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.
(Summary from GoodReads)
I was really looking forward to The Darkest Minds because I enjoy dystopians and was a big fan of Bracken’s Brightly Woven. I had especially loved Bracken’s prose and worldbuliding, and since both of those had a place in The Darkest Minds, I figured it would be fantastic. Unfortunately, this one got off to a rough start, and I didn’t start to really enjoy it again until the very end.
This new series starts off with a bang, and that’s where the poor worldbuilding started. I’m fine with a lot of action at the beginning of this story, but Bracken kept name dropping things in her world that we didn’t know about, like the Slip Kid, and not describing them. We also didn’t get a lot of clear definition on what all the colors meant, and in our #WednesdayYA chat a lot of people pointed out this could be because Ruby was taken in so young. If that’s the reason, then it seems a too convenient method of Bracken getting out of worldbuilding in the first book of her series.
One of Bracken’s major strengths in this book is the characters. I liked Chubs, who was a bit of an asshole, but empathetic, while my favorite character was Zu. I’ll be reading the rest of the series to find out what happened to her, because she was the perfect combination of endearing and fascinating. Ruby’s story was told partially in flashbacks, and I thought that worked really well. On the whole, though, her character felt a little underdeveloped.
By the end of this story, I had some serious character related feels. Brakcen’s prose didn’t sparkle me all throughout this book, but it got much better towards the end. I also saw Ruby taking more ownership of her own story. It’ll be interesting to see how she changes as the story goes on.
The Darkest Minds was a disappointment, and I know part of it was that I liked Brightly Woven so much. Bracken’s previous book gave me really high hopes for this one, and it didn’t live up. I want to continue this series, but I’m hoping to see more out of the pacing and worldbuilding. It felt a little unedited, and I read an ARC, which could have been the problem. Hopefully Never Fade will be better, but maybe it won’t.
Disclosure: I picked up an ARC of this book at a conference.
For those of you who don't know, my birthday is on April 1st, which means I get to pick our April #WednesdayYA read. I already have the book selected, and my lips are sealed. However, Misty has put all of our #WednesdayYA options onto this GoodReads shelf, so I thought I would give you guys the opportunity to guess what it is, and if you guess correctly, you'll win a copy. EDIT: Now, after this I had all these rules and clues listed, but Emily has already won the book! So in addition to Misty and I telling you what our selection will be, Emily might also post about it on her blog. We'll just have to see!