The Darkest Minds, Alexandra Bracken (2012)
Themes // Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Warfare, Adult
Pages // 488
I want to read this book before seeing the film, if only so I could point out every difference between the two (of which there were quite a few). This book was the exciting first part of a YA dystopia series in which children who have survived a killer disease develop various abilities.
The first part of this book takes place in a camp, for the children affected by this disease. Each child is separated into a colour dependant on their ability. Our main character Ruby is one of the most dangerous children, not that you’d know it, an orange, but she manages to disguise herself as a green and live safely for six years in the camp. She makes some friendships and generally remains scared of what she can do, we see these years go past in a matter of chapters.
What this book is really about is Ruby and a group she becomes part of after escaping the camp, as they try and find some kind of a freedom and safety in a world that is falling apart.
It was interesting to see the world created here that had no children, with a failing economy and bereaved families, the setting was bleak and empty. Most people had fled to main cities, so it was rare for our characters to come across anyone on their travels. Surprisingly this book doesn’t go too Lord of the Flies, there still seems to be some order and hierarchy of power within the communities of teens we see in this book. I was thankful it didn’t go down this route, it left a little part of the plot to be worked out by the reader.
This was essentially your average dystopia, I enjoyed the abilities and finding out how the characters used them, I always like that in books. But the romance in the plot was a little typical and eye roll worthy for me. Character wise though we had a good mix, my favourite was Chubs, a clever blue (although for some reason he’s green in the film), he’s really good fun to read about. He offers comic relief in the bleak parts of the story and he’s kind and loyal, he’s an ideal lead character, but yet he remains a sub character.
I’d have been interesting to learn more about these characters, it seemed liked there was a lot left to say, so I hope we figure this out in the later books.
The ending of this book was the best part for me – it was different and unexpected and left me wanting more. I’m eager to read the next book in this series, in fact I’ve already started in on audible. The narrator for this series is excellent, she does all of the different voices vey well. Generally I thought this was an exciting read, it kept me entertained and interested, it just didn’t offer masses of variation from similar novels of the same themes.