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54 of 56 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I Was Completely Hooked!
You know how you start reading a book and somehow based upon the cover, blurb and other reactions you can sense whether you will like it or love it, hate it or be ambivalent to it? I'm going to admit up front that I went into The Darkest Minds with the expectation that it would be "just alright." Boy am I glad that this one surprised me!

Bracken paints a world...
Published on December 18, 2012 by Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf

versus
27 of 34 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A rambling, disappointing story that stutters to the finish
On the morning of her birthday, ten-year-old Ruby is suddenly sent to Thurmond, a rehabilitation camp for kids with special abilities where the children are classified by color depending on their powers (Greens, Blues, Yellows, Oranges, and Reds). Ruby lives in terror as the kids are subjected to abuse and even experimented on. Six years later, she seizes an opportunity...
Published 17 months ago by Marie M


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54 of 56 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I Was Completely Hooked!, December 18, 2012
This review is from: The Darkest Minds (Hardcover)
You know how you start reading a book and somehow based upon the cover, blurb and other reactions you can sense whether you will like it or love it, hate it or be ambivalent to it? I'm going to admit up front that I went into The Darkest Minds with the expectation that it would be "just alright." Boy am I glad that this one surprised me!

Bracken paints a world that is almost too horrible to imagine. Children dying by the hundreds of thousands and those that survive being changed...and viewed as a threat to the adults resulting in their containment in what amounts to forced labor camps. And then if that is not bad enough...half of those survivors...exterminated...due to the adults' fear of what they may be able to do since their changes.

I don't want to talk to much about the plot of the book as I don't want to give too much away but this is a very bleak and depressing world. As we slowly get to know our main character Ruby and her group of friends we hope that there is some avenue for escape...some path to change.

This one drew me in slowly and surely...the writing style and pacing work perfectly alongside the plot. About one fourth of the way through, I was completely hooked. The characters all develop to the point that I ended up far more attached to them than I realized. Each character is so different, yet each adds a much needed component to the group so that as a whole they are made that much stronger. (I even became attached to Black Betty!)

I give Bracken much credit for managing to sneak them all under my defenses to the point that when the novel concluded I was bawling my eyes out and couldn't understand why. When had I become so attached? I'm very curious to see where this one goes and can't wait for the second book in the series.

NOTE: Complimentary copy received at BEA in exchange for an honest review.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark, Depressing & Simply Perfect, December 27, 2012
By 
This review is from: The Darkest Minds (Hardcover)
I do believe this is one of the most depressing endings to a book I have ever read. Actually, a lot of this book was depressing. Not in a bad way. I know, you're wondering how depressing can be a good thing. It's not. But it's not like so depressing it sucks, you know? It's so depressing it's great. I actually don't think I've ever read a book with so much death in, especially the deaths of so many children. It's absolutely heartbreaking and scary.

Once you reach the age of ten and are still alive there's a good chance you'll be labeled as a freak and shipped off to a camp. One where the parents and adults think are helping their children and finding a "cure". Naive parents... Each child is categorized depending on the abilities they posses. There's Green, Blue, Yellow, Red and Orange. The latter three being the most dangerous. Actually, I ordered it for what I believe to be from least dangerous to most. The camp where our heroine, Ruby Daly, had a few thousand children there. All the Yellow, Red and Orange's were taken from camp and 'disposed' of. Use your imagination on what that might mean...

America is beyond broke and fan past the point of desperation. The President has surpassed his two term quota and yet is still President because there really isn't much of a government to begin with. Ruby has been in 'camp' for six years and figures the rest of her life will be spent wasting away there, as the adults in America are afraid of these kids and the abilities they possess. When a test is ran to find if there are any dangerous kids hiding out amongst the Green's and the Blue's - this is where things get very interesting.

Ruby is broken out of Thurmond by a group called Children's League that is against the government but not exactly innocent themselves. With her abilities she finds herself to be in an even more dangerous situation than she originally planned. She does what she needs to survive because really, that's most important. She's out of Thurmond and has a chance at a life...at freedom, but at what cost? She finds herself to be thrown in with a group of other kids who escaped a camp in Ohio. Here is when the fun really begins...

I absolutely and utterly love Chubs. Not as a love interest for Ruby but as a character. He is so real. His personality is charming and infuriating at the same time. It amazes me that a character can get such varying reactions out of the reader but he is definitely one of those where you laugh at him (or with him), want to slug him, kick him in the shin and sometimes, even agree with him. He's a great friend and truly is my favorite character in this book. Let's not forget our charming Liam who gets me time and time again when he says darlin'. He sacrifices so much for the kids he's with. To be so young and yet so responsible is stunning.

You're probably wondering what each color stands for, right? Well, I'm not going to tell you. You should read this book to find out because it's definitely interesting. Orange's are certainly the most interesting and by far, the most dangerous. Once you finish, besides being thoroughly depressed, you also sit there, stumped. Trying to figure out which of two characters truly are worse...two characters who hold the same abilities but which have really done the unthinkable. Plus, you sit here throughout the book wondering what color you'd want to be categorized as...if you were in this world, of course. So tell me...after you read this book, what color are you? I would like to say I'd be a Blue...

Reviewed by Jessica @Step Into Fiction
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a great read from an author to watch, December 18, 2012
This review is from: The Darkest Minds (Hardcover)
When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, she didn't know her world was about to change. She knew about the disease sweeping through the country's children-it was impossible to miss when kids kept dying. She didn't know that surviving the disease was the worse outcome.

Surviving, it turns out, was another word for changing-waking up one day with abilities that used to be the impossible stuff of movies; waking up with strange powers that most of the kids, especially Ruby, can't begin to understand. Or control.

Now sixteen, Ruby knows just how dangerous she is. She knows she'll never be allowed to leave Thurmond, the government camp set up to "rehabilitate" other kids like her.

She also knows that she has to escape to survive.

On the run, desperate to get away, Ruby soon falls in with other kids looking for a sanctuary called East River. Ruby knows she can't let anyone get close-not after what happened on her tenth birthday-but maybe they can all use each other to get to East River in one piece.

Life outside Thurmond isn't what Ruby expected. Turns out, staying under the radar is hard when you're dangerous. Ruby lost control of her life when she was ten years old. If she can learn more about her own abilities, she might be able to reclaim that control. But everything in life comes with a price. Especially freedom in The Darkest Minds (2012) by Alexandra Bracken.

The Darkest Minds is Bracken's second novel. It is also the first in a trilogy.

This book was one of my most anticipated 2012 reads. I fell in love with Bracken's debut novel Brightly Woven and ever since I could not wait to see what she released next.

Part road trip, part sci-fi adventure, part dystopian The Darkest Minds does not disappoint. With a plot that turns on a dime it is a guaranteed page-turner with an ending that will leave readers anxious for the next installment.

At the same time, The Darkest Minds is so much more than an action-packed read. Ruby's story is heart-wrenching and horrifying but her resilience and her persistence are fierce to behold. The other characters in the story are vibrant and beautifully written-even at their most villainous.

Bracken has created a disturbing world with elements that are both fantastical and uncomfortably possible in our own world. Ruby's voice throughout the novel is as smooth as honey filled with descriptions that bring the eerie Virginia landscape of the story vividly to life. The Darkest Minds is a stunning, sometimes harrowing, start to a series; confirming that Bracken is an author to watch.

Possible Pairings: White Cat by Holly Black, The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan, Graceling by Kristin Cashore, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers, Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi, All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin

*This book was acquired for review from the publisher at BEA 2012
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27 of 34 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A rambling, disappointing story that stutters to the finish, July 12, 2013
By 
Marie M (Orlando, FL USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Darkest Minds (Hardcover)
On the morning of her birthday, ten-year-old Ruby is suddenly sent to Thurmond, a rehabilitation camp for kids with special abilities where the children are classified by color depending on their powers (Greens, Blues, Yellows, Oranges, and Reds). Ruby lives in terror as the kids are subjected to abuse and even experimented on. Six years later, she seizes an opportunity to escape and finds herself tagging along with a group of escapees from another camp. They embark on a search for East River, a safe haven for kids with abilities. But as Ruby and her friends soon discover, East River isn't the place they expected it to be.

This was such a letdown. What started out as an intriguing premise turned out to be anything but that. While I was initially hooked by the setting and by the depths of darkness and despair of the world and its characters, I discovered, much to my dismay, that the story got sloppier as it unfolded. The time Ruby spent in the camp was fine (in terms of a structured plot, that is, not because I'm okay with children being tortured), but once she goes on the road trip with Liam, Chubs, and Zu, the story really meanders. Their aimless wandering was so pointless; that particular stretch in the story could have benefited from an editor's deft hand. Was a detailed shopping expedition at Wal-Mart really necessary? When the group finally ended up at East River, I hoped that Ms. Bracken would tighten the reins on her erratic plot, but unfortunately this was not the case.

The main protagonist was also a factor that prevented me from truly liking this story. Ruby's appeal is lost on me; I have no idea why several of the boys who encounter her are attracted to her. At first I felt sorry for her; it's hard not to when she was taken away from her parents on her birthday and had to spend six years at Thurmond, abused and closed off from the rest of the world. But her vague, indecisive, and wishy-washy ways quickly got on my nerves. Every time she whipped out that panic button and debated using it, I let out a frustrated groan (the fact that she kept the button at all instead of getting rid of it is one of the more blatant and awkward uses of Chekov's gun that I've read in a while). For someone who has been sheltered for more than half a decade, Ruby sure is accepting of everything around her: she doesn't question, doesn't debate, doesn't seem to want to learn with the exception of trying to figure out the extent of her powers. Her character growth wasn't realistic; I had a hard time buying her feats of bravery.

The promise of a fascinating and gripping story ultimately fails to deliver due to a problematic protagonist and a rambling plot that stutters to the finish.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Epic Premise, Huge Letdown, October 16, 2014
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Where do I start?

Yet again, I am sorely disappointed by a hugely popular YA title with an epic premise.

On every front.

There is honestly not much I can praise this book for other than its premise. The underlying idea of the story was fantastic — dark, intriguing, and full of promise…that never came to pass. Honestly, I’m more disappointed with this book than I was with Cinder — because I thought this book sounded a hundred times more interesting. I’ve looked forward to reading this one for months, and now…

Good Lord.

Anyway, let me stop moaning and get to the actual review.

Let’s start with my biggest problem this time: the plot. As in, what the heck was that plot? Was that even a plot? I’ve read some pretty poorly structured books in my time, but I can’t actually recall the last book I read that had a plot as badly constructed as the plot of this book. The first quarter of the book is literally the most interesting part, followed by the last ten percent or so. Everything in between that is a combination of repetitive road trip scenarios and weeks of living the same days over again at a freaking camp. I was so bored for over half of this book that I literally started skimming at times.

And to make matters worse — the writing.

But before that, a brief aside: I often have this issue with YA where I find the writing style to be incredibly immature. As in, more appropriate for Middle Grade readers than the teens the book is supposedly being marketed toward. I find this disconnect grating, especially when the focus of the book is on older teens (16+), facing older teen issues — which, ding, ding, ding, it almost always is. It never ceases to annoy me that books about 16+ year-old kids are written with first person POVs that sound all of 12.

And in the case of The Darkest Minds — it annoyed me more than ever. Because the themes in this book were so dark and disturbing that the contrast with the immature writing style made it the most awkward, paradoxical read I have ever forced myself to sit through. There was implied RAPE and ACTUAL SEXUAL ASSAULT in this book, along with a slew of mature language and violence. But the writing style made it sound like 1) the narrator was much younger than she actually was and 2) that it was intended for an audience younger than it actually was.

It drove me nuts the ENTIRE book.

For the love of GOD, people, please stop writing your 16-year-olds with the voices of preteens! They are NOT the same.

-internally screaming-

So, yes, the writing style. What a disjointed mess — that sounds a bit harsh, but…I can’t really phrase it any other way. The transitions between scenes in this book were downright awful and frequently confusing. Ideas jumped from place to place with no rhyme or reason. The foreshadowing and Chekov’s guns were basically shot at you with a rocket launcher and painted neon yellow — to the point where NO twist in this book was surprising. At all. I saw all of them coming light years away.

Which only added to how boring this book was for me.

And the style issues bled right into the numerous character problems.

Oh, the characters. Let’s start with Ruby. One of the worst protagonists I have had the misfortune to read in a long, long time. Her woe-is-me attitude bogged down the entire book, especially given how often her “I’m a monster” insecurity was repeated in the narration. She was inconsistently characterized, split between being a shy, sensitive wallflower and a loyal badass — where each personality was exchanged for the other whenever it was convenient. She makes the dumbest decisions yet is praised for her actions repeatedly by characters who should be more capable than her.

Okay, enough with Ruby.

The rest of the cast…was equally terrible. Liam the love interest was as bland as an unsalted cracker. Zu was cute but became a “useful prop” whenever the scene called for it — and then was put on a bus when her character was no longer needed. Chubs, I suppose, was an interesting character, but he was pushed too hard into the devil’s advocate / voice of reason role too much/too often right after his introduction, and so, when he suddenly switched his views (seemingly between one page and the next), his character, too, came off as inconsistent.

I’m not even going to go into the antagonists to any specific degree. Basically, everyone is an antagonist except the protagonists, and none of them are particularly interesting or well defined. This book is a classic case of Adults are Evil, plus the inexplicably psychotic kid here and there. Everyone is terrible, has ulterior motives, and fails to be utilized in the plot in any engaging or surprising way.

So, plot, writing, and characters…what else was terrible?

Oh, yes, the world-building. I was so disappointing by the world-building in this book. The underlying premise was so fantastic, but the world-building ended up boxed into the same tired dystopian tropes I’ve been reading for years. Nonsensically color-coded abilities. Death camps filled with abusive, horrible ADULT guards (that torment CHILDREN, of course). Generic post-apocalyptic American landscape conveniently missing most of the actual inconveniences of a post-apocalyptic landscape. Vaguely described events that shaped this horrible future but are never adequately explained. And so on and so forth.

And…

No, that’s it.

That’s my rant for the day.

This book was terrible across the board. It was boring. It was confusing. It has a cast of characters I couldn’t relate to and didn’t like AT ALL. The world-building, while it should have been excellent and rich, was lackluster at best. The writing style came off too young and caused an awkward disconnect between the narration and the actual content of the story.

Suffice to say, I will not be continuing this series.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars BLAH. Nonsensical world-building, undeveloped characters, CLIFFHANGER, just BLAH., July 10, 2014
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I had serious misgivings about reading The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken.

I started reading Brightly Woven (Bracken’s YA Fantasy stand-alone) a few years ago, and I just wasn’t feeling it. I didn’t mark it as DNF b/c I wasn’t totally writing it off. I was just putting it aside for later. WAY later. So when people started talking about The Darkest Minds last year, I didn’t pay much attention.

Then one of my favorite writers reviewed it as THEBESTBOOKEVEROMG!! So I bought it when it came out. And it sat on a shelf for a year.

Then a bunch of bloggers started reviewing it. A year later. And they’re all THEBESTBOOKEVEROMG!! So I just had to jump on that bandwagon to see what I’d been missing.

*throws book at wall*

The Darkest Minds is about a generation of youth who are born with superhero-like abilities. The additional abilities are jump-started at the onset of puberty. The kids who don’t die when their brains basically EXPLODE, are bused to government camps where they are “rehabilitated.” There are five divisions of abilities:

Green: super smarts
Blue: telekinesis
Yellow: manipulation of electricity
Orange: mind control
Red: fire starters

Greens and Blues are safe, Yellows are in the middle, and Oranges and Reds are frickin’ dangerous. Ruby (our MC) is an Orange, but she gets placed with the Greens (which is good b/c Big Brother starts killing off Oranges when they can’t be “rehabilitated”). If you’re wondering why I keep putting “rehabilitated” in quotations, it’s b/c I still don’t know what it’s supposed to mean. Lots of things are alluded to in reference to the camps and what happens there: scientific experiments (electro-shock therapy style), isolation, sensory deprivation, rape-as-punishment by the a**hole guards, but all of those things are in reference to studying/exploitation, not “curing” an “illness.”

And I don’t know about you guys, but sometimes when I start reading a book, I immediately have issues with it. In The Darkest Minds, my first issue was that there is a line that you can point to (like B.C. and B.C.E.) and on one side you have normal kids, and on the other side you have mutant freaks. Every single kid. BUT . . . wait for it . . . only AMERICAN kids.

Eh??

Because last time I checked, Americans (myself included) were a bunch of mutts. The fact that I know I’m 25% Lithuanian is HUGE. Hardly anyone is a full quarter of anything in America. My other 75% is half a dozen different nationalities THAT I KNOW OF. If it were kids of Western European descent or Eastern European or Asian, etc. I could maybe buy into the whole idea (but it would still be hard b/c these things happen over time, NOT immediately), but it’s not. It’s just Americans.

Willful Suspension of Disbelief only works if the subject is remotely believable.

So that was a huge problem for me. Almost as big as the previously mentioned rape-as-punishment allusion. Not cool ever. REALLY not cool in a YA book. A girl covers for her friend and mouths off to the guards which results in the girl getting gang-raped for two days.

*retrieves book to throw it at wall again*

And then there’s the triangle. The only reason I picked up on the “interest” between Ruby and Boy1 was b/c all of a sudden someone’s staring at someone else’s lips. But that wasn’t terrible. I liked Boy1 and once I knew what was going on, I was cool with it. But then there’s Boy2, and you would have to be an absolute idiot to not immediately know that Boy2 is the BAD GUY.

But somehow there were enough twists and turns to keep me reading. Up until the point where I was 50 pages away from finishing the nearly 500 page book, anyway, and then I just kept going b/c I’m STUBBORN.

And I really wish I hadn’t. I really wish I had quit b/c those last 50 pages made it impossible for me not the read the next book. Sigh . . .

HOWEVER, all of this doesn’t necessarily mean that you will also hate it. I wasn’t crazy about The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey either, so I would suggest that if you liked Yancey’s book, you’ll probably like this one (to me, both books had a similar overall feel). My biggest objection was only alluded to, and very briefly at that. And maybe there’s a perfectly rational explanation for why only American kids mutate and I’m to obtuse to see it. It wouldn’t be the first time. So if SciFi/Dystopians are your thing, give it a shot. But if they aren’t . . .
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed; I thought I was getting something different when I bought this book, March 13, 2013
This review is from: The Darkest Minds (Hardcover)
The book is playing with interesting ideas, but overall I was disappointed with this novel; it had potential.

The pacing in the beginning and end is excellent--but the middle of the story drags as the main characters travel in their van. This is the time for character development, but while we, the reader, learn a little more about each character through dialogue, there is nothing else to hold our interest but a few temporary setbacks.

The three kids Ruby spends most of the story with are the most interesting characters. Their relationships with each other are comic and sometimes dramatic; we start to care about their struggle to find their families.

The other characters are not given time in the story to reveal their desires and pain. There are so many characters that we meet once or twice in the book, and they are either one-dimensional baddies or we don't get the time to learn more about them.

While Ruby is the protagonist, the narrator of the book, she is my least favorite of the four kids. If she isn't crying or worrying about something petty (like the group discovering she is an Orange), she is making constant mistakes and then hating herself for it (and I don't know which is worse--they are both repetitive attributes).

Characters should have flaws, but I expected Ruby to come out of that camp strong, independent, and her flaw would be her unwillingness to trust anyone or show emotions (since they aren't supposed to in the camps). She's the complete opposite; it isn't until the very end of the book that she finally starts to act how I figured she should have acted from the get-go. But it's a stretch calling it a character arc when the arc doesn't appear until the last two chapters of a 31 chapter book.

Our protagonist plays a victim throughout. There are a few empowering scenes when she uses her powers and controls the situation, briefly, but those scenes come far and few between her moping, leaning on Liam for support, and being mentally and physically violated by males of her age.

The biggest con to this book is its ending. It becomes obvious as the reader hits the third quarter mark that the author had a sequel already thought up when writing this story. The story doesn't end; it just stops, just when it gets interesting too.

It is certainly not a bad novel. At times it is engaging and some of the descriptions, like when Ruby sees into other peoples' minds, give great visuals. But after reading a 490 page book and having it just stop, abruptly, with so many lose ends, it will disappoint those who thought they'd purchased a complete story.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Review for The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken, October 13, 2013
This review is from: The Darkest Minds (Hardcover)
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
Book One of the Darkest Minds series
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: December 18, 2012
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Finished copy won from a giveaway

Summary (from Goodreads):

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.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.

When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she's on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her--East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can't risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.

When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.

What I Liked:

I literally JUST read this book yesterday, and woah, you all, WOAH. First, I cannot believe I owned this book for so long, and put off reading it. The thing is, there were so many great reviews for this book, and I didn't want to be disappointed. When I requested an ARC of Never Fade (book two) back in May, I did it with the intention of basically forcing myself to read The Darkest Minds. If I requested a physical or electronic ARC from a publisher, then I would make sure that I read it (at some point). Physical ARCs have priority, so I knew that I would have to read The Darkest Minds and Never Fade in good time (around the release date of Never Fade).

Blogging/reviewing tangent aside, the other reason why I was like WOAH after reading this book, is because WOAH, that book is intense! I don't know what I was expecting, but it certainly wasn't what I got (in an excellent way)! I can totally understand why the reviews for this book were so positive - this book is amazing!

In Ruby's world, many children are born with Idiopathic Adolescent Acute Neurodegeneration (IAAN), in which they have supernatural powers. Ruby was ten when she was taken to a camp with other children around her age. She stayed there for six years - though she had no idea it had been that long. Six years of grueling labor, torture in the form of noise that only the children with IAAN can hear, and fear. Living in fear of what will happen to her, what became of her parents... of what she is.

Ruby is very weak, physically and mentally, when she escapes from the camp with the help of a rogue doctor. She is separated from this doctor and the other person that escaped (Martin), and joins a group of teenagers her age, with IAAN. Zu, a yellow, is about twelve years old, and a mute. Chubs (Charles) and Liam are Blues (I believe Chubs is a Blue). Chubs doesn't want Ruby to join them, but Liam, the super sweet, loyal, and trusting leader of the trio, lets her stay. And thus begins Ruby's journey - to becoming stronger, growing, and fighting back.

I totally simplified the plot of this book. This book was about five hundred pages, and A LOT happened in one book. But trust me, I was never bored or frustrated with this book. The five hundred pages go by quickly. I think I read this one in under three hours (but I'm a fast reader too). I was thoroughly hooked in this book - the story was very engrossing! I wanted to know what Ruby would do, what would happen to Cate, who the Slip Kid was.

Ruby is a likable character. In the beginning of the book, she is extremely weak. She watches her friend get tortured for standing up for her, and then accidentally uses her powers on that friend. Ruby does nothing to help herself, and cares too much about others. I like this quality about her, because it fits her well, and contributes to the story nicely. By the end of the story, her character develops into a more headstrong, tough heroine. She is afraid of what she is, what she will become, but she isn't afraid to try and help herself, and fight for what she wants.

Liam is another beautifully structured character. He's sort of a static character, meaning that he doesn't change, but that works for this story. He is loyal and kind and thoughtful and sweet and so, so nice. I can't get over how nice he is. But he is also protective and fierce. He has his moments when he gets defensive and almost predatory, and usually, Ruby is involved. I love seeing him get worked up over her!

So... romance? Yes. It's subtle and simple and sweet. Ruby and you know who don't just fall into lust and love the moment they see each other. It takes almost all five hundred pages for them to have much physical contact at all (for good reason though), and then physical contact in a romantic sense.

Remember, Ruby, Liam, Chubs, and Zu were all in camps. The last three were in one in Caledonia (I believe), and Ruby was in Thurmond, so she was in a different camp. BUT, all of them have psychological damage because of their time spent at the camp - especially Ruby. You can tell with Ruby - that is definitely something that Bracken showed very well.

The climax of the book is about when Ruby and the gang are going to meet the Slip Kid. I knew EXACTLY who the Slip Kid was, from basically the mention of the nickname, the "Slip Kid". It's pretty obvious, if you read carefully. I don't like the Slip Kid very much, and you probably won't either (if you haven't read this book yet).

The ending... well, let's just say I'm glad I've had Never Fade since May!

What I Did Not Like:

Without giving anything away, the ending is the thing that bothered me a teensy bit. There was this specific part of it that made me slightly sad. I mean, I'm sure things will be explored in Never Fade, but OH MY GOSH!

I'm glad I have Never Fade. It release soon anyway, but I'm glad.

Would I Recommend It:

TOTALLY! Science fiction for the win! This book is definitely something that science fiction lovers will enjoy, or dystopia lovers. It didn't have the same feel as the usual dystopia, but it could be classified as one. But the science fiction! Squee!

Rating:

4.5 stars -> rounded down to 4 stars. I really enjoyed this book! Never Fade, here I come!
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I'm ready for the next one., January 28, 2013
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Let's get the bad stuff out of the way first. The pacing - it needed A LOT of work. The book pulled me in immediately - it starts out great, gets even better, but then all of a sudden...a whole lot of nothing. And some driving around in a minivan. And then more nothing. I mean, I get it, relationships are being built and solidified during this time but still, it should have been done in a less boring manner and taken a lot less chapters to accomplish. The whole middle of the book really dragged and was a chore to get through before it began to get interesting again.

Then there's Ruby. Oh Ruby, you idiot. I wanted to smack the stupid out of her so many times. Her dumb mistakes (and there were many) were so frustrating to witness. And the best one: **SPOILER** ...She pressed the damn button. oh-my-God. then, pretty much immediately after she does it: "I shouldn't have called them." Um, YOU THINK?! You mean it WASN'T a good idea to keep as a safety net the organization that you totally can't trust, has no morals and you know wants to use you for their own questionable purposes and then, when lives are in the balance and the stakes are highest to call on them for help?? You moron. I also kinda hated her whole everyone will hate me when they find out I'm orange, I'm such a monster, blah blah blah. It was ok at first but she kept obsessing over it and it just got to be too much after awhile.

Still, I gave it 4 stars because other than those two things, it was a pretty awesome book. I liked the whole X-men-esque storyline. I really liked the group dynamics with Zu, Liam, Chubs and Ruby. And, while mostly predictable, the events that transpire when the Slip Kid enters the picture are interesting and play out in an exciting manner. And even with all that I complained about Ruby above, I have to admit that the girl does have her moments and when she did, those moments were pretty freakin awesome.

I don't like how we got to the end (because it was a result of Ruby's stupidness), but it WAS a cool place to end and I am looking forward to the sequel.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Dystopian READ I have read!, September 18, 2013
This review is from: The Darkest Minds (Hardcover)
The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
Age Range: 12 and up
Grade Level: 7 and up
Series: Darkest Minds (Book 1)
Hardcover: 496 pages
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH (December 18, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1423157370
ISBN-13: 978-1423157373

I received this book from the publisher Hyperion/Disney in exchange for an honest unbiased review.

My Review~
After reading this book, I'm absolutely just speechless on how it ended. I keep going through it in my head again and again and can't hardly wait to delve into the next book in the series. The ending leaves you just breathless and on the edge of your seat. The book is very edgy which shows tremendously in the cover! I was wondering what the symbol meant in the book and it was amazingly all revealed. I can not believe all the twists in this book that left you with who is the actual good guy in all the bad guys. I'm still stunned. I just adore Ruby because through everything and even knowing what she is she still is protective of the ones she loves to the very end. This book is even better than the Hunger Games or so far it is the best! Very in-depth read full of action, friendship, sadness, guilt, hope, love, and adventure! This is a great read even for adults who love dystopian reads! All I want to do right now is seriously freak out with- OMGOMGOMGOMGOMG over and over again. I woke up thinking about it this morning and had to re-read the ending which is not normal for me unless it is an absolute page-turner. This book series need to be put into a movie pronto! This budding author sure knows how to deliver one bang up novel can't wait to see what she has in store for Ruby, Liam, Zu, Chubs, and Clancy! All I can keep saying is wow oh wow oh wow!

Amazon Book Description~
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.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.

When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she's on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her--East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can't risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.

When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.
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The Darkest Minds
The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken (Hardcover - December 18, 2012)
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