Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds #1) By Alexandra Bracken Rating: 4.9 “The Darkest Minds tend to hide behind the most unlikely faces.” The Darkest Minds is the latest masterpiece of Bracken's. After reading her novel Brightly Woven I was expecting something along the same lines, something a lot more fantasy based. But I couldn't have been more wrong, nor more pleased at what I discovered. The Darkest Minds is a YA rollercoaster, giving the paranormal a slight dystopian edge that creates something altogether magical and mind blowing. Children are dying - fast. The government, trying to keep order in a society that is quickly falling apart, announce that the deaths are caused from some kind of disease that strikes around the age of ten. Parents frantically try to protect their children, to keep them safe, to keep them alive...but how can you keep a child safe from what you can't cure, see or fight? Worse, is the small thought that finds its way into young Ruby's mind: that the government aren't worried about the children that die. It's the ones that don't die, that are the issue. For six years Ruby is forced to live in Thurmond, a government rehabilitation camp where children are put to work, live in disastrous conditions and live in fear. Ruby, upon entry is labelled an Orange...meaning that she, upon reaching puberty, has become dangerous. She is a threat. Using her abilities she manages to be branded a Green, instead. A normal, unthreatening Green. But Ruby is shaken from the experience, scared to death of using her powers. Powers that got her sent to Thurmond in the first place. Powers that made her lose, not only her parents, but the normal life she knew. The safety she wishes she had. Escaping from Thurmond is no small feat - but once out, Ruby quickly realises that there is no distinct line separating the good guys from the bad guys. Unsure of whether to run, fight or hide, Ruby's only goal is to survive. Which just so happens to be the same goal as the one followed by a 'merry' group of fellow runaways. Crossing paths with them, Ruby is accepted - if somewhat grudgingly (*cough* Chub) - into their group. The group's members - Chub, Zu and Liam - are searching for the 'Slip Kid' who apparently holds the answers to controlling their abilities, finding their families and finding safety. Ruby agrees to go with them. Yet, she holds back her past and her secrets. She's afraid of what they will think of her when they find out what she can do. What she is. A monster. A threat. A dark mind.
My thoughts on the book: Dear Alexandra Bracken: Seriously. Because nothing could possibly be more painful than the cliffhanger that rears its horrid head at the end of this book! Especially since it catches you unawares. One minute you're enjoying a good dose of kick-ass heroism and Ruby/Liam cuteness, thinking: But just like Bilbo was slightly mistaken, so was I. So was I. About the characters: Chub: holds a grudge, sews like a pro (sorry - 'stitches') and has a good heart underneath the tough guy act he likes to put on. Zu: I want to cuddle her like a plush toy she is just so cute! Liam: Mine. He's mine! I am officially in love with Liam and after that ending...all the emotions... I think I have used up my allotted fangirl emotions for today. Ruby is also one of the strongest, most kick-ass heroines I have ever come across. I love her. I love her strength, her feelings for others, her big heart and even in her fragility she has this amazing personality that makes you tear up when you discover her past. Six years is a short span of time, but she was forced into growing up far too early and too quickly. As were the rest of the gang - Zu especially...her story broke my heart! The Darkest Minds is a must-read. As in 'you must read it or I will find an Orange to use their powers to mentally persuade you into doing so'. Seriously. It's an amazing book and I loved every second of it :)