The Darkest Minds
by Alexandra Bracken
“Imagine someone reaching straight into your chest, past the bones and blood and guts, and taking a nice firm hold on your spinal cord. Now imagine that they start shaking you so fast, the world starts bulging and buckling under you. Imagine not being able to figure out later if the thought in your head is really yours or an unintentional keepsake from someone else’s mind. Imagine the guilt of knowing you saw someone’s deepest, darkest fear or secret…”
In The Darkest Minds, the children are diseased. Some drop dead for no apparent reason before they reach the age of ten. Those that don’t begin to develop abilities they don’t understand, and can’t control. Some merely gain superior mental acuity, excelling at math and science far beyond their years. For others, their abilities take on a more dangerous shape–telekinesis, electrokinesis, mind reading, mind control.
After waking the morning of her tenth birthday to parents with no memory of her existence, Ruby is taken to Thurmond, a Rehabilitation Center she soon finds is much more like a concentration camp. The children are separated by their abilities, watched and controlled every hour of every day. They are not allowed to speak to one another, to play, or to go to school. Their days consist of nothing but meals, and menial labor.
Ruby manages to escape Thurmond, and by chance meets up with a group of runaways, just like her. Liam, who is a Blue–a telekinetic; Charles “Chubs”–a Green problem solver; and Zu, a Yellow who can create and control electricity. Together, they travel in search of East River, a fabled camping ground where other kids with abilities have managed to make a life for themselves, under the radar.
Of course, this journey is not without obstacles, and if they find East River, will it really be the Promised Land they’re looking for?
The Darkest Minds reminded me a bit of a cross between Unwind and Shatter Me; teens with supernatural abilities, who must run from adults who seek to harm them. It was exciting, and very well paced; tense, but not without moments of humor (and swoon!) that kept it from being overwhelming. And I appreciated the questions raised–is anything inherently good or bad, or does intention weigh more than an act itself?
I very much enjoyed The Darkest Minds, but I will warn you–my initial review said only: WORST ENDING EVER. I wouldn’t necessarily categorize it as a cliffhanger, but it did leave me emotional and wishing for the next book immediately.
The Darkest Minds is out December 18th, 2012.
Rated 4 out of 5 stars.
This review also appears on Goodreads. An advance copy was provided by the publisher.
Win an ARC of The Darkest Minds!
This title won’t be out until mid-December, but thanks to our friends at Disney*Hyperion, we have an advanced copy to give away to our readers. All you need to do is fill in your contact info in the form below and leave a comment on this post. This contest is open U.S. and Canadian residents aged 18 and older (or 13 and older with parental permission).