Book Review: The Darkest Minds

The Darkest Minds is a book by Alexandra Bracken.  Click here to see her website.

I read this book some time last year and sat it on my bookshelf to collect dust.  I really loved it the first time I read it, but I have just recently allowed myself the habit of re-reading a book.  I found out that the second book of the series was out, so I had to refresh my memory.  I pulled it off myself, dusted it off, and dove in head first.  The story is fantastic and I read the book in 3 days.

About the Book
The main character is Ruby and we first meet her in a camp with several other kids.  Something has happened to the kids of the U.S.  They have either died of a mysterious illness or developed supernatural powers.  There are five different types of powers.  Blues can move things with their mind, Greens are super smart and figure out puzzles in a snap, Yellows have some kind of electric power, Reds create and play with fire, and Oranges can manipulate minds of people around them.

The parents and other adults decide that these kids, the ones that lived, are a danger and ship them off to camps to be “fixed.”  The president of the U.S. tells these parents and adults that the camps will help fix their kids and the kids will be sent back home.  He even proves that there is success in the camps by parading his “reformed” son around the country.  Unfortunately, 6 years later no a single child has made it out of the camps “reformed.” Ruby was sent to the camps when she was only 10 years old.

Ruby notices that in her own camp the Reds, Yellows, and Oranges have disappeared.  She fears, like everyone, that they have been killed.  Of course, what else are you supposed to believe when the camp is such a horrible place?  The camp is full of adults (PSFs) with noise machines that only effect the kids and their rude hate for kids who did not ask for the powers they have.

Ruby is finally rescued by a kind woman who pretty much promises her the world.  All she has to do is join the League of Children.   Ruby gets an odd feeling about the woman carting her away and escapes the first moment she is able.  Once she escapes the League people she instantly bumps into a group of kids; Liam(Blue), Chubs(?? I can’t remember for some reason), and Zu(Yellow).  A small group that has escaped from their own camp thanks to Liam.

Warning, Spoilers ahead!
Ruby takes off with this new group in the search for a kid they call the Slip Kid.  Evidently this kid has evaded everyone that has tried to capture him.

We also learn at this point that Liam was once part of the League and doesn’t approve of them.  He says that they use kids to do their dirty work, they teach kids to kill.  So they are now running from PSF’s (guards from the camps), League, as well as Skip Tracers.  Skip Tracers are the people that track the run away kids, or the kids that have been in hiding all this time, and turn them in to the camps for the reward money.

Ruby is an Orange.  She can control peoples minds, but she has been hiding it for the past 6 years.  Everyone things she is Green.  Eventually, her group gets into some trouble and she has to reveal to them what she really is.  She waits for them to shun her and throw her away, but the accept her and only get a tad bit mad she lied.

They find the Slip Kid and he has set up this wonderful camp where kids are safe.  He is also the presidents son!  And one more thing, he is an Orange just like Ruby.  He takes a sudden liking to Ruby, but plays it off that he is just interested in the fact that they may be the last Orange kids.  Clancy (slip kid), pulls some act on Ruby and controls her mind.  Liam finds out and they decide to head out, but this was after Zu left to go to California with her cousin.

All heck breaks loose.  Clancy, the little prick, has informed someone of where they are and the PSF’s come in after all the kids there.  Some kids escape while most are captured.  Ruby, Liam, and Chubs being among the lucky to escape.

They set out to deliver a letter to a dead friends dad (which was their whole purpose of finding the slip kid to help find this kids dad)  The dad doesn’t like what the letter says and shoots Chubs.  In a panic to save her friend, Ruby alerts the League.  They swoop in to save the day, but no one knows if Chubs actually survived.

Ruby and Liam are taken into the League.  The League wants Ruby to stay and won’t let her leave.  To save Liam (remember he doesn’t like the League) she erases his memory and sets him free.

My Thoughts
I loved this book.  Like I said, I read it in 3 days.  I devoured every word and every page.  I was rooting for Ruby and Liam the whole way through and I hated Ruby for erasing the only happiness Liam had.  Why would you do that?  Not only did she erase herself from his memory, but she made him forget that Chubs had been shot.

I was left with so many emotions when I finished this book.  I wanted to cry, scream, and find Ruby to yell at her for what she did.

It’s crazy to think about how the world could change if all the children where feared, shipped off to camps, or died of some mysterious illness.  Could you imagine how boring life would be?  In the book, the world crumbled up under everyone without kids.  Parents were depressed not knowing how their kids where.  The government crashes because the president makes some stupid law to keep himself in office.  People start going hungry and become homeless and unemployed.  The U.S. becomes shut to the rest of the world.  The world fell apart because of all the efforts to put away the “danger.”

Overall, this book was fantastic and I would recommend it to anyone.


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