The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds #1) by Alexandra Bracken – Review


Author: Alexandra Bracken

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Publication date: January 2, 2018

Pages: 488

Price: $11.99 (CAD) at Indigo Books & Music Online


Book one in the hit series that’s soon to be a major motion picture – now with a stunning new paperback look and exclusive bonus content!

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming 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 killed most of America’s children, but she and the others emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.

But when the truth about Ruby’s abilities-the truth she’s hidden from everyone, even the camp authorities-comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. On the run, she joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp: Zu, a young girl haunted by her past; Chubs, a standoffish brainiac; and Liam, their fearless leader, who is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.

While they journey to find the one safe haven left for kids like them-East River-they must evade their determined pursuers, including an organization that will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. But as they get closer to grasping the things they’ve dreamed of, Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living. -Goodreads

First Sentence

“When the White Noise went off, we were in the Garden, pulling weeds.”


Being one of the most notoriously known YA dystopian series, I knew I’d have to eventually pick up The Darkest Minds, except I had no idea it would be this soon and this fast. I can tell you right now that I am writing this review after binging the whole series, which means my thoughts are a little blurry on this first novel, but I will still write this review nonetheless.

I stumbled upon these books in one of Emma Giordano’s YouTube videos… I honestly forget what it was about, but then I realized they were making these books into movies, and I knew I’d have to read them if they were that widespread in the YA community. I ended up watching the movie first because it was there and I did not buy any of the books yet, and I was bored, so I watched it! It wasn’t that bad, it pushed me to hurry and read the books so I could find out what happens next though lol.

It took me two weeks to read the series, I took out The Darkest Minds as an ebook from my library and then waited four days for the ridiculously inexpensive box set to come in from the mail and read Never Fade, In the Afterlight, and Through the Dark as fast as my eyes would let me. I’d bring them to work with me to read during lunch break! I was utterly hooked for those two weeks!

The Darkest Minds was a good read because it was similar to all the OG dystopian YA series I read when I first started this craze, but it still had differences and twists that were totally uncalled for. I got Hunger Games and Divergent feels while reading this one! Something that was different than Divergent though, was the characters. Bracken delineates her characters in the utmost meticulous detail. I felt like I was there with those characters, that I was friends with them, whereas in Divergent, we could not really make any ties to the characters because they were so closed off and secretive. The Darkest Minds was riveting straight from the get-go, because on page one there is automatically some drama and suspense, the first line of the book made me ask questions! I like books that start straight to the action like that, it helps me get invested in the book faster than if it were just a plain old “once upon a time” or something of the sorts.

“They were never scared of the kids who might die, or the empty spaces they would leave behind. They were afraid of us-the ones who lived.”
― Alexandra Bracken, The Darkest Minds

At first, it was debatable as to if I liked Ruby’s character that much, I think it was just because we were firstly introduced to her in the camp so she was a little damaged and fragile, but when she’s hanging out with the gang later in Black Betty, I liked her character much better.

There were also times here and there where I thought the book took an unexpected dramatic turn for no reason, which made me loose a bit of interest in the novel itself because I was like “umm okay. Not that big of a deal there buddy, I think we can calm down a touch,” but other than that the only real problem I had was the length of the whole story… the novel was a total of 500-ish pages, and IT DID NOT NEED TO BE SO LONG! There were scenes that seemed to go absolutely nowhere and had no relevance to the main story line, we were dwelling on such small unimportant things, and it took them literally 250 pages to find the Slip Kid, they were mostly just driving around for 3/4 of the book – and I know that the drives in Black Betty are supposed to show the development of Ruby’s relationship with Liam, Chubs, and Zu, because she makes reference to it so many times in the following books, – and that made me loose a lot of interest as well because, I mean, they were just driving… like we had this super awesome action packed first quarter of the novel and now nothing is happening until they find East River…. I don’t know, I just thought it was a little tiring to read. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I feel like another thing I should quickly address is the freaking deal this box set was. I bought the four book box set off Indigo’s website for 29 dollars and yea they are just paperbacks but the quality of these paperbacks are outstanding. The spines don’t bend and the corners don’t fold and the book is super ploppy and I can’t remember the last time I had such nice paperbacks like this! You can also buy them individually for like ten bucks! Meanwhile, Casandra Clare is selling me 32$ hardcovers that you buy with an already cracked spine because it’s Cassandra Clare and it’s supposed to be worth it. I’m happy with my purchase of this box set even though it was in use for about a week… the books still look new even after I read them and the box set spells out “DARK” which is really spooky and neat!

“I’m a monster, you know. I’m one of the dangerous ones.
No you aren’t, he promised. Your one of us.”
― Alexandra Bracken, The Darkest Minds

Final Review/Recommendation


I give The Darkest Minds four out of five stars because I thought it lacked a bit plot-wise, there wasn’t much happening in the middle of the book that was really important, it was more like just a bunch of small events that were not really bringing us anywhere. Other than that, I thought this novel was really enjoyable and I loved the characters and the general idea of the book. It reminded me a lot of Red Queen, The Hunger Games, and The Divergent Series, so if you liked any of those series, this might be the next one for you!  The series is also really inexpensive so its perfect for a reader on a budget!

“The Darkest Minds tend to hide behind the most unlikely faces.”
― Alexandra Bracken, The Darkest Minds

Let me know what you thought of The Darkest Minds or my review!

Have an awesome day!

-Emma 🙂