Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Book Review: The Darkest Minds

My daughter's friend is coming over today and we're going to go shopping (maybe) and then go see this movie. I wanted to read the book before so I squeezed it in over the last week despite it being a hectic week for me. I hope the movie ends up being good!

The Darkest Minds - Alexandra Bracken

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something frightening enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that got her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that had killed most of America’s children, but she and the others emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they could not control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. She is on the run, desperate to find the only safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who have 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 having a life worth living.

Alright so this is kind of dystopian though it feels like it could be taking place now given the state of our government. It's not really like Hunger Games or Divergent, it really is it's own brand of weird that's using the premise of the government being scared of the kids. (Which kind of reminds me of how they tried to tear down the high school kids speaking out after the Parkland shooting.) But in t his book kids after the age of ten are developing this IAAN sickness which leaves them with a variety of powers. The kids are then grouped by color depending on their ability, blues and greens aren't a major threat, but yellow, orange, and reds are. Early on in the book we find that yellow, orange, and red kids are "eliminated" because of the threat they pose, but oranges are seen to be the most dangerous. Which is kind of weird because if you go by the rainbow, red would theoretically be the most dangerous, right? I can only assume in subsequent books we'll find out the deal with reds. It's kind of hinted that they are militarized but I just don't get how oranges are rare and dangerous. Orange kids can control thoughts, push thoughts onto others, and in Ruby's case, she can erase memories. 

Which is what happens on her tenth birthday- she inadvertently erased her parent's memory of her and they no longer know who she is. Scared, they call authorities and they take Ruby away and put her in these internment camps for the Psi children (the kids who have these weird abilities). It becomes fairly obvious to Ruby that being anything other than a blue or green is dangerous and won't end well so she ends up manipulating the sorting process so she ends up with the green kids, thus saving her life for the time being. She doesn't really know whats going on but she learns the ropes eventually. 

Then one day she experiences a new form of Calm Control that suddenly puts her in new danger. She's whisked out of the came by Cate, from a "children's rescue group" and she feels like she's found salvation. Except her gut is telling her otherwise so Ruby escapes from Cate and her group and finds herself in a little tribe with Liam, Zu, and Chubs. They have escaped from their own camp and are on a mission to find the Slip Kid who apparently can get them home. Ruby quickly learns that she is woefully ignorant and naive and that keeps leading her into danger.

When they finally find the Slip Kid it all looks promising to everyone, except Chubs, and when they find out the Slip Kid is an orange, maybe the only orange left, Ruby knows he's the only one who can teach her how to use her abilities. But nothing is as it seems and her loyalties will be tested. She can't be sure of her own thoughts but it's up to her to bring them to saftey.

Overall? The book was great. Kind of terrifying to think about, but overall it was great. The ending CRUSHED me and I kept thinking throughout the entire book how incredibly stupid Ruby is. She is literally the worst person. I kept reminding myself that being locked up in camps for six years clearly stunted her brain development but man... she was pretty terrible. She doesn't want her powers and you get this feeling throughout the book like she's being forcibly dragged into the realization that she has them, better learn to use them, or else. It seems like every other kind in the country had come to that realization almost immediately but she's in some weird blissful denial. It was really annoying and I wanted to punch her myself. But I loved Liam and I loved him and Ruby together so the ending... oh man. I was so gutted and SO ANGRY at it I threw my book. But I really want to read book two because dammit if I'm not hopeful.



Shooting Stars Mag said...

Sounds like Ruby would drive me a bit nuts too, but I'm glad that didn't stop you from really enjoying the book. I haven't read any of these, but I'm a bit curious now!! I hope you love the movie. :)


Beth (Coffee Until Cocktails) said...

I enjoy dark dystopian style books like this so I think I'm going to have to give it a read. And then I'll probably want to see the movie! I'm adding this to my list.

Anonymous said...

I'm really into dystopian fiction and I love finding books that aren't written to be too similar to Divergent or The Hunger Games. I'm definitely going to check this one out!