GENRE: Dystopian, YA
SERIES: The Darkest Minds, #1
The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken! Oh my god. Oh my God. Oh my God. This book. I think I have a new series to list among my favourites. It’s already in the top 5, after one book! That is so rare, normally it takes until the second. I can’t even think of a way to explain it and do it justice so here is the beginning of the Goodreads description then I will try and elaborate! “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.” This disease appears when you are 10 and it’s fetal. If you don’t die it means the disease triggered something and mutated your genes in such away that instead of killing you left you with special abilities. These kids are set off to concentration camps to be sorted by strength and controlled while the remaining adult public is feed propaganda of the children being cured. Greens are the most “normal” with their photographic memory and code-cracking skills. Blue is telekinesis. Yellow’s have the power to control electricity. Orange is telepathy and mind control and finally Red, who are all taken and killed. I think it’s best going into the book not knowing much more than that. Bye if you haven’t read the book! Spoilers past here!
Jumping straight to Clancy. What was your initial opinion of Clancy? Personally I really liked him and I thought there was going to be a love triangle. What Alexandra Bracken did really well, and what I LOVE when authors manage to do is that I was on the same page as Ruby the whole time. It’s really frustrating when your character realizes something out of the blue that wasn’t foreshadowed and it equally (if not more) frustrating when the answer is so obvious and your character can’t see it! At first I was defending Clancy in my mind, especially when Chubs said the camp was run like the concentration camps/reform centers in the way they all eat at the same time and they all have to work. On the one hand yes, that is like the centers, on the other, realistic hand it has to be set up that way. There has to be structure, they have limited food if everyone could just eat whatever they want whenever they would run out of food. Everyone has to work, again the camp has these “x” number of jobs that need to get done in order to keep running and if you want to reap the benefits of the “tribe” you have to pitch in. I really thought he was sounding like a spoiled brat, I still think he was actually in regards to that comment specifically. I honestly thought Clancy was being a good leader and not abusing his orange power. It seemed like he used to keep the peace but compared to what we had seen the other oranges doing it seemed positively saintly. Most of his rules seemed to make sense too, the only on that didn’t was the “you can’t leave with out permission.” If he was actually a good leader and not the crazy person he turned out to be “you can leave anytime you want, but you are on your own. I’m not going to risk everyone else to help you if you decided to leave and run into trouble.” I started to distrust Clancy when he talked about wanting to learn how to wipe minds. And then when he paralyzed her and was touching her, alarm! Alarm! Alarm! It seems like he’s doing these things out of jealousy at first but then it just crumbles and he’s a power-hungry dictator.
What was really quite key, especially near the end of the book, is how far is too far? Because at the beginning Ruby wouldn’t use her powers and she wouldn’t stand up for herself and by the end she can not only control them but use them as a weapon. Then we have Clancy who is at first using his powers to help these kids but then he becomes (is exposed as) this tyrant becasue he can make anyone do anything. So where is this line as an orange between using your powers to help people and defend yourself and when does it go too far? I think that’ll also come up more next book but it was interesting and I don’t think that there is a right answer.
This book was so funny, I actually laughed out loud which I don’t always do. Normally it’s a giggle in my brain. When we first meet the boys and Ruby just kind of sits up in the back seat. “Hi…sup?” and there’s the scolding of Zu about how they can’t just pick up stray kittens! Then immediately after there is this huge chase scene and that was really cool and we got a really good sense of the characters really quick and how they act under pressure. Ruby has a line at the end of it that made me laugh so hard, I was outside on the deck and my little bro gave me a super weird look but it’s when she punches Liam and says “that was not like riding a bike, you asshole!”
Zu. I love Zu. I love her little girly obsession. When she saw the pink dress, I could picture it so well! And they start playing dress up and oh my gosh, it just so sweet! And I love Zu’s sass even though she doesn’t speak. I’m glad she’s going to California to be with her family , but I am really nervous for her! She has her power down pretty well now but I’m just nervous. A lot of bad things could happen.
OK THAT ENDING! I thought that climatic trying to escape the camp then it all falling apart and then they finally escape all together was going to be the ‘end’ with a bit of a cliff hanger about where they are going to go, what are they going to do, all that “typical” dystopian ending. You know what I’m talking about. The first book more of an introduction to what these people have to deal with and it’s an adventure and then they, not really solve, but they deal with that one thing then the end is them regrouping trying to figure out “where do we go from here?” with the larger societal issue, or just try and figure out how to live their life. So that is what I was expecting. Them driving into the sunset trying to figure out how to fix these camps or maybe going to find their parents. Then end. The Alexandra Bracken just throws us a complete curve ball. HAHA that’s not what happens! Cubes gets shot! Ruby calls the Children’s League and then wipes Liam’s memory! WHAT?!?!?! That’s not in the script! At the end of the first book they are always together as a group! Ready to face this next challenge together! We don’t know where Chubes is or if he’s alive, Zu left earlier and now our main love interest doesn’t remember our protagonist and thinks Chubes has left him like Zu to find his family. It’s looking pretty bleak. This is a really dark book! We ended just about as far away from a happy ending as we possibly could.
Thanks for reading, share your thoughts! I can’t wait to read the next book! Bye!