Saturday, December 8, 2012

ARC Review: The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

The Darkest Minds
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Publication: Hyperion Book CH (December 18, 2012)

Description: 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.

My Thoughts: The Darkest Minds is a science fiction story that takes place in a near future United States. The economy has crashed leaving many people out of work and homeless. The government has fallen apart. Worst of all, though, is that a disease has struck the nation’s children which has killed the vast majority of them and left the survivors with mental powers that frighten the adults. The children are rounded up and sent to camps where they are supposedly being cured.

Ruby was ten when her powers developed. She has the ability to get into people’s minds and see their memories. She can also erase people’s minds and get them to do what she wants. Her powers would be classified at the orange level but she managed to convince the tester to classify her as a green. She spends six years at Thurmond where conditions are brutal for all the children. She sees the kids classified as yellow, orange, and red removed from the camps. Rumor has it that they have been killed.

Ruby’s life changes when she is sixteen and she is rescued from the camp by the Children’s League. At first she is grateful for the rescue but her ability to see into memories quickly shows her that the League’s motives aren’t as pure as they told her. They want Ruby – who is one of the few remaining oranges – as a weapon to use in their attempt to overthrow the government.

Ruby runs from them and meets three other children who are also on the run. Liam and Chubs are about her age and are blues – who have psychokinetic powers – and Suzume is a yellow and can control electricity. Through them she learns that there might be a safe place for kids if they can just find it. There is supposed to be a place called East River overseen by another mysterious kid called the Slip Kid where they can be safe.

The kids go through all sorts of adventures on the hunt for East River. They have to avoid the skip tracers who are after them and the PSIs who are the President’s soldiers and the Children’s League. Along the way friendship develops between them and a romance develops between Liam and Ruby.

When they find East River, they learn that it is not the paradise that they were hoping for and the Slip Kid not the hero they needed.

While I enjoyed the story, I did feel that it was  long and slow-paced. I found it easy to put down and walk away from for long stretches of time during the middle of the story. But there was lots I liked too. I liked the relationship between Liam and Ruby. I liked that Ruby was afraid of her powers and determined to learn to control them. I liked that Ruby and Liam had a vision for their future that would make life better for all children. Liam was a true hero and a charismatic leader. I liked the friendship between Liam and Chubs and I completely understood why Chubs was initially so suspicious of Ruby.

Fans of science fiction and dystopias will be the audience for this story. I sincerely hope that there is a sequel planned as the ending just about broke my heart.

Favorite Quote:
"How many?" They really hadn't learned anything new in all the years I was trapped in Thurmond? "How many of us are left?"

"According to the government, there are approximately a quarter of a million children under the age of eighteen, but our estimate is closer to a tenth of that."
I received this eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. You can buy your copy here.

1 comment:

  1. I love Science Fiction - but it is a genre where the books can be very fast moving interesting reads, or completely on the other spectrum - with long boring sections. Not sure why I notice it more with SciFi than other genres - but i do. So, while the book sounds very good from the description, the fact that you are able to put it down for a while - that makes me wonder if it's worth reading. I hope there's an excerpt available for reading.

    What did you think about the narration style? What was happening in the slower parts? absolutely boring stuff? or daily life with details?

    lol - I'm glad to hear about this book, so reading your review let me know it's around. I guess I need a little more info before I decide whether I want to buy it for me to read, or if it will be interesting enough for older students in the school library to enjoy. ;)


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