Review: The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds, #1)

Rating: 4/5
Series: The Darkest Minds #1
Genres: Young Adult, Post Apocalyptic, Dystopia
Release Date: December 18th, 2012
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Check out on GOODREADS

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.


I bought my copy of this novel last year and tried out a few chapters but the opening didn’t really reel me in. Imagine my surprise when I tried it again this year and loved it! (I’m actually suffering from the lack of Liam right now.) Once you get used to the narration, it’ll be a smooth and very interesting ride.

We are introduced to a group of kids who have powers, or abilities, or whatever you wish to call them. They are sorted out by color, depending on how powerful or dangerous they are. Ruby, our heroine, was grouped together with the Greens, the ones who aren’t really considered dangerous and are easily ordered around. The truth is, she’s an Orange–one of the dangerous ones. She has the power to mess with your thoughts and memories.

I didn’t really like Ruby in the beginning of the story as I found her quite boring and a bit weak. As the story progressed, I found myself getting attached to Ruby. I didn’t really admire her. It was one of those situations where you wanted to be the heroine’s friend rather than the heroine herself. That meant she was okay, nice even. I wanted more strength and a deeper connection with her character, but overall she was okay.

The other characters (in particular, the love interest) were really interesting and had varying personalities. Each one was unique in his/her own way and they were easily distinguished and you wouldn’t mistake one for the other. Ruby was first taken in by a group of kids: Liam, the absolute sweetheart who gave everyone hope, Chubs, the funny realist and Zu, the charming little girl. They worked really well together; despite having personalities that clashed, they managed to work together to reach their common goal: to find the Slip Kid, someone who can help each of them with their personal problems.

The characters had really good relationships in terms of romance and friendship. As I couldn’t stop raving about, Liam was one of the cutest love interests I’ve come across. I loved his hopefulness, kindness and gentleness towards everyone. He and Ruby balanced each other out. As for friendships, like I said earlier, Ruby and her friends worked together and helped each other. They grew on each other and began to form deeper bonds and relationships.

They all went through tough times. They had to fight through things both physically and emotionally, hence all of the angst and action that I absolutely loved. I cried, laughed and bit my nails as the characters interacted among themselves and with others. That ending, especially–I practically bawled my eyes out! The pacing also enhanced the story–nothing really happened too quickly (it might have been a bit dragging at times though).

I only have two minor problems with the book: the slow opening (as stated above) and the lack of information on the classifications of powers. I kind of get that Reds are the most dangerous and the Blues/Greens are the mild ones, but what differentiates the Oranges from the Yellows, or the Blues from the Greens? What could the Reds do that the Oranges can’t? This may have been explained in the book and I wasn’t paying attention, but I don’t remember there being specific criteria for this.

Overall, once I got into the story, the characters grew on me and I enjoyed the story. The ending was absolutely heartbreaking and I cannot wait to get my hands on the sequel!

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Aimee is a sixteen year old bookworm from the Phillipines! She reads any book that catches her attention, but she mostly reads YA. She's into graphic design, writing and sleeping. You can find her at Deadly Darlings, The Book Geek, Goodreads and on Twitter.

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  1. FayeFaye says

    Awwww, happy to see you loved this one, Aimee. I’m now wondering if my putting this in the DNF pile was a good choice :P i remember reading this and being frustrated with the snail’s pace and the heroine’s constant wallowing in self pity. Maybe I should try reading this again especially if it has such an impact on you :D

    • Aimee says

      I did think the beginning was boring, which is why I put it off the first time I read it lol! The second half was a bit more interesting, but there’s this one guy that I know you’ll hate lol. xD

  2. says

    I’m so glad you decided to give it a second chance and loved it! I haven’t read it but I want to start the series this year — so thank you for the warning about the beginning :) Slow opening sucks, it cand make us DNF the book and miss the greatness in the second half. Hopefully it wouldn’t be too slow so I won’t get impatient and DNF it haha!
    Kezia D recently posted…[DNF Review] The 5th Wave by Rick YanceyMy Profile

    • Aimee says

      We may have different tastes, and I don’t really notice those details when I read. If you decide to try it again, I hope you enjoy it more than you did originally!

    • Aimee says

      The beginning was just really slow I guess (a lot of other people seem to think so as well), but I really enjoyed it overall. I hope you read and enjoy the book as well, Jeann! :D

  3. laila BC says

    Heart breaking ending. Hmmm okay i have my fair share of those types of ending but i always end up loving the story anyway. Ruby seems a bearable heroine coz i normally go for strong ones but like you said you slowly began to get attached to her character. Thank you for this review, it has been on my shelf for quite some time and I wasn’t sure if I will bump this up or not. But it is a 4 so that is more than good to me :)