‘The Darkest Minds’ Review

Title:  The Darkest Minds

Author: Alexandra Bracken

Genre: Fantasy, Supernatural, Dystopian, YA Fiction


Premise: The world is torn apart. Kids are inside camps because they have special powers. The world was destroyed by IAAN which killed many of the kids in the world, but the survivors have powers. Telekinesis. Fire. Thought. Calculation. They’re put into camps and sorted by their power.

Ruby has lied. She isn’t a Green. She’s a dangerous Orange, and she is about to be running for her life to protect herself. And the people she comes to love once she breaks out of Thurmond.


Plot: Action. Everywhere. Not that I mind. I actually like it. This story pulls you in. I stayed up an extra hour or so to just finish this book.

The plot starts with Ruby as a little kid. She is innocent and confused as the world is torn apart by the disease that kills so many children. She doesn’t understand, not until she turns ten. When she is ten, she erases her parents’ memory of her and hides in the garage before the PSFs get her. She ends up in Thurmond for six years.

She is finally broke out by the League who ‘help’ kids leave the camps. She stays with them for barely a day before making a run for it. She runs into a trip of kids, two Blues and a Yellow. Liam, Chubs, and Zu. She travels with them, going to the Slip Kid’s East River. They meet with a few tribes and encounter Lady Jane the crazy bounty hunter looking for kids to sell. Especially Liam since he executed the only successful escape from the camps. Sadly, many died with only a few surviving. You get Ruby finally using her power to make Lady Jane leave them alone and having the others deal with this secret.

Until we finally get to East River. The four are put to work, forced into labor. Not that Zu or Liam mind. Ruby minds at first but gets accustomed to working with Clancy another Orange and the Slip Kid. And Chubs minds. A lot. After a few unsuccessful attempts to try and contact the outside world, Chubs…gives up. Zu leaves with her cousin Hina in a tribe of Yellows. And once Ruby realizes who Clancy really is, she runs. She tries to take the others with her, but she is caught and pulled back into East River. Clancy reveals he made a Red army, and the PSFs charge in. The government forces makes Chubs and Ruby hide under the dock to escape with Liam running away. And him coming back to find his friends. (Of course, he’s in love with Ruby at this point.) And the three reunite before leaving East River. And they end up with the League after finding Jack’s father who shoots Chubs. Jack being a Blue who taught Liam and Chubs how to use their powers.

And we don’t know what happens to Chubs. And we are left with Liam leaving, his memory wiped clean, and Ruby staying with the League.


Character Development:

Ruby. She is quite tough even though that doesn’t seem right at first. She is someone I didn’t like at first, but she grew on me. I admire her determination and her empathy. She cares for other people and is afraid of hurting them. She sacrifices herself for her friends and the people she loves. She has such an intricate past, and I feel like the author wanted you to feel for her. And I did. I saw Ruby change into someone more powerful. Someone who acknowledged her power and started to use it. She can be such a deadly person, much deadlier than a Red. That is if she tries. And she doesn’t. She’s content as she is. I think that it was odd for the romance between Ruby and Liam. I didn’t see the spark, but I felt for Ruby when she let Liam go. There was something that she liked in him, and she let him go free. A clean slate.

Liam. Liam is the nice guy with a past. He has the history of times before camp because he was hidden. He has the Blue telekinetic powers. He is a useful person who uses his powers to help his friends. He’s also a fighter. A strong and determined person. He wants to achieve his goals, and he knows he will. I wonder how he’ll be in book two with his clean slate. And what the other two will do about it.

Chubs/Charles. Chubs is the geeky nerd. Who complains a lot. (Reminds me of Lev from ‘Unwind’ in the beginning after he escape being a tithe.) He annoys everyone really, but they put up with it. He’s actually a good character. He has a reason for being annoying. Unlike some characters. His past is confusing and rich with questions. I like him and hope he’s okay. I hope he survived.

Zu. She is so innocent. I hate that she is thrust into this dangerous world. I hate it. I truly do. Zu is so special. I hope she reunites with Ruby. I want her to. Zu is the character you feel for and want to protect. You want to be her big brother or sister and shield her from the world. If only…

Clancy. I dislike Clancy Gray. He has feelings for Ruby that are plain wrong. I hate love triangles to begin with. And Clancy is cruel. I know that he is antagonized and becomes the antagonist. And I hate him for it. If Ruby erased his memory, he could be a nice guy. She didn’t, though. And he treats people like they are lower than him even though he preaches equality.


Problems: There weren’t many problems with this book. I quite enjoyed it.

The beginning was annoying. I didn’t care to know about little Ruby. We found out as the story unfolded how she was as a child when IAAN came out.

Another thing I didn’t like was the romance. It seems unrealistic. Why did Ruby flock to Liam? It’s not like Warner and Juliette from ‘Shatter Me’ where Juliette couldn’t touch anyone except two people. I don’t think that Ruby flocks to Liam because of something like that. I don’t see the spark. It feels like Ruby is just happy to see a guy her age.


Good points: There are quite a few good points. I think this book was good and is one of those books that is meeting the hype.

The action is quite amazing. I loved reading the action. A punch here. A kick there. Ruby is human. She gets punched. She bleeds. She has these very human things happen to her. And she reacts in a human way.

I also like the way the characters are written. They have pasts, and they have futures. They are human in ways some other characters aren’t. I feel for them. I worry over them. You feel like a Mother Hen over Zu and Liam. You want to see Chubs survive. These things just happen.

I love the plot. It keeps you on your toes. You don’t know what will happen. Things just pop out of nowhere and scare you. You can’t expect much of anything in this book.

There are many more good points, but I won’t drone on and on. I hope you read it.


Score: 8/10

Recommended: If you like a good action story. If you like a bit of paranormal/supernatural power thrown into a dystopian world.



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