In a future world, a disease kills most of the ten-thirteen year olds, leaving only a few handfuls left, but not even their lives are untouched. Assuming Psi powers beyond their control, each child is brought to a concentration camps. Each child is grouped into colors: green, orange, blue, yellow, and red. Red, orange, and yellow: the dangerous ones. Ruby, our protagonist, pretends to be a green, a smart and timid one, when in reality, she’s an orange. But she couldn’t keep it up forever, and soon enough the day comes when she’s apparently discovered and she flees with an undercover agent of the League along with another orange. But even there, she discovers something horrible and runs once again this time meeting up with Chubs, Liam, and Suzume, a green, blue, and yellow respectively. Ruby finds out about East River, a safe haven for all kids affected by Psi. As they search for the East River, they grow closer and closer, especially Ruby and Liam, but Ruby can’t allow herself to bring the burden of her powers onto another. Especially when they have yet to discover that she’s an orange. But once they get to East River, they’ll discover secrets and betrayals hidden at the core with no way of escape. Until it’s too late.
I loved the characters and world building! Ruby was strong and selfless (a little too much sometimes…if you read the end, you’ll know what I mean.) and she was willing to fight for her freedom even when everything seemed lost. She somehow managed that even when she was broken and half dead already. She never allowed herself to really love Liam and even then, she kept him at a safe distance so that he would be safe and happy.
All the characters had their own complexities and pasts that made you understand why they were the way they were. Alexandra did an amazing job with writing the characters and their thoughts, pasts, and their reasons why they did something so that we understood everything and everyone.
The world building was awesome and I’m now thoroughly scared of America. The way that Alexandra Bracken wrote about the camps made me shudder so many times. It was just so creeptastic reading about them with all the cruelty and desperation that seemed to surround the atmosphere of the book. I. Absolutely. Loved it! The imagery was stunning and descriptions vivid so it just made the setting all the more brutal.
I felt sometimes that at 10 years old, Ruby knew too much for someone her age and she was maybe too quiet? She just seemed way too mature for someone who was just experiencing pain. So much that I even got confused about her age at one point!
Another thing that made no sense: Why would the government basically put kids with powers in (basically) prison camps? It’s risky because of their powers. Didn’t they think that if all the kids rebelled they could kill everyone? Why not put those gifts to use? I just didn’t get it.
The romance! The romance was incredibly, incredibly, slow in the beginning (which is actually understandable) but at a certain point, all of a sudden, they were kissing all the time and pining for each other. It was quick sharp pivot and confused the heck out of me!
The Darkest Minds was a stunning read that captivated me from start to finish! Sure, there were a few things that did irritate me, but all in all The Darkest Minds was a great read and I can’t wait for book 2! Because there BETTER be a book 2 after that cliffhanger!