The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds #1) – Alexandra Bracken

The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds #1) – Alexandra BrackenTitle: The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds #1) by Alexandra Bracken
Publishing Info: December 18, 2012 by Disney Hyperion
Genres: Dystopian, Paranormal, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: December 23, 2012
Related Posts: Passenger (Passenger #1), Never Fade (The Darkest Minds #2), In the Afterlight (The Darkest Minds #3)

  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.


I really, really enjoyed this book! I wasn’t quite sure exactly what I was getting into when I started and I have to say, I’m pleasantly surprised!! THE DARKEST MINDS is a combination of a dystopian world with paranormal abilities. We see the dystopian in the fact that the US is falling apart, broke and falling to shambles especially after the disease strikes the nation that takes the lives of most of America’s children. The ones who survive have been ones whose brains allow them to use incredible abilities of all kinds, one of which is our heroine, Ruby.

I really liked that we only spent some of the story’s time in the camps and quickly progressed to breaking out. I imagine the whole book could have taken place in the camps and it would have been substantial, but a far less interesting story. I think a lot of dystopian novels often have book one take place in a specific location and book two is what happens after they break free, and so often I’m disappointed in book two when that happens. In this way, I felt like I wouldn’t be let down by whatever the second book in this series has to offer!

I really loved the different abilities that we see amongst all the different kids and how well the handle these abilities. It was interesting to see the range of different gifts instead of just one. I felt like it made the interactions between the characters really interesting and like Ruby, each character had to go through figuring out how to use their ability without having it become a danger.

I also really liked the chase aspect of the story — I think since we’ve seen so many dystopians, the typical “government is after you” plot is getting a little old, but this didn’t feel like the same tired idea at all. There were many different layers of what Ruby and her friends had to run from as well as figuring out how to use these people to their advantage. The questions in the story run many layers deep!

Oh yeah and HOW ABOUT THAT ENDING. Holy cow, I was not expecting that! Boy oh boy. I cannot wait to see how the second book goes because I was just so gosh darn surprised at what just happened!


Ruby: Ruby is a tough cookie, but she’s probably how I would end up acting if I were to be in any of these situations – She’s smart but cautious and doesn’t get too carried away with rash decisions like I feel how a lot of dystopian heroines end up. She was such a strong character but in a reasonable way and I felt like she thought out her decisions carefully. I instantly made a connection with her and I loved following her story.
Liam: Thank goodness I ended up liking Liam! I feel like so many times the characters are forced into a relationship/romance and I just never fall into sync with the concept. Ruby and Liam don’t immediately fall in love, but a trust develops between them that makes sense and seems to be a perfect way to start building a relationship. I really loved their interactions and even though they came across times where it looked like one would have to sacrifice themselves for the other, I never felt like either one felt desperate or needy.
Chubs: I loved Chubs. He was a character I wasn’t sure I’d like at first, but his character really grew and developed into someone that was nicely rounded. He wasn’t just a sidekick who’s there so Liam could have a friend – He was actually a part of the story and was important to the plot, which I love. I feel like too often the MC’s friends are just there for the sake of having friends and Chubs was not just another wallflower. He really brought some character to the book and make key decisions. 



Wow, I really enjoyed this one. It was such an interesting combination of dystopian and paranormal and the characters were just fantastic! Looking forward to reading more of this series.



(click on the covers to see my reviews!)


Hi, I'm Brittany!
Hi, I'm Brittany!

I'm an avid reader, candle-maker, and audiobook lover! Here you'll find book reviews, fun blog posts, and my other loves of photography & craft beer!

Recently Read

Dead Moon
The Fold
Instant Karma
American Girl
The Recovery Agent
The Harbor
One of Us Is Dead
The Last Thing He Told Me
Hook, Line, and Sinker
It Happened One Summer
The Good Lie

Brittany S.’s favorite books »

16 thoughts on “The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds #1) – Alexandra Bracken

  1. Anna Weimer (@lostbraincell)

    I have been hearing a lot about this series now that the last book has been released. I’ve had this on TBR for so long. Your review definitely has me wanting to read it soon though. It sounds great

  2. Misti

    I loved The Darkest Mind. I really could use a reread. That is why this one is my pick for your Birthday Giveaway 2014. Really interested to know if you liked the sequel too. Your review was spot on with my thoughts while reading it too. I loved how it was different from other dystopian books. I enjoyed all the characters and I did love that ending. Thank you so much for sharing.

  3. Merin

    I’m glad you liked this one, Brittany! It’s one of my favorites of 2012; I loved how it was a different type of dystopian. I didn’t feel as if I’d already read this story several times over. 🙂

  4. Quinn

    I’ve heard wonderful things about Alexandra Bracken. I’m not usually one for dystopian novels, but I think I might give this one a try. Glad you enjoyed it 🙂

    1. Brittany

      This is one I would recommend! It really focuses a lot more on the paranormal side and the abilities than the fact that they’re living in a dystopian world. That is a big part of the plot BUT it’s not the main focus. It’s more about Ruby and her abilities and trying to keep herself safe.
      If you try it, I really hope you like it!! I had a great time with it.

      1. ravenousbiblioworm

        I was just going to type what you just wrote here. Yep it’s character and power focused at the moment. I can see a shift into the world in the following book. I too enjoyed this book. Though I wasn’t surprised at the shift near in the end of the book due to the camp structure, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. I have this book on order even though I already read it.

  5. Michael

    Awesome review, I am in the midst of reading this book right now and I can not wait to finish it. This book is really one of the best I have read this year. Really well rounded book, that has a place on my shelves too. =]

  6. EM Castellan

    I’ve read good reviews for this one but I keep thinking “another dystopian book?!” so I don’t know whether I should add it to my TBR list or not… I guess you answer is yes 🙂 Great review!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: