The Darkest Minds book review


Before I had actually picked up The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken I had only heard positive reviews for the book, however I found myself disappointed after reading.

The Darkest Minds is set in a modern day apocalypse, 98% of the children in America have died due to a strange disease and the country is in chaos. The remaining children are discovered to have supernatural powers classified using different colors, the colors each representing the type of powers the children have. These kids can do anything from controlling others telepathically to setting things on fire with their minds. Adults who are terrified of the powers the children have locked them up in large camps all throughout the country. The camps are meant for rehabilitation to “cure” the kids but are essentially large prisons.

The story follows Ruby, a 16 year old girl who has been in one of these prison camps for the past 6 years of her life when she is suddenly broken out. Ruby meets a group of kids who have also escaped from a camp, and they travel along the East Coast to find the East River, a hideout for kids on the run, all the while avoiding and fighting off bounty hunters who would gladly turn in kids to the government for a profit.

I thought the overall plot and idea of the story was interesting and right away I was hooked into the book with the strong start. Though after continuing with the story I noticed many little plot holes or just unrealistic character personalities and character development. Not to mention all of the little errors that could have been easily fixed with better editing (at one point in the book Ruby mentions someone named Rob, even though she doesn’t know who Rob is yet).

It was also a bit difficult to relate to Ruby at points because I felt that her character didn’t really have a transition stage. At the very beginning of the story Ruby is described as being very quiet and not boisterous at all. Ruby was never able to stand up for herself at the camp, and for a year she didn’t say a word to anyone. Yet within the first couple of chapters being out of the camp she was suddenly very confident and even yelling at people. Now I know that the camp definitely pressured her into being afraid and silent because she feared the consequences of acting out, but to me it feels like her character didn’t really grow into this confidence, she just jumped to it like she was hiding it the whole time.

One of the other main characters, Liam, also frustrated me to read because it was hard to understand what he was feeling half the time. But Ruby and their other friend Chubs describe him as “so easy for others to read” (Bracken 256) which made it even more confusing because I wasn’t seeing that.

I feel that the author had the idea of what she wanted these characters to be, but their personalities just didn’t fit into their stories leaving them seem a little off and hard to relate to.

Overall I was not impressed with this book, but if you can look past the little bugs it does have a good plot and an interesting take on the common apocalypse themed story.