Review: The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

The Darkest MindsThe Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
Read: February 28 – March 2, 2013
Book club selection, dystopia genre.

Book Blurb: 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.

My Opinion: A quick note before I begin. I used the Goodreads blurb, and I truncated it, because the full blurb has some spoilers in it. You have been warned.

I enjoyed The Darkest Minds more than I probably would have under most circumstances. I mean, the plot is pretty standard in YA Dystopa. The children are being oppressed by the adults because of some sort of ability or sickness, and they are struggling to take back their place in the world. It seems to be cropping up in a lot of places. So there was nothing overly special or unique there.

Ruby, our main character, was pretty insipid. Liam, the main male character, was pretty standard as well. I didn’t find myself drawn to either of them at all, and I wouldn’t really care if either of them walked off into the sunset and never returned. However, there are two secondary characters in the book, Zu and Chubs. They are really well written, and I loved every page that had them on it. They brought the heart to the story, in my opinion, and kept it from being a complete wash. The main villain was pretty predictable, and we never got a look inside their motives, which left me feeling like they were one-dimensional.

The pacing of The Darkest Minds was pretty fast, but when you look at it, there isn’t a lot of meat. I think the pacing is a nice sleight of hand. It keeps you reading, thinking things are about to happen, and then things just… don’t happen. Or, they happen and they are flat. But it all happens so fast that you THINK things are happening. It is a genius ploy, really, because I enjoyed the ride.

The writing was slightly above average for the general young adult genre, which is to say it wasn’t stellar but it wasn’t completely horrible. There were definitely some inconsistencies that dragged me out of the story. People appearing without walking up, etc.

I really abhorred the ending of the book. I don’t want to spoiler it, but as a reader and an aspiring writer, I cannot fathom Bracken’s desire to end the book the way she did. I was also angered by the amount of questions left without even a promise of an answer. I may pick up book two when it comes out, but I am not eagerly awaiting it.

Bottom Line: Fast paced, but vanilla. Good for a quick read, but I found nothing groundbreaking here.


2 thoughts on “Review: The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

    • Thanks for the comment! I think it was definitely a first book, and it showed, unfortunately. Sometimes you get debuts that are stunning, and sometimes you get the ones that are just kind of OK. The Darkest Minds was unfortunately the latter.

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