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.
Many thanks to Disney Hyperion for the review copy!
I was very, very excited to receive The Darkest Minds due to the great number of rave reviews I’ve seen for this book. In fact, I had really high expectations for this book right from the very first word printed on the page, and I’m glad to say I fell in love with it pretty quickly.
The story started at a quick pace, and I was immediately thrust into Ruby’s (the protagonist) dystopian world, where thousands of kids are classified into five colors–Green, Yellow, Red, Blue, and Orange. These kids were survivors of a mysterious disease that infected only children, and those who lived had special powers of different kinds, thus resulting into the five classifications above. On Ruby’s tenth birthday, her parents were scared enough of her to lock her in the garage and call for the police to pick her up and she got sent to Thurmond, a ‘rehabilitation camp’ for children who had brains wired differently from other people. Six years later, Ruby is still at Thurmond, except she has a secret that she has kept since she set foot in the camp when she was a child, one that could threaten her life and her chances of having a relatively normal life among the other kids and teens. After managing to escape with the help of unlikely people involved in a surprising organization, Ruby somehow gets picked up by a group of three–Suzume, (Zu) Liam, and Chubs–who have a single goal: To look for the Slip Kid, a mysterious character who helps those who have escaped from various rehabilitation camps for children with special abilities.
The plot was a wonderfully imaginative one, filled with roller coaster twists and turns, shocking new characters, and a brilliant new perspective on the government, society, and the special abilities that were dangerous enough to blow everything out of proportion. Furthermore, the way Alexandra Bracken built her dystopian world was, as a matter of fact, extremely interesting since it was laced with mind-blowing revelations and beautiful writing. Also, If I am remembering right, there were no less than four twists in this novel, and since they were all interconnected, the book never failed to surprise me again and again even if I knew that a certain twist or event was going to happen anyway.
The characters, too, were awfully endearing and brave ones, and I liked how Ruby trusted her gut despite being holed up in Thurmond for most of her life. She had quick instincts that either benefited her or made a catastrophe of everything, but she managed to keep the balance and find loyal friends in Chubs, Liam, and Zu, who took her in under their wing. One of my favorite characters is Chubs, actually, because he was a character who evolved so well throughout the novel, and despite his initial pig-headedness, he grew to be a loyal friend you’d love to have on your side. Liam, I thought, was a good love interest for Ruby, though he didn’t affect me in the way Chubs did. He was, however, a brave and selfless character who complemented Ruby perfectly, and he acted as the cutest big brother to Zu as well. Clancy was a surprising character, though, since I never expected him to actually play a part in the book, and I wish things turned out differently for him.
After reading the whole book, though, I had one question that attacked me over and over again despite my efforts to shoo it away: Wasn’t the government afraid the population would die out? Up until now, I still can’t find a plausible reason as to why they would allow such a thing, but we’ll see in the sequels.
Overall, The Darkest Minds was a fantastic read, and throughout the whole book, I felt like Alexandra Bracken was pulling the floor out from under my feet again and again until I was free-falling into the wonders of this beautiful and horrifying world she has managed to create.