BOOK REVIEW: The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds #1) by Alexandra Bracken

BOOK REVIEW: The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds #1) by Alexandra BrackenThe Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds #1)
by Alexandra Bracken
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Add to: Goodreads


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.

It rained the day they brought us to Thurmond, and it went on to rain straight through the week, and the week after that.

A few weeks ago I picked up the fourth book in this series, The Darkest Legacy. After reading it and remembering how good Bracken’s writing was, I decided I needed to reread the original trilogy. I had missed a world with Ruby, Liam, Chubs, Vida, and Zu.

That girl was gone forever, and all that was left was a product of the place that had taught her to fear the bright things inside of her heart.

The thing that I love about this series so much is how unique of a premise it is. In an America that we are familiar with geographically and historically, a new virus spreads. It affects younger kids; leaving them dead or with certain powers. Once the government realizes how dangerous the ones who have been left alive could be, they build camps. Horrible, horrible camps for these children to live in. The general public think that their children are being “reformed”—that they will someday comeback to them normal. If only they knew. Because such a huge chunk of the population was affected by this virus, the country is essentially in chaos and on the brink of collapsing entirely.

“Time to carpe the hell out of this diem.” 

Ruby is the first main character that the reader is acquainted with. We are with her as she is taken to the camp, broken out of the camp, and as she meets up with Liam, Zu, and Chubs. While I have seen a lot of people on this site who dislike Ruby, I couldn’t disagree more. She starts out as a weak character, yes, but she grows. I think part of the reason that I love her so much is that I can relate to her. Growing up, I was always a follower—not a leader. I had a strong willed best friend that I kind of hid behind, just as Ruby had Sam in the camp. I kept my head down and let her do all the talking. However, once Ruby got out of the camp and came to be with the Black Betty gang, she gained a purpose and started to become brave. Now I am a wimp…for the most part. If you stuck me in a dystopian world, I would most likely die pretty quickly. However, me being the eldest in my family, if I was in said dystopian world with my siblings, I would leave the follower attitude behind and do whatever the fuck I needed to to keep my family alive. And I think this is Ruby. This is how she operates and it is why I understand her and empathize with her character.

“Did you know…you make me so happy that sometimes I actually forget to breathe? I’ll be looking at your, and my chest will get so tight…and it’s like the only thought in my head is how much I want to reach over and kiss you.” 

Besides Ruby, I think that her supporting cast is just as amazing. Zu is adorable and I was so glad that I finally got to read her novella. Finding out what happened while she left End River was…hard. Chubs of course Chubs. He’s an old soul who is pretty cranky all of the time but will protect those he loves ferociously. I just felt so bad, knowing the kind of potential he had but the fact that he couldn’t go to school. I just feel for all of them. Completely robbed of their childhoods…This would be a horrifying world to behold.

“Cause, frankly, the way I see it, you and me? Inevitable.” 

Oh. Liam. Don’t worry, I could never forget about sweet Liam. He’s probably in my top five of BBFs EVER. He’s the only boy whose Southern accent I find charming, let me tell you. I think the romance he had with Ruby was perfect. It may have come on faster than what could be realistic, but in a world like that…I’ll let it slide. And anyway, the romance itself was such a sweet one. Liam helps Ruby feel wanted…feel grounded…feel like she has a home. It’s never overdone, never too much. He’s not a bad boy, there isn’t some sort of horrible misunderstanding between them. He is genuinely good and I found that, in this book and with Ruby, to be perfect.♥

Be cunning and full of tricks, and your people shall never be destroyed. 

Overall, this will always be one of my favorite series. From the plot, to the writing, to the characters, this book has always managed to sink its claws into me. Recommended to anyone who loves Sci-fi, dystopian esque YA.

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  1. ShootingStarsMag

    I’ve never read this series, but it does sound like a good one. And Ruby seems like a multi-faceted character, which I love. And I wouldn’t necessarily be the leader in a life or death situation either. haha

    ShootingStarsMag recently posted…Keep It Together: When Do You Buy a New Planner?My Profile

    • Arielle

      She seriously is! She has some great growth and development over the span of each book which I always also LOVE to see in YA. I definitely recommend. I’ve read the first two about three times over now and have loved them each time.

  2. Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    I LOVED this book, but for some reason I never finished the series. I need to reread this one so I can read the rest of the books as well. (And watch the movie.)
    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction recently posted…Top Ten Books on My Fall TBRMy Profile

    • Arielle

      Oh goodness yes you should finish them! Chelsea and I just were talking about how we were a little iffy on the third book but then the fourth book (Zu’s) came out last month and it was seriously so good. I really hope she write a couple more but it also ended in a place where there wasn’t a total cliffhanger so we’ll have to see.

  3. Aimee (Aimee, Always)

    It’s been years since I read this, so I can’t really remember much about it. I remember LOVING it as well, though! And I love how you defended Ruby’s character, and I feel the same–even now, there are times where I’d prefer to follow rather than lead. But that doesn’t make me any weaker than the leaders are. 🙂
    Aimee (Aimee, Always) recently posted…Literary Book Gifts: T-Shirts, Totes, and More for the Passionate Bookworm!My Profile

    • Arielle

      Yessss thank you! 🙂 I occasionally see a lot of lead females getting crap for similar things in YA books and then I’m over here like…well, they are like 16 or 17, do YOU remember what you were like when you were that age, because I remember being similar and making a lot of the same mistakes lol. We ask too much of them sometimes! Like it isn’t enough they are trying to save the world, let them have an emotional breakdown or have a crush on multiple people bahaha!

  4. Lisa Mandina (Lisa Loves Literature)

    I wanted to start this one before the movie, but never got around to it. Your review just shows me that I need to do that! I don’t know if the movie was good or bad, didn’t hear a lot of talk about it. Great review!
    Lisa Mandina (Lisa Loves Literature) recently posted…Blog Tour with Giveaway: Costa del Churros by Isabella MayMy Profile

    • Arielle

      Yeahhhh I haven’t seen it and honestly I’m pretty nervous too after they went off the track with the Divergent movies. I mean one complaint that I kept seeing, though, was critics saying that it was just another cookie cutter dystopian which led me to believe that those people saying that didn’t read any of the actual YA dystopian series that came out around that time lol. Like yes they’re all a tad similar in the sense that teens are saving the world but this series is so much different than Hunger Games, Divergent, and Maze runner. *shrugs* I’ll probably just wait until my library buys it and watch it! Anywayyyys yes you should definitely check it out and I hope you enjoy it if you do! 🙂

  5. Aj @ Read All The Things!

    I’ve always meant to read this book, and it still hasn’t happened. I’m glad you liked the characters. I’ll try to read it someday. Great review!
    Aj @ Read All The Things! recently posted…The Sunday Post #165My Profile

    • Arielle

      Thanks, AJ! And yes, hopefully someday 🙂 At least you know the whole series is out for when you get the time instead of having to wait for more to be published!

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