Thursday, November 29, 2012

Book Review: The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
Publisher: Hyperion
Publication date: December 2012
Pages: 496
Source: ARC from ALA
For: Review
Series: Darkest Minds, Book 1

Ruby has spent the last six years of her life in a rehabilitation camp, a brutal place she's only survived by hiding her dangerous powers. But when the cruel camp leaders begin to suspect her, she must escape. Now on the run, she is desperately seeking people like her and winds up with some unexpected allies. Will they find the safe haven or will she be forced to make a desperate choice?

Things I Liked:
I am quite conflicted on this book.  I really wanted to like it and I certainly enjoyed parts of it (the ending definitely kept me engaged, couldn't put it down), but I felt unsatisfied while reading it.  First, I loved the premise, even though it seems to be a common one - natural disaster/disease/event happens to change kids of a certain age.  (I'm thinking Gone, Ashes, etc).  Still, I was caught up in it right from the start - I mean, they send the kids to concentration camps, essentially, and try to rehabilitate them of their abilities.  Ruby was a very confused (and confusing) protagonist, but I was invested in her story.  The many different factions and groups with various agendas and ulterior motives was intense and exciting and kept me wondering just what would happen next.  There is a lot of action, not surprising because Ruby is on the run from about 5 different groups and they all converge and escape a lot.  It was exciting and the abilities of the kids were interesting and I wanted to know more about how they worked and why it happened.  Unfortunately, I never felt like I did.

Things I Didn't Like:
First, I just want to say that I think a big part of the problem with my reading was that this was an ARC and it was still very much a work in progress, with loads of editing still necessary.  There were confusing little things here and there, lots of missing or incorrect words, etc.  All things one would expect of an ARC.  My bigger problem was that I never felt like I got a handle on the world - I never felt like I understood what was going on, especially when it came to Ruby.  Her power, which I can't even describe accurately, was a huge mystery to me, from beginning to end.  I kept waiting for her to figure it out and tell us, but it never happened.  One minute, she'd be jerking back from Liam, to prevent his touching her and the next, she'd be holding Zu's hand and not worrying at all.  I was completely confused.  I think I'll give the book a try when it's published, because it really felt like the story was not entirely finished, like there were important little things still needing to be figured out and passages still to be written or deleted (definitely think it could have been shorter).  It felt like not a fully-formed book, but an interesting premise waiting for the rest to be filled out.  I hope it is.

Dull Boy by Sarah Cross
Gone series by Michael Grant
Ashes by Ilsa Bick
Darkest Powers series by Kelley Armstrong

s-factor: !@#
not a lot, but at least two f-bombs

mrg-factor: X
a few (confusing) parts, but nothing explicit

v-factor: ->->->
actually, it was really gory

Overall rating: ** with potential for more!

Have you ever felt like this about an ARC?  Did you read the published version?

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage


  1. Wow! I'm so glad you reviewed this one! I had it on my wishlist, but it doesn't seem like my kind of book. I'm a wimp! ;)

    1. Yeah, sometimes it was a bit too much for me.

  2. I am glad to see I am not alone! I read an ARC as well and I just could not love it (a lot of the time I didn't even like it). I don't think I will read the sequels. I wish she would have written more fantasy. I want more of Sydelle and North's story!

    1. Oh I'm so glad to find another who feels the same too! I completely wanted another one like Brightly Woven :(

  3. I just hope it does get better. There's nothing worse than seeing stuff you think is that rough being called good enough. You know?

    1. Absolutely. I hope it does get polished.


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