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THE DARKEST MINDS (THE DARKEST MINDS #1) - ALEXANDRA BRACKEN

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something frightening enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that got her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that had killed most of America’s children, but she and the others emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they could not control.
Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. Now on the run, there are people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at having a life worth living. 

An apocalyptic setting, children with superhuman abilities, a corrupt government, a growing rebellion and a fiery girl searching for answers; there is not much that this book does not have – except perhaps dragons and a daring swordfight.  I first read this book when I was in grade 9 but decided to pick it up again to see why I loved it so much and I was not disappointed – I can honestly say that it is even better than I remember it being.  This book kept me wanting more, jumping straight into the action and never letting up.  

First of all, Alexandra Bracken deserves a medal for her characters, each of them unique yet relatable in their own ways, rich with real emotion.  I love Ruby’s spunk and determination while she struggles to control her own powers and protect those that she cares for.  Her development throughout the novel is notable but genuine and her character is one that most can relate to and sympathise with.  She is tough and kick-ass but she has a big heart.

Then there is Liam *swoons a little*.  Liam is not your typical YA love interest, he is sweet and kind and cares a hell of a lot about those in his charge.  His warmth and humility draws people to him and makes him loved by all, including me.  He does not need to be dark and brooding to be interesting.  He is probably one of the best male characters I have ever known.  He is so darn cute!  Liam’s personality had me gushing from the get-go.  His positivity and boyish mannerisms manage to lighten even the heaviest of atmospheres – unless a crying girl is involved...



“When a girl cries, few things are more worthless than a boy.”


Charles Carrington Meriwether IV, better known by his companions as Chubs, is a half-blind, “stuck-up-know-it-all-with-a-heart-of-gold” who spends his nights dreaming about food.  He is the side-kick that deserves his own story and the lovable bestie that no one wants to let go of.  And, of course, Zu.  I just want to wrap her up in a bear hug and protect her from the world.  She is this adorable little girl who has been forced to grow up much too young.  Her story breaks my heart but she bears it without complaint.

Everything about the book just feels so real; the characters, the world, the relationships.  This and the heart-stopping action, toe-curling romance and downright devastating ending is what makes this book so great and so widely loved.

Word of warning: be sure to have the second installment at the ready.  I am still recovering from the heartbreak that is the ending of this book and my fingers are itching to get the next one and hopefully put my heart at ease.  Nothing is more traumatic than the cliff-hanger that ambushes you just when you feel the most secure.

A rollercoaster that crosses the boundaries of YA paranormal and dystopian, this is a must-read for all dystopian fans – and just about anyone else!


Rating 4/5



Pick up your own copy from Amazon or the Book Depository - I promise you won't regret it.

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