Saturday, February 16, 2013
The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
"The darkest minds tend to hide behind the most unlikely faces."
Ruby's tenth birthday was ruined when her own parents didn't recognize her. They locked her in the garage and she was picked up by government agents. Most of the kids her age have died of a sudden, mysterious illness. The ones still living develop supernatural powers. Agencies are formed to lock the kids up, for the safety of the country. The camps are supposed to take care of the children and study them to find a cure.
In reality, the camps are cruel and inhumane. The children with the strongest powers, classified as Yellows, Oranges, and Reds, are destroyed. Ruby is actually an Orange (They can make people do things). Unlike most kids who share her powers, Ruby doesn't like to manipulate people. She fears her powers and can't even use them intentionally. Still, she manages to convince the guards that she is actually a Green, one of the safer levels.
Ruby is eventually rescued by an organization called the Children's League. After accidentally seeing the memories of one of the members, she realizes that they are bad news. She escapes with a trio of young refugees, Liam, Zu, and Chubs. Liam is their leader and protector. He's a Blue who broke their group out of their respective camp. His goal is to get to East River, which is supposed to be a haven for other children with powers, run by the legendary Skip Kid. Chubs is his smart, suspicious second hand man. Zu is a younger girl, a Yellow who can manipulate electricity. She is unable to speak because of the experiments performed on her at her camp.
The character of Rudy is a big highlight of the book. Despite how powerful she could be, Ruby isn't corrupted by her abilities. The romance with her and Liam is very sweet. I'm also a huge fan of the uncertain friendship she forges with Chubs, and I love her bonding with Zu over sparkly dresses at Wal-Mart. In spite of all their problems, there is something very appealing about how these children and young adults band together to take care of each other and make their own families.
I'm not going to lie to you, this is a super-long book. Fortunately, the story doesn't drag at all. There have been some first books where it feels as though the story is too short or incomplete. Here, the length of the book helps to give The Darkest Minds a satisfying story that could actually stand on its own.
I received my copy of The Darkest Minds from Netgalley, courtesy of Disney Hyperion. It's available for purchase now.