Review: The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

The Darkest MindsHeaders
The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
Book One of The Darkest Minds trilogy
Published on December 18, 2012
Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Dystopian
Buy this book from Amazon

I read this book on paperback.

“The darkest minds tend to hide behind the most unlikely faces.” pg. 456

Ruby, a survivor of an epidemic wiping out all the children, has a dangerous supernatural ability that she fears will consume her but when she escapes the Government-operated facility holding her and the rest of the surviving kids, Ruby is flung into the middle of very big situations.

The Darkest Minds film rights have been optioned by Twentieth Century FOX in 2011.  As of September 2014, Chad Hodge had been hired to write the screenplay.  (Source)

In the past month, I bought 5 new books: The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon, A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas, An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir, Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, and The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken.  After reading each synopsis, the one I found most intriguing was The Darkest Minds.  And if you knew anything about the other books on the list, you’d know that they were highly rated as well.

So did it live up to the hype I created for it in my head?  No, but I definitely didn’t regret reading it.

The idea of the book was pretty neat and imaginative.  Children in modern-day life were dying from a disease and the ones that survived  were being rounded up by the government and put into camps because they had superpowers.  If this didn’t instill a “Fight The Man!” mentality into teenagers, I don’t know what will.  But that’s the besides the point.  Bracken’s world-building was adequate but I felt like it was lacking more explanation.  I wanted to know the whys and the hows but was left wanting.  However, maybe this was done purposely and will be explained in the sequels.

I wasn’t a big fan of the lead character, Ruby.  Even though it was told in first person narrative, I didn’t get much of a sense for who she really was.  For some reason, there was a disconnect.  But maybe this was also done on purpose because Ruby herself didn’t know who she was yet.  Her love interest, on the other hand, Liam was awesome.  He was a really likable character because he had a genuine quality to his nature.

For most of the book, I was into it but not in a on-the-edge-of-my-seat, I-love-these-characters kind of way.  I kept wishing a bigger plot turn would happen.  Don’t get me wrong–there was plenty of action but I guess I just couldn’t get rid of the nagging questions in my head regarding this world that didn’t get answered with every turn of the page.  With 40 pages left to the book, I was ready to give this a 2-star rating.

And then the last 40 pages happened.  Man, was the ending to this book great.  It had everything I wanted in a dystopian novel: a crazy, high-level buildup, an action-packed scene, an unexpected event, and then the cherry on top: an ending that leaves you salivating for the next book.

I had a hard time deciding what to rate this book.  If the entire book held the same kind of pull and energy as the last 10%, no question, this would be a 5-star read.  But alas, it didn’t.  And 90% of the book was a little above mediocre at best so that can’t be overlooked.  I will admit though, once I finished the last page, I went on Amazon and bought the second book immediately.

Alexandra Bracken began writing her first novel as a sophomore in college.  She signed with an agent on her 21st birthday and sold Brightly Woven 6 months later.  (Source)

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