I just finished the Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken and I fell in love with it. This is going to be my booktalk on it and hopefully I will also have a Blood of Olympus booktalk for you soon because that comes out tomorrow, ah! I am really excited. Anyway onto today’s post.Like all my other booktalks this will be split into spoiler section and non-spoiler section.
The Darkest Minds is set in the present day when a deadly disease has swept across America, affecting adolescents. A lot of youths die from this but others get special abilities that can be deadly. All the remaining youths are put into “rehabilitation” units that are actually like the concentration camps that Hitler sent those he deemed “not pure” into. This book was so fun and fast-paced and I would highly recommend it to anyone. Alexandra Bracken’s writing is amazing and is easy to understand yet strangely philosophical at the same time. I highly recommend this book to anyone of basically any age. It is perfect for people who don’t read much or don’t like reading because it is so easy to get pulled into the incredible world. I. Highly. Recommend. It.
The Darkest Minds starts with Ruby hearing the white noise and her crumbling to the ground. It then flashes through parts of her life in the camp and when the first girl died. We see the boy get off the bus and tell the woman to shoot herself. I thought he would appear more in the story but he never did and that kind of disappointed me because I thought his being in the story would be more than just to introduce the idea of oranges into Ruby’s mind. When Sam stood up for Ruby and she was talking about the form of punishment sentenced to a repeat offender, we never actually learned what that was. I was really interested in that and I hated not getting to know (although knowing might have made me feel ill). When she erased herself from Sam’s memory tears came to my eyes and I don’t think the first book in a series has ever done that before in the first few chapters. I could physically feel the intense pain that Ruby was feeling.
I cried again when the girls were in their cabin and where telling stories to each other. The idea that they had one thing, just one, to help them keep going, and that that thing was stories, was too much. There are certain moments in books I just cannot handle and this was one of them.
Then we met Cate. I actually liked Cate at first which I feel really guilty about know. She seemed sweet and like she actually cared about Ruby. I never, however, trusted Rob. On first glance he just seemed shady and really unkind. Ruby’s dive into his melon only enforced this idea. When she ran away though I did think it was a really stupid thing to do. I thought the Children’s League would help them despite the distrust I had in Rob. She met Suzume though who I absolutely fell in love with almost immediately. I also fell in love with Liam immediately. Chubs took a little warming up to come around to properly.
Liam is one of the sweetest male characters I have ever read and I feel like the YA genre really lacks that at the moment. Male characters are always the “bad boy” type and start off being horrible to the protagonist before they fall in love through something. It was refreshing to read a character who didn’t fit into that box. Chub’s I started to love after a while when I realised that he really did care about his friends and that’s why he wanted Ruby gone. The second attack they had was the most intense and I felt so proud of Ruby for managing to fight back after the white noise had been set off. It was then that I realised the strength that Zu had and what she was actually capable of. Her powers actually seemed awesome to me and I think I’d have hers or the power of the blues over oranges. I don’t even want to know what Red’s can do.
Zu’s dream frightened me so much. The shots, the riot, only 20 kids getting out. The Darkest Mind’s is really special, in that it made me feel such intense emotions, enough to cry, even when character deaths weren’t there.
When we met Greg and whoever else I actually thought they would be new characters added to the story. But no. We were finding the Slip Kid. I hated him the moment I met him. I new that stupid Clancy Grey was going to cause some problems between Lee and Ruby. And oh boy did he. I hated East River I really did. In new Grey was up to something. Zu found new friends, which I hated, and Chubs didn’t fit in, which I hated more. When Chub’s told Ruby that East River was basically Thurmond I really started to see it, I did. Lee and Ruby barely saw each other cause she spent every minute of every day with Clancy Grey. I hate him so much I actually forgot his name. I had to google it just a minute ago.
Then Zu left. It hurt me so much especially when she told Ruby to come find her because I knew that would be tough to accomplish. And then I had to find out Clancy Grey pushed them out so Ruby would only spend time with HIM! When he froze Ruby in place and hurt her I felt so much anger I thought I might crush the book. But Liam found out and it was my heart that got crushed instead. When he was being hit again and again and again it was all I could do not to scream along with Ruby. I hated him so much in that moment, I didn’t think I could hate him more. But I was wrong.
He led the PSF’s right to them, right to the camp where all the kids could be slaughtered. He trapped Ruby and left everyone else just to die. Chub’s tragged her under the pier and I honestly thought Lee would be there waiting. But her wasn’t. I thought that we wouldn’t seem him again. But we did.
When Lee appeared again the wave of joy I felt seemed to completely knock me over. I was so happy he was safe. They went to find Jack’s dad and I thought it would go well, I really did. I was wrong again.
When Chub’s got shot my heart dropped right to my stomach. I just began to cry again. Then Ruby had to press the stupid panic button and I knew that that was it. That was the end of the trio.
They came and then the worst thing possible happened. Ruby made a deal to release Lee but keep her with the Children’s League. But that wasn’t enough. She erased herself from his memory and when he looked at her and had no idea who she was I never thought I’d stop crying. The ending broke my heart into a million pieces, I think it was possibly even worse than if it was a death because the shattering implications of that one action will take forever to reverse or at least attempt to fix. I hang on to the thread of hope that I still weave tirelessly that Lee will find Zu and she’ll set him straight and he’ll remember. He has too.
I absolutely loved TDM and cannot wait to continue with the series. I’ve become so invested in the characters lives and I have to know what happens next. I can’t wait to read Never Fade. Alexandra Bracken you are a god.
Signing off, Charlie