The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
(Actual is 3.5, would have been 4 but long boring middle...)
No spoilers and colorful language abound!
I finished reading this book six days ago, and I'm still at a loss on what I want to say, mostly because The Darkest Minds is many things all rolled into one. I had varying degrees of feels throughout this book that ran the gamut from "this is the worst" to "oh, YES". Despite some feelings being on the negative side, I always felt something and never emotionally checked out. So, it has that going for it. Aside from the fact that I am entirely dystopianed-out, The Darkest Minds fought the good fight and has managed to stand apart in a sea of over-done-squeeze-every-penny-out-of-this-plot themes. Bracken created a truly dark world where the worst thing imaginable happens, parents fear their own children and voluntarily turn them over to be "fixed" without so much as a second thought on how and what that means. There are few things in life that, despite our personal experiences, remain true, which is to say the love and bond between a child and their parents/caretakers. It was unsettling to see how quickly that bond could be broken, how little it could withstand. As a mother, I found this both horrifying and unbelievable, and I remained in that mind-set till the very last word on the page.
We meet young Ruby at the tender age of 10 and on the verge of entering her formative young adult years, all the while the country is in the grips of fear and mourns in inconceivable numbers. Aside from a small percentage, most of the nations children's are dying in hoards by an infection of unknown origin. What happens next is what I like to call "highly improbable plot time"..
...but I couldn't stop reading.
Ruby comes of age in a government camp by hiding her true nature, she is a shell, and she is alone until one day, someone comes along and flips her world upside down.
Finally out of the camp and on the run with no one to trust, Ruby must fight for her freedom at every turn. Despite how that feels it should be fast paced, it was sloooow as fuuccckkkkkk. Seriously, this middle is like trying to swim through molasses. This much I will say, it's so worth it, push through . It is a first installment, and at times it does come across that way; specifically in terms of Ruby understanding herself, what she is capable of and her roll in this scary new world she finds herself. However, there are many sections that have the power of a stand alone book, which thank fuck because as I mentioned, sloooow middle.
I'd like to talk about this some more, but really, I just want to go read the second one... which in itself is a positive review, or at least what I like to tell myself.
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