When Ruby woke up on her 10th 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 16, 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.
©2012 Alexandra Bracken (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
The Darkest Minds was a much more emotional read for me than I initially expected. I went into it thinking it would be a X-Men type story full of action and excitement. What I found was something much more human. Alexandra Bracken evokes so many feelings throughout this book that you almost feel light headed at times.
I can't say what drove Ruby's parents to lock her in the garage and call the authorities to come pick her up. It would really be too spoilerish. But imagine this scenario, if you will. Children all over are hitting puberty and developing strange, powerful and sometimes deadly abilities. Maybe not the most unique idea, it's been done...but not quite like it has in The Darkest Minds. I digress. Parents are being conditioned to fear children and are told to turn them in for 'rehabilitation'. Not all parents go along with this idea, but most do.
Rehabilitation is really no more than imprisonment and the kids with the most dangerous abilities, coded by the colors 'Reds' and 'Oranges' , are quickly disappearing from these kiddy prison camps. When Ruby is picked up she manages to skate by and be coded as a 'Green', one of the least dangerous. However, eventually someone catches on and wants to use her abilities for their own profit and helps her leave the grand daddy of all camps. But Ruby escapes this second custody and hooks up with three other kids on the run. Liam, Chubs and Zu. Eventually, they find a haven for kids like them and a mastermind of an Orange named Clancy who wants to help Ruby develop her powers.
Ruby starts off as a fairly meek heroine. She hides behinds others and is terrified of herself. She eventually comes to use her powers when trying to protect others but still has this fear of them throughout the book. Towards the end I was mentally screaming at her to just let them loose already! Though, you absolutely have to feel for Ruby, she's spent six years at Camp Thurmond and knows really nothing of the outside world or human behavior. She's basically a ten year old in a sixteen year old body. Not to mention she is terrified to even touch anyone else because of her brains powerful ability to force its way into anyone's head and see all their memories, good or bad.
The relationships she slowly forms with Liam, Chubs, Zu and eventually Clancy change everything about Ruby and how she views herself and her life. She comes to realize that there are bigger threats than herself for those she cares about and they aren't all coming from obvious places. She learns how to love, how to be in control, how to be controlled and how much she is willing to sacrifice to protect others like her.
Now, there is some of X-Men type action, it's not chalked full of it, but there are some scenes and they are pretty fricking cool. I'm hoping for much more of them in the books to come, because they really are very exciting and kids kicking ass is just fun. There is also a large amount of humor. Liam and Chubs are both great characters with smart mouths and tender hearts. Zu is a total sweetheart that I dare anyone not to love.
The relationships in The Darkest Minds will tickle your heart, the action scenes will jump start it, the mystery and intrigue may cause it to skip a beat here and there and the ending will threaten to stop it for a second or two.
Kids who have superpowers isn’t exactly a new concept in Young Adult (or in books in general for that matter) – but wow – was I pretty impressed with the execution of this book. I feel as thought Alexandra Bracken took the whole “superpowers are bad and the government is locking us away” and worked it into something that felt fresh. I was completely consumed in almost every single moment of this book – and that my friends, is a great thing – to be able to lose yourself in a book. I can’t quite put my finger on what it was about The Darkest Minds that made me love it so much but I think that the snarky dialogue had something to do with it. I love me some electric dialouge.
One thing that irked me though was the way that Ruby would describe some things. I can’t remember exact examples but sometimes when she would describe something, she would liken it to something that had me thinking “Hey wait a minute, if she’s been locked up since she was 10 years old with no interaction in the outside world plus she’s not really allowed to talk to anyone, how would she know about that?” Those kinds of thoughts pulled me out of the book and reminded me that I was actually reading a book – but thankfully it only happened 2-3 times.
For me, the most interesting thing about this book is how it shows both good and bad sides of human nature. We see people who are so selfless even in such a dire situation and we see people who are willing to sellout others in a heartbeat if it means surviving another day. It makes you think – what would you do? How far would you be willing to go to survive? And even, would you lead a revolution if it meant being killed? Thought provoking questions that make you take a look at yourself and wonder if your mind would be one of the darkest.
Overall, I really enjoyed this thrilling book and can’t wait to read its sequel, Never Fade.
I have an hour commute (each way), so I listen to at least 4-6 per month. A bad narrator will kill a book for me faster than anything
You know that snotty/angry tone that teenagers use when they say "whatever"? A large portion of the narration, especially any passages of exposition, is delivered in that tone. The first hour or so in and I was almost about to give up. But I am glad I didnt, as it was a very interesting story. I couldnt wait to find out what happened. Luckily, it seems like the narrator starts to soften or grow a little tired of her own delivery the farther into the book you get. Just a little.
Yeah, some elements are very unoriginal...the whole "teens in a dystopian world but with special powers who want to try to change things" bit has been done to death. And some of the inconsistencies kicked me out of the story. Abandoned stores, hotels and vehicles, empty highways...ok. Got the picture. But then at the same time, life is so normal that a way of contacting parents is to put an ad in a newspaper? Cause those are still up and running in this world where people take over empty hotels and raid WalMarts for supplies? But I cant lie. I was entertained and interested and I do plan to purchase the next book.
Yes. I cannot say because anything I say would include spoilers. A friend would trust and know my taste and would read it just based on my answer Yes.
The writing was wonderful. A bit of the dialog was annoying but in general, I found the plot very interesting, the characters enjoyable and well developed and most of the dialog really engaging.
I did not notice it - her voice(s) and the story blended together. That is the perfect experience for me. When I am constantly thinking about the reader - they are doing it wrong.
It made my daughter cry. A lot. And then she punched me really hard And then she hugged me and cried some more. We both thought it was a wonderful story. But very sad.
if you like the pseudo-dystopian genre you probably really enjoy this book. I am quite looking forward to the next book.
I don't have time to read, so couldn't say.
Chubs was superb, although... So hard to choose just one. The author through character development and spot on dialogue makes you care about all of her players, including the darn minivan! I found myself looking for more from all of them, craving their next interaction, the same way her main character Ruby did.
So many t choose from, but if I were to pick just one it would have to be the big "reveal" 3/4 into the book. Or maybe the first action scene where we meet Liam and Chubs...
I laughed out loud several times, and my heart squeezed painfully through much of it too.
I find myself migrating to the YA series more and more, caught up in the dystopian worlds that seem to be spinning in ever widening directions. This is not Hunger Games or Divergent or Enders Game, this is truly like no other currently out there. Likable, believable characters, a smart story line and thought provoking big ideas. Oh and did I mention the slow burn love story that wove its way through out? And Chubs... A must read!
Did not read the print.
Hunger Games. It was very sci-fi and leaves a lot to your imagination.
Love this site! I have a very busy job, so listening to audio books enables me to keep up on great stories!
It was engaging, clever, and not too far fetched. A really good read. Great characters, forward moving plot, a bit of romance. Yup. It's worth the 5 stars.
The Shatter Me series. I highly recommend those as well.
Oh Good God that ending was crazy! Talk about sacrifice for the greater good! What's going to happen next?
Cannot wait for book 2!
Yes I would, it was so freaking AMAZING, I did not expect this book to be that good. it's not another sweet romance without anything else of substance that makes for a good time passer. Going into the Darkest Minds, I didn't really know what to expect. I never heard of Alexandra Bracken or Amy McFadden but together they are pure perfection. I love dystopian novels are one of my favorites of 2013.
Ruby at the age of ten and placed in a government-run rehabilitation camp for kids like her - kids who, for whatever reason, began to show signs of extraordinary abilities. Trapped at camp for six years, Ruby believes she is exactly where she belongs after what she did to her parents.
I did occasionally find myself wanting to yell at her in frustration but those moments were small and far apart. The main character was smart but not a Mary Sue, she made mistakes and this made the book better to listen to no one is perfect.
It was fast paced and somewhat surprising. I hated the idea of being able to accidentally erase someone's memory of you. That feeling kept me wanting to know how this trilogy will end.
Solid job all around.
That ending that ending that ending.
second best book ever after The 5th Wave😍As much as I loved the story and the characters, i loved the narrator and the way the book was written😍
Was a little hesitant about buying this one. Decided to give it a try and I've now got the whole series.
Ruby is never truly the character you want her to be, but that's okay. She fills the role when she needs too and rarely lets you down. Liam is a head in the clouds kid who never grew up no matter what he sees happen in front of him. And Chubbs is the best character in the book.
As for the story. It's a good rounded story. I admit to having trouble believing the idea behind it. That even with millions of kids dying off that people would allow the government to abduct the kids, but I didn't live through anything like that so what do I know.
I'd highly suggest the series as a whole as well. Give this a chance, you won't be disappointed.
Please take time and a credit to listen to the first part of this very emotional and thought provoking, wonderful and intelligent work of fiction. I suspect some people will say it is like The Hunger Games or Divergent, well although they are all based in a post apocalyptic America and are put in the young adult range of literature, they are all very, very different and I give credit where it is due and The Darkest Minds is well up to standard with these other great titles and defiantly has its own unique agenda. I am a 34 year old woman and I read or listen to many books of various classifications, this is not just a book for teenagers in my opinion, it is a book for all and not only that it leaves you begging for more. In fact I liked it so much that I ordered the hardback version of book two as it is not available on audio yet, and I just can not wait to see what happens...guess I am a bit of a teenager after all!! x
"Will keep you wanting more!"
This was one of my favourites, the storyline was great and the performers voice really suited the characters.
I loved the action throughout and that the twists and turns kept you guessing.
Ruby was my favourite, her determination and will really inspired me.
There was several occasions that I laughed throughout the book. I was also worried towards the ending when one of the characters lives was in danger.
The darkest minds tells the tragic story of a virus that's killing children and destroying families. The children that are not killed by the virus are still ruined by it. The virus gives the surviving children disastrous powers which can be fatal in the wrong hands.
The main character Ruby's life is turned upside down by one simple loving action that changes everything and leaves her with nothing.
The story follows Ruby as she is sent to a 'rehabilitation camp', well this is what it is advertised as, little does Ruby know life just got even worse the moment she steps onto the camp grounds. From the first day at camp Ruby has a secret and the only way Ruby can survive is by keeping it hidden, but when her secret is suspected she must escape and once she's out of camp she must be cautious with who she trusts.
The story grabs you from the beginning and doesn't let you go. I thoroughly enjoyed the immense amount of action that kept me wanting more, there's twists throughout the story that keep you on your toes in suspense.
The character development was amazing in both Ruby and the side characters, we see romance blossom and friendships made, we see goodies turn baddies and much more, so much so that every chapter you will have a new question that will keep you reading to get the answers. I lost so much sleep reading this book but it was worth every minute.
I would recommend this to everyone as there is something for all book lovers to enjoy throughout the story. I loved this book so much I had to restrain myself from diving head first into the second book, but trust me I will be reading it soon:)
I hope this review has helped you, can you please rate it positively if you liked it as it really means a lot to me, Many Thanks for reading:)
"Grows on you!"
They both have their charms, but the narrator does an excellent job!
the atmosphere that makes you believe how families could give up their children in this way, and the general idea that this easily could happen tomorrow!
Where the parents have forgotten everyting!
Yes indeed! did the dishes, cleaned and scrubbed like never before to get every little bit of the book "done" as fast as possible!
This book impressed me in a way that none of the other dystopian books have done. Much in the same way as the hunger games swept me, the darkest minds have swept me again.
Buy it if you feel for something dark, but easy, with drama and action, with young hearts in constant dilemma as only seen though the eyes of a teenage girl, bent on saving everyone!
"Great paranormal/dystopian story"
This book took me by surprise. And very positively so.
The story is very intriguing and the main character Ruby is loveable. I liked the concept of these kids having specific powers and how to deal with them. In addition the world building was done extremely well. Especially as an audio book I could follow the story effortless and create the settings in my mind. I can't wait for the next book in this series.
This book is great, it’s chock full of well-developed and engaging characters who you really find yourself caring about. With a story line that moves at pace with enough engaging moments for the dangerous world Ruby and the others inhabit to develop in a very realistic way. With power plays from various adults and others affecting the lives of all children in a country that is falling apart at the seams and an ending that will have you shocked to your boots. As for the narration I found Amy McFadden did take a little time to get used to but she did a fine job.
"Best Dystopian YA Book"
This story is genuinely the best dystopian book I've ever read, though that may or may not have to do with my undying love for Black Betty. The characters were probably the best thing about this book and definitely roped me in so that before I knew it I was rooting for them. LOVE IT
I think this would appeal mainly to teenagers. It was quite childish and frankly ridiculous in parts but very American. It made me wonder how old the author is. I did get to the end eventually but it took me several attempts and I did fall asleep a few times and didn't feel the need to rewind. I didn't know there was a follow up book but I definitely won't be bothering with it.
"Young Adult's novel"
Be warned - you will feel it's for audience of teenagers. I'm 29 but I felt it.
It's a good book but simple and predictable. Feels like the writer herself could be young and inexperienced.
But - it's easy to listen to, pace is fast enough and action is there. Can be in the background of anything you do.
But again - I don't feel like continuing listening to the series.
"different but worth a listen."
decent story although it took a while to get used to the accent and sound/style of the narrators voice but did get into it and lookin forward to finding and listening to the other books in the series.
mind blowing children
an 11 year old losing the love of her parents, worst, she never existed :(
hmmmm, tricky. All of it?
The entire series was!
Go the full hog and listen to all 3. They just get better and better
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