why people choose to follow him. ♥Ruby and Liam♥ yup, that's my ship!!! These two are insanely adorable together. Then you have Chubs (Charles), he's moody and protective, he puts walls up to keep you out but once you start cracking the foundation you couldn't have a more loyal and trusting friend. Charles is also a funny guy and I couldn't help liking him. Zu (Suzume), where do I start? I freaking love this little girl. She's so sweet, kind, a little sad and broken at times but she warms the heart's around her and it's hard not to be fiercely protective over her. I just really really love Zu and hope to have more from her character! The ending was... Well, it broke my heart and pissed me off at the same time! I get it I do, I even understand why she did what she did but Ruby had NO RIGHT to !!! Enough said!! I recommend this book to anyone who's looking for an easy read and if you don't mind all the missing details :) Even so, it's a good start and it could grow into something better. Moving onto Never Fade. Miss me luck!

Watched the movie tonight: 10/27/18
Well... That really SUCKED!!!! I was hoping it'd be better than the book but it was NOT! Kinda like the way I didn't like The Maze Runner book series but absolutely LOVE the movies. Sadly that wasn't the case here.

All the things I didn't like.
*Sam who? (You know Ruby's friend from Camp Thurmond)
*Their eyes glowed the color that goes with there ability = LAME
*The chemistry between Ruby and Liam nonexistent.
*It rushed through everything and left out key points.
*The reds blew fire through their mouths = LAME
*Black Betty wasn't Black at all but white and she looked brand new.
*Liam's southern charm and all his Darlin(s)??? Nonexistent
*Chubs (the sad part at the end) was completely different = LAME

I could easily go on and on with all the things I hated but I'll leave it here.



“Did you know...you make me so happy that sometimes I actually forget to breathe? I'll be looking at you, and my chest will get so tight...and it's like, the only thought in my head is how much I want to reach over and kiss you.”

“Ruby, give me one reason why we can’t be together, and I’ll give you a hundred why we can. We can go anywhere you want. I’m not your parents. I’m not going to abandon you or send you away, not ever.”
Profile Image for Anja H..
699 reviews451 followers
June 16, 2016
*5 DARKEST STARS*

Sobbing.
That's all I can do right now. That ending was so heartbreaking I can't even get my thoughts straight. I'm still wondering why it took me so long to decide to read this absolute gem of a book. I would give this evey star in the galaxy if I could!

I'm really sad I still haven't been able to get my hands on the sequel, since I really NEED to read how this continues asap!
Full review coming soon!
Profile Image for Regan.
366 reviews108k followers
July 5, 2013
Absolutely fantastic, it feels like its been a long time since I've read a book so good. The characters had depth, the story was engrossing and action packed, I honestly could not put this book down. Easily in my top for this year ALREADY.

Profile Image for Zoë.
328 reviews66.4k followers
March 2, 2015
I enjoyed this book!
I love stories about people with special powers so this book was perfect. I had a few problems with this book, some due to the fact that I had to read it really slowly since I had limited free time this month. I didn't really enjoy any of the romance in this book which is upsetting for someone who loves romance and I didn't get very attached to any of the characters.
Profile Image for ✨    jami   ✨.
653 reviews3,842 followers
August 8, 2018
“The Darkest Minds tend to hide behind the most unlikely faces.”


here I was thinking 2013 culture was dead and buried, but the darkest minds says hello i guess

oh my god ?? I enjoyed this SO MUCH MORE than I thought I would. I mean I just think 2012 and 2013 was a dark time for YA lit and I barely like any series written around then jfdhgkjf but i had so much fun with this, honestly if the beginning was a bit better I probably would have given this a five star?? like it really was entertaining as and had some great characters and plot twists oooh boy ! (then again, who am I kidding I am literally always a hoe for some good kids with superpowers books)

so I really wanna go out and binge the rest of the series now ANYWAY I cant wait to see the movie I hope its good. FULL REVIEW TO COME
Profile Image for Petrik.
655 reviews39.9k followers
March 27, 2022
3.5/5 Stars

I bought The Darkest Minds trilogy because I was in need of some Dystopia books to read once in a while as a break from reading my favorite genre, high-fantasy. Hey, everyone need a break once in a while from their favorite genre right? ;) and this doesn't disappoint me!

My review will be quite short this time as I'm going to read the next novella and sequel after this but as a start, let me say this. I'm not a fan of the YA genre. In fact, it's one of the genre that I avoid the most. It's not that the genre itself is bad, it's just it seems like there's nothing new anymore in the genre and this holds true even for this book. I probably only have one more YA series after this trilogy in my TBR list (Raven boys). I'll start my review with the cons first!

One of the biggest cons of the book is as I mentioned before, there's nothing new here. Whether it's from the world-building, powers, story, almost every thing in the book have been done before and there's really little actions here contrary to my expectation. I also find that the plot took quite a while to progress, the book itself got strong premises and the story starts and ends strong but falls quite a bit in the middle section.

Now on to the pros. Let me tell you two factors that make this book really good for me. Characters and the writings.

The characters in this book are very endearing except for maybe the main character Ruby, I'm so-so about her but I can clearly see a lot of people will or hated her already. I find the interactions between every main characters, Ruby, Liam, Chubs and Zu to be really interesting as their characteristic are well established and we keep on learning new things about each characters as we progressed.

However all of this are futile if it's not because of the great writings Bracken's did here, I really love how Alexandra Bracken wrote her story and characters. I heard from an interview that each main characters possessed her characteristic which I really believed cause every single characters are realistic and their decisions are believable. Not only the good ones but the bad ones also.

Oh, I have a bit of prediction, I'm 99% sure that Liam is created based on Bracken's imagination of a perfect guy. I mean this dude is just insanely kind, brave and sweet. I'm surprised he didn't kill anyone by giving them diabetes. (He's still a great character though along with Chubs!)

Overall, I conclude this by saying there's no way a book with bad writings could pull me to read 300 pages in one sitting. This means that even though the story doesn't progress much in the middle, Bracken's writing will still pull you into the book and with her focus on great character developments and relationships, this book became a page turner. If you're looking into reading some good dystopia novel and if you're also a YA fans, then there's more reason why you should try reading this :)
Profile Image for Lara (Bookish_turtle).
227 reviews196 followers
May 13, 2018
This book is so so so gooooooooooooood!! Drop everything and go read it!

LIST OF LOVES:
~Liam is the greatest cinnamon roll sweetheart cheeseball to ever walk the earth... Just sayin'.
~Zu is the most adorable, precious, and underestimated thing ever!
~Chubs broke my heart like 17 times
~Ruby (MC) was pretty awesome
~Also, the protagonist wasn't whiny. THIS IS SUCH A RARE TRAIT THANK YOU RUBY!!!
~Attention was grabbed right from the beginning
~But seriously guys, Liam is incredible!
~Perfect number of flashbacks to give insight but not drag
~Kept up the pacing right to the end
~I was never bored
~Plot was unpredictable (for me at least)
~Liam.
~I mean like, the whole cast of characters
~LIAM!!!

The tiny nitpicky details I didn't like so much:
~Ruby was a kinda generic main character
~World wasn't introduced super well, I was confused esp. at the beginning
~Some parts in the middle dragged a bit

The things that I REALLY didn't like:
~Martin: Just generally a creep before he even said a word
~Clancey: Just generally a creep from the first sentence his slimy face spoke.
~WHAT EVEN WAS THAT ENDING MY GOODNESS I AM NOT OKAY!!!!!!!!!!
Profile Image for ambsreads.
656 reviews1,403 followers
July 18, 2016
4.5

I can't even write a proper review for this book, oh my lord. I loved it. I loved Ruby, Liam, Chubs, Zu and Betty so much omg. I'm totally having grabby hands over the next book and all you need to know is I loved this book and I'm so happy it met every expectation I had.
Profile Image for Andreea Pop.
320 reviews2,105 followers
April 5, 2015
“Time to carpe the hell out of this diem.”

Holy shit. What to do with my life now that I finished this beauty of a book?



I am late to the party, as always, but better late than never. By a few years but I picked The Darkest Minds up because I've had enough of not having a clue about this "beautiful series" (like I also do with Delirium, The Raven Circle and Mara Dyer -- don't worry, you're next). Well let me tell you something: OHMYGOD THE FEELS. That pretty much sums up this book. And I'm sooo grateful I finally read it, because now I can binge-read the whole series and I don't have to bear the usual miserable waiting.

I loved everything about it. The original concept, the action-driven plot, the complex characters and the lovely writing style. Now that I really think about it, it reminded me (just a bit) of The Young Elites, because in both books the story is centered on a group of kids who survived a disease and got the honor of obtaining incredible abilities. That's the end of it though, since the execution is totally different and one is a fantasy while the other is a dystopia.

“We had to find a way to amuse ourselves because we had no stories—no dreams, no future—other than the ones we created for ourselves.”



The main character, Ruby, is a kick-ass girl. Ruby completely bewildered me, since in the beginning I thought she's gonna be one of those shy, insipid heroines. Fortunately, I was wrong -- she's brave, smart, rational and strong-willed, not to mention ambitious and protective. Maybe naive on the edges, but regardless of her flaws, she'll win your hearts over in no time.



Ah, and the love interest is swoon-worthy! Liam Steward will have you gushing and sighing from the get-go and it's not because he's a macho, stuck-up hottie, but because he's heart achingly humble, kind, funny and honest. Okay, his looks don't hurt either, but that's beside the point. *wink*

“He's so busy looking inside people to find the good that he misses the knife they're holding in their hand.”

But by far my favorite aspect of the whole story was the romance between Ruby and Liam. It astounded me how natural it felt, how easily it developed and how meant to be it was. These two just clicked and I honestly believe that they're better together than they are alone and that they triggered the character-development in one another. I loved that they first developed a friendship and I loved that they earned each other's thrust before moving on to more serious stuff. And I absolutely adored the fact that the author didn't skip over the hand-holding, cuddling and kiss on the cheek milestones that people often ignore (truly cuteness overall, I'm telling you).

“Never, never, never. I am never going to forget you.”



I bet you experienced lots of times when an author forces two characters together, but not Alexandra Bracken, because she created these two so flawlessly. It's been a time since I could use words such as "adorable", "cute" and "asdfghjkl" to describe a couple, not to mention a couple based in a book filled with dire situations like this one. But they did give me butterflies; they did plaster a goofy smile on my face and they did make my heart thump nervously whenever they were entering romantic territory -- and this is all because Bracken gave them the value they deserved and she transformed them into the beacon of light this story needed in order to feel complete.

“Did you know...you make me so happy that sometimes I actually forget to breath? I'll be looking at you, and my chest will get so tight...and it's like, the only thought in my head is how much I want to reach over and kiss you.”

The rest of the characters were equally intriguing. I especially loved Suzume (who is just precious) and Chubs, but who wouldn't, really? They're awesome. There was another character (I'm not gonna say who it is if by some miracle I'm not the last human being on Earth to have not read this story) I found quite complex, but my black heart was broken a bit by "it" in the end; it wouldn't hurt to see some redemption in the next books regarding this character, I'd probably admire the author even more.

“It feels like we should do something,” he said. “Like, send her off on a barge out to sea and set her on fire. Let her go out in a blaze of glory.”
Chubs raised an eyebrow. “It’s a minivan, not a Viking.”


I'll be honest with you, for three quarters of the book I said I'll rate The Darkest Minds as a 4 stars read. I was enjoying it very much, I fell in love with the characters, but still. Something was missing. That last part though made the freaking difference. So many stuff happened. So many guy-wrenching scenes. SO MANY FEELS. *wipes away tears*



And that's the moment when I got why everyone's in love with the series -- because this book, despite its SF and dystopian traits, somehow feels real. The relationships, the characters, the fears, the dreams -- I could connect to every single thing. There is blood-pumping action that keeps you on the edge of your seat. There's a toe-curling romance. There are heartwarming friendships and wannabe rivalries. There's a strong, well-developed plot and a believable world-building. There's truly anything you could possibly want.

I don't know what else to say that the other thousands of reviews haven't already said. I'm possibly starstruck by The Darkest Minds and I can assure you that Alexandra Bracken is officially on my automatic wishlist. I suggest you read this book -- if it's for your first time, you'll be hooked; if it's the nth time, I think you won't mind a lovely re-read. Blood-pumping, heartwarming and bittersweet, The Darkest Minds is a gorgeous read.

“The darkest minds tend to hide behind the most unlikely faces.”

ENJOY! <3
Profile Image for Kogiopsis.
759 reviews1,454 followers
January 6, 2016
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 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.

God.
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.





A couple of quotes/aspects that stuck out to me under this spoiler cut; pages from the ARC:

(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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