The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken is a YA dystopian novel that is set in America after a disease called Idiopathic Adolescent Acute Neurodegeneration (IAAN), kills 98 percent of America’s children. The onset of the disease can occur anywhere from 8 to 11 years old. However, the children that do survive develop powers that cause the government to fear them. They are sent to labor camps where they are segregated based on ability. The Greens are good at problem solving and puzzles. The Blues have telekinetic abilities. The Yellows have the capability of surging electricity through objects. The Reds have pyrokinesis. The Oranges, like the protagonist Ruby, have the ability for mind control and can even wipe someone’s memory clean. Ruby has been at Thurmond camp for six years, and finally when she is 16 years old she is smuggled out by the Children’s League, who aren’t as good, as they say, are. She then escapes and meets Zu, Chubs, and Liam. Together they travel to find the elusive East River where Psi kids like them can be safe. This book kept my attention and has been a refreshing take on the dystopian novel. I would give this a 4 out of 5. Here is my Five Things Wrap Up!
- I did not get too attached to the characters
I enjoyed getting to know the characters, but I never became too attached. They never went into their pasts or their individual stories. Bracken glossed over them, and it was not enough for me to really understand them. Even when they were talking of getting home and keeping hope, I did not find myself rooting for them. Moreover, I didn’t get too choked up when things got rough for the gang. Hopefully, there will be more development in the next two books.
- I loved Liam and Ruby
Ruby and Liam are adorable. Liam was sweet as can be, and his only fault was that he was too nice… every girl’s dream. Now, I don’t normally fall for a guy with a southern drawl, but when he says “darlin’” I respectfully swoon. The book was not centered on the blossoming of their relationship, which was also refreshing for a YA novel. The times when they were romantic it was so cute, and not at all nauseating… I can’t spoil anything, but for people that have read the book. THE END OF THE BOOK. AHH! The feels…
- An interesting take on a dystopia—it deals with sickness and then children in labor camps… what?!
I have not read a dystopian novel that dealt with sickness. This was refreshing because most popular dystopian novels lately have a Hunger Games and Divergent feel. I want to get more into the dystopian genre if I can get more books like this one. I am also really into diseases and sickness… It is something I feel like can get anyone unnerved. There is always mass hysteria when a virus emerges, and the one in this book wiped out 98 percent of America’s children. The Darkest Minds has definitely caught my attention and is giving other dystopian books a run for their money.
- The theme of self-acceptance and staying true to yourself is amazing
Ruby is an Orange who are usually considered the most dangerous to the government. They have the ability to control people’s minds and make them do unimaginable things. Ruby is disgusted with her ability and has a hard time accepting herself. She is afraid to get close to anyone because she does not want to cause them pain. However, through the book she comes to terms with her abilities and starts to accept herself. I think this is an important theme to have in YA novels, for it shows a strong girl that is willing to prove people wrong. She knows she is not a monster, and the power she possesses is not going to change her. This is really admirable in a character.
- There was a rollercoaster of my interest in the book…
I did enjoy this book, but the reason I gave this one a 4 out of 5 was that it did not lock my attention the whole time. I was engaged for the first 100 pages or so, and then UI felt my interest decline for about 200 pages. Now, I was not disinterested by the book… I just saw a decline in the action and excitement of the book. The last 100 pages though… wow! They reeled in my attention, and I blew through to the end of the book. The book never got dull, but it definitely fluctuates in how gripping the story is.