Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Darkest Minds


THE DARKEST MINDS
ALEXANDRA BRACKEN
3.5/5.0

Ruby is 10.  Kids are dropping like flies everywhere.  That's not the part that scares people though.  It's the kids that live that terrify them.  Those that survive are developing startling abilities.  Ruby is 10 when she develops hers.  Her terrified parents lock her in the garage and call the police to come pick her up.  She is transported to Thurmond.  A facility set up specifically for kids like her.  A facility that seems more like a prison camp than an institution set up for their own good.

Ruby lies to cover up what she is, but when she is found out, she barely escapes with her life.  While on the run, she runs into a group of kids that have escaped from another institution like Thurmond.  They band together and form a friendship on their journey to East River, a supposed safe haven for kids like them.

However, when they arrive at East River, they discover all is not what it seems, and Ruby will be faced with a gut-wrenching, life changing decision.

REVIEW:

To be completely honest,  this is exactly how I felt for the first 80% of the book:


The premise in and of itself was really interesting, but the book was seriously lacking when it came to making me feel connected to the characters, or just character building in general.  All of the characters felt very flat and predictable throughout most of the book.

There's Ruby:




Who, to me, is really a boring main character at this point.  I don't dislike her, I just don't love her.  You spend the entire book in her head, but all she really seems to think about is hiding her ability from everyone around her, and pushing everyone around her away so she doesn't accidentally use her ability on them.  Every time she brings it up in the book, this is what I see:



I mean, lets be real.  She's 16, she's with a dude, who I'm obviously supposed to think she's at least a little bit attracted too, but she NEVER ONCE thinks "oh, he's so hot" about this guy.  Not one freaking time.  It's maddening.



Then there is Liam:



He's the group's "fearless leader".  I really don't hate Liam.  For all intents and purposes, I like Liam.  He's a nice guy.  However, I don't feel the "spark" between him and Ruby.  There are a few moments where I feel like he's "kinda" into her, but that's about the extent of it.  He seems more like the big brother, who is always there to watch her back and give her a pep talk when she's feeling down.  He's also pretty predicatable.  He's always going to do the right thing and he's always going to put the groups well being above his own.  Not that those are horrible traits, it's just those are really the ONLY traits he seems to have.

Then there is Zu:


Honestly, even though she's a mute and says NOTHING, she, at least in my opinion, was the most developed character. She had a personality that I could see even without her saying a single word.  She shows more wit and charm than the rest.  You really can't help but love her.

And finally there's Chubs:

This is how I pictured chubs through most of the book.  He's a complainer, a whiner, and for the first 80% of the book, really freaking annoying.  I will say that he does redeem himself exceptionally well by the end and ended up being another favorite for this book.  However, for the most part, you could count on him lecturing Liam about what a bad idea whatever they were doing was.

So basically, the characters personalities were just BLAH.

Then, we add to that the book really doesn't do a great job with relationship building.  So, we end up with flat characters who are just kind of thrown together and along for the ride.  They get in situations throughout the book, but up until the last 20% I didn't really feel all that worried about it.  I wasn't panicking over their safety or worrying about how they were going to get out of it.  I was just kind of sitting there, twiddling my thumbs, waiting for the next chapter.




So, WHY in the name of all that is holy did I give a book that spent most of its time boring the crap out of me 3.5 stars?

Well, it's because in the last 20% of the book things suddenly got interesting.  I'm really not sure why we went from 0-60 in the last 20%, but:

FINALLY!

At least all the time I invested in this book FINALLY paid off.  I went from not caring and just wanting it to be over to this:



And then to this:



And finally to this:



So.  In short.  Is it my favorite book?  Not even close.  Is it horrible:  Not really.  Will I read the second one:  Probably.

The end of the book has a fantastic pace, and if the author keeps the book on that pace for book 2 it should be a good read.  However, if she falls into the same slump she did with the vast majority of this book....




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