Friday, 8 January 2016

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken **Review**

The Darkest Minds
Series: Darkest Minds #1
Pages: 488
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release date: 18th December 2012

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Goodreads synopsis:
When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something frightening enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that got her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that had killed most of America’s children, but she and the others emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they could not control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. She is on the run, desperate to find the only safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who have 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 having a life worth living.

I got the third and final book in this trilogy for Christmas, so I figured it was about time that I started reading the first book, and I'm so glad that this was my first book of the year. 
The Darkest Minds was incredibly easy to get into. I read the first 40 pages without even blinking (okay, maybe I did blink, but it felt like I didn't), and before I knew it, I was totally addicted to the world and its characters. The story is set up really well at the beginning, to the point where I wasn't ever really confused about what was going on; there was just enough information that I had a good grasp of what had happened to the country and how it looked now, after disaster had struck. 

There are certain things I would have liked a little more explanation of, though. For example, I wanted to know why the disease affected some children one way, and others in another – why did some die and some end up with superpowers? Even if they don't know, I think I would have wanted that explained, but it's not a major point, I can overlook it. There's also two more books left, so I suppose all could be explained in a later chapter. 

The range of characters in this book were really interesting, especially characters like Cate, who are a little more complicated than a simple 'this is a good guy' or 'this is a bad guy'. The Slip Kid in particular is quite a complicated character (I can't go into this character too much without spoilers), and I think I like him and hate him in equal measure at the moment. I will say though, that the identity of the Slip Kid was supposed to be this big reveal and I saw it coming from a mile away, so I was little disappointed that that was so predictable.  

Ruby was a fantastic main character. We meet her as this terrified 16-year-old girl who has been locked up in a camp for 'freak kids' since she was 10, and unlike the other kids, she is harbouring a secret that could potentially get her killed. It certainly isolates her, and when we meet her, she has given up on ever getting close to anyone again. But that all soon changes when she meets Chubs, Liam and Zu, and that's when her character really starts to grow. You can see her character development so clearly and I really love that she grows so much in just the space of the first book. I can't wait to see how much she'll grow and change in book two. 

The other main characters, Liam, Zu and Chubs are equally as loveable. They couldn't be more different from each other, but I think that's what makes them such an interesting and strong group of people. However, whereas most of the kids are given a colour to match their power (blue for telekinetic, yellow for electricity, green for super-intelligence etc), I don't recall Chubs having used his powers or even spoken about them. I assume he's a green, but this isn't confirmed, which is a little frustrating, but again not a big minus point. 

The only reason I have taken my rating of this down to 4 stars is because I could see some of the twists coming, and I could predict that certain things were going to happen in the book, even if I didn't know exactly when. But, it was an incredibly enjoyable read. It was fast-paced, compelling and totally addictive. The ending was heartbreaking, so I will definitely be moving straight onto book two to find out what happens next (and hope my broken heart can be healed). 


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