Monday, July 29, 2013
The Darkest Minds
by Alexandra Bracken
Published: 488
Pages: 12. 18. 12

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.
Before reading this book, I'd heard so many good ravings about this book. However I wasn't sure what I'd think of it all, Now, having read it I still don't know what to think. What to say even. This book leaves me so confused. It's good...then slow...then picks up...then FEELS. I can't decide if I LOVE LOVE it or if it's just average. Maybe that's why this book was so good? I don't know. Maybe writing all this out will help me figure it out. Spoilers, if any, will be highlighted in Green.

This book starts off with a good buildup and introduction to our dear Ruby's predicament. It was very interesting to read about, but to be honest. I wasn't feeling that gung-ho about this book. It was well-told but I was just hanging on for the action to kick in. Which brings me into the pacing. This book is steady and driven. It's not rushed. Oh there is some action and intensity, but it's not a GO-GO-GO kinda book. Especially as we see Ruby on the run. To quote Ashley, it's like a "glorified road trip." Being on the run takes up a lot the book. And though incidents happen and we learn things, I didn't feel that it was all that it cracked up to be. There were times when I felt weighed down with the somewhat slow pacing.

One thing I loved about this book was the diversity of character in this novel. The cast was wonderful! Ruby's friends are some of my favorite people. Zu is so unique. She is sweet, strong and vulnerable all in her own ways. It was so sweet to see Ruby's bond and need to protect her, similar to what Liam does. Which brings me to Liam. Gotta love him. He is one of the sweetest boys in YA. He's kind of like a Jane Bennett character type. Yes I'm so comparing him to a girl. Liam has this need to help and see the good. He's naive in his own way, but he's also strong and the passion to stand for his loyalties and those he cares about. I adored him also for being smart, and not acting stupidly when Ruby did something completely annoying. Go you. And then there's Chubs. He's the funny sarcastic one. The guy who tries to come off as prickly, but you just love anyway. Kudos to Alexandra. All these characters had a definitive character ARC. We see the their strengths, and we see their weakness and because of that, it just makes it so much better.

However, despite my love this gang, my feelings about Ruby confuse me. Ruby has had a pretty rough going and she gets a chance to escape it all. She's got some kick-butt powers and strengths. I loved those scenes. But she also has this mindset that almost ingrained in her. It's the flight and protect mode. She pushes away what she wants and does what she thinks needs to be done without   necessarily considering alternatives. To me this resulted in me feeling disconnected from her. I would get ticked off at some of her choices, and just plan wanted her to get over some of her issues and show us the fierce and strong Ruby on the inside. Don't get me wrong, I liked her, don't get me wrong. But this back and forth mood swing going on? Not gonna cut it.

My biggest complaint with this book would have to be the lack of explanation in a few places. There are all these kids with powers and we're led to learn that there are levels of these powers. And yet, I felt like we never got a specific description of what they could actually do. It goes unsaid and it's that hard to figure out, but I would have appreciated explanations. Other than that, there only a few scenes where I would be confused, as if I was missing something. But it was never to the extent that I would be forced to put down this book.

So my feelings about this book were like a pendulum. I loved certain aspects and disliked certain others. And then the climax builds. And then it ends. And the climax, that kinda explodes in your face makes you start to scream. It's this mash-up of a choice and cliffhanger that just makes you want to tear your hair out! I'm not saying anything, but GOSH. I don't even know. It made me so scared of Never Fade to be honest. I don't want to read and find my hopes dashed. Alexandra kinda took my heart and put it on a ledge where it could fall at any moment. I just love it and hate it at the same time.

Am I even making sense you guys? This book was great! But it wasn't everything I had anticipated. It was very interesting and I enjoyed the concept, but certain developments kept it from perfection. I'm very excited to dive into Never Fade, and the novella, which I will be reading. You can't just finish a book with that kind of end and then not have even the slightest curiosity what happens next. You just can't!

Content: Milderate
[A few instances of language including a few of the F and S word. Some kissing.]
So that's me. What about you? I'd love to know your thoughts on this book! Link me to your reviews if you've read it! XOXO,


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