The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
Published by: Disney Hyperion
Genre(s): YA, Dystopian
Buy it: Amazon
This book is set in a dystopian society in a futuristic US where kids are suffering from a disease called IAAN (Idiopathic Adolescent Acute Neurodegeneration). This disease normally develops around the age of 10 years old. Most of these kids die, but the ones who survive are left with certain abilities (telekinesis, mind control, etc.), which terrifies the adults. This fear leads them to send the kids into rehabilitation camps where they end up being treated like monsters. Our main character, Ruby, is sent to a rehabilitation camp called Thurmond when she’s 10 years old. The book follows her and her journey of escaping Thurmond and eventually meeting 3 others (Liam, Chubs, and Zu) who escaped from a different rehabilitation camp.
I really thought I was going to like this book a lot more than I actually did. The first half of the book was incredibly slow, and somewhat boring. I found it difficult to follow a lot of the time and was left feeling confused to the point where I felt I needed to re-read certain paragraphs just to make sure I hadn’t missed anything or had read/interpreted something wrong.
I thought the concept was really awesome and the idea of classifying all the kids based on their abilities by colors (green, blue, yellow, orange and red) was super interesting and unique. However, I don’t think it was explained very well. I kept waiting for an explanation on what all the colors meant and what abilities each color had, but it never came. There were so many times I thought to myself “wait, what ability do the green kids have again” or blue, or red, etc. because it’s never fully explained for us. She kind of just gives you the pieces of the puzzle and you have to put them together yourself. And I’m sure a lot of people like that about the book or didn’t have a problem figuring it out themselves, but for me, it just made it more confusing. I like everything to be explained 100% to me and that just didn’t happen with this book.
There’s also never any back-story as to what exactly this disease is, what’s causing it, why it’s killing most of the kids and giving the others these crazy super powers. I’m not sure if this is more fully explained in the next two books, but I would have liked a little more explanation in this one.
The pace of this book was SO up and down. There would be a few chapters where it was so slow I could barely stand it, and then the next couple of chapters would start getting a little more action packed and interesting, but then it would start getting slow again. It was like a roller coaster. The best part of this book, by far, is the last 60 or so pages. This is where the most action happens and when I was most glued to the pages and invested in the story. If it wasn’t for those last 60 pages I probably would have given this book a lower rating.
I also found quite a few typos throughout the book, which I know has nothing to do with the story itself, but is still a little aggravating (to me at least).
One of my favorite things about this book was Liam. I absolutely LOVE him. He was my favorite character by far. He is the definition of a good guy. Sweet, loyal, friendly, a great leader. Just a genuinely good person. I love him.
BUT THAT ENDING THOUGH. MY HEART. ALL THE FEELS. I can’t even handle it. I need to know what happens next!
Overall, a good book. Not the best writing in the world, but the story itself is interesting and I’m hopeful that it just gets better in the next two books!