Monday, October 3, 2016

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

The Darkest Minds is a dystopian novel where an illness strikes kids as they are entering puberty.  Either the kids die or they survive, but with abilities.  The abilities range from relatively benign (knowing what is on a card facing away) to dangerous (mind control and fire starting, for example).  The disease strikes mostly in the US with some more isolated outbreaks elsewhere.  The US government, scared by the powers, intern the survivors in what they call rehabilitation camps, but which are really more like concentration camps where, eventually, the more dangerous kids are taken away never to be seen again.

Ruby was 10 when she got sick and accidentally erased herself from her parents' memories, resulting in internment.  She convinces the doctor doing her intake that she is a relatively safe green and spends the next 6 years at camp hiding the fact that she's really a mind reader/controller (orange).  She's broken out of her camp by the Children's League, a group that is working against the government ostensibly in favor of the children.  However, she doesn't trust them and escapes from them in the company of three escapees from another camp.

I was very intrigued at the beginning of The Darkest Minds.  The story, the situations, Ruby, the other kids - I found them all intriguing.  By the end, I wasn't as enraptured.  Eventually, I felt the story line just didn't move in that interesting a direction. There was a whole section toward the end that just felt bogged down and then I wasn't happy with the ending, where some new things were introduced just to be addressed in a future book.  There were other elements that will naturally lead to other books, so a couple of the new things bothered me.  It felt a little forced overall in the last quarter or so of the book. I really liked it up until there, though.

I'm sure there will be a sequel.  I'm not sure if I'll read it.  All-in-all, I'm left feeling a little ambivalent about The Darkest Minds.

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