It has been a long time since I’ve been this excited about a series, but here we are. Alexandra Bracken’s The Darkest Minds is fantastic. It has danger and romance and amazing characters, which is the winningest of combinations. Here’s the other thing, I am not usually into dystopian novels, but I could not put this one down.
Set in a modern, yet seriously messed up, America the book tells a story of a world in an economic black hole, rampant with crime and devoid of children. For six years, the country has been tracking down and collecting all children who managed to survive the youth plague-thing called IAAN. All survivors were left with special abilities of varying degrees from exceptional memory to mind control. The government has been collecting the survivors in concentration camps designed to contain, control and even eliminate the threat of these exceptional kids. Our main character, Ruby, manages to escape. She then teams up with a group of rogue kids who travel together. What follows is a journey of learning to trust and to survive. It turns out that those two learned instincts might be the ones that get Ruby into the most trouble.
I came across this book at BookExpo Bloggercon. Alexandra Bracken was on one of the panels I went to and a copy of her book was included in the gift bag. There was also a great book bag that says “Let’s carpe the hell out of this diem,” which I think is really funny and was one of the more notable lines in the book.
What I liked about this book was that it was a new idea. It’s fantasy and dystopian society, but it was different from anything I’ve read recently in those categories. The characters are also detailed and not cliched. They are the mix of characters required for every group setting, but it didn’t seem like it. They are all very layered and have really great progression throughout the story. I also like how Bracken reveals information. She is good with timing. I really appreciated that I had an actual emotional reaction to some of the things the characters did. It’s been a while since I’ve been that invested in the story.
While I’m on the subject of fantasy… I would also recommend The Name of the Star which is the first book in a series. The second one goes on sale in the fall, but I read the galley and it is quite good. These are both unique fantasy series that are super compelling. Christine (AKA PolandBananasBooks) has a really fun video about The Darkest Minds, go check it out!
I am now embarking upon the journey (journey) that is Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. Maybe I will finish it before I go to school.