[466]: The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

DSC_0756GOODREADS SUMMARY | Disney Hyperion | Hardcover,
488 pages | December 18th, 2012 | Young Adult Paranormal |
Rating: 1 out of 5 Stars

Children of the corn.

When Ruby was ten years old, her powers manifested in a way that  earned her a stint at Thurmond; a rehabilitation camp for children meant to stabilize their powers so that they can get back to living with the society.  But what the parents didn’t know was exactly what kind of “rehab” the children are put through in the camps. For six years, she saw oppression and abuse in the hands of Psi Special Forces. She laid low, spoke very little, and tried to hide the scope of her abilities. Because for someone with her kind of power, it means ultimate death.

Shades of superpowers.

Their powers are classified into colours: red, being the most powerful and the rarest. Ruby is an orange; someone whose abilities derive on mind control and the power of suggestion. Blue are telekinetic; yellow can start fires; and green being the lowest grade. During classification, Ruby managed to evade certain death, as all reds and oranges are being destroyed. Through power of suggestion, she was able to convince the presiding scientist that she was  a green. When they develop a system that seeks out all the remaining orange, Ruby’s powers were discovered.

Fasten your seat belts.

As many dystopian novels that have come our way, we’ll see Ruby  on a  journey through most of the story. She’ll come across three kids that had managed to escape their camp through their leader’s relentless ingenuity. We’ll meet a token love interest, his mistrusting sidekick, and an adorable but broken mute girl. Along the way, they’ll evade numerous attempts of detainment from three forces: Psi Special Forces, The Children’s League, and Skip tracers. This is one of the reasons why boredom will never be a factor when you read this book.

Their goal was to find Slip Kid. This– almost mythological creature that can find a way to transmit, retrieve and pass on a message to those parents who still have hopes of reuniting with their brood.

The world building is a bit unclear. In some parts, we see the usual destruction brought on by desperation, and in others, we still see echoes of a somewhat orderly civilization. The most baffling of all was a Walmart that was still stocked with food, clothing and supplies on the shelves. In the beginning, we’re told that the world almost succumbed to the loss of humanity, and yet they can still find pockets of what life used to be.

The painful last quarter.


Way to ruin a perfectly good book. Needless to say, I will not be continuing on with this series. It doesn’t matter how well written a book is. For me, love triangles nullify every single good thing about the story. It is not an enjoyable trope, and it does not enhance the human elements in a book.  A female character fighting her feelings for two boys shows weakness, and inability to listen to the dictates of her heart. It is wholly unnecessary, and an unforgivable faux pas.

I hope you don’t think me as one that’s hard to please, but it’s hard not to feel anything else with books that betray me so sharply. Yes, I take everything personally; most especially from books that had me enthralled into complacency, only to drop the proverbial anvil in the end. That’s why I have trust issues, you know?

Arguably, such an adverse reaction is better than apathy. Because then the book would at least remain remarkable to me, albeit for the wrong reasons.

I bought the third book before I finished this one. So I now own the trilogy that will remain unread in my shelves. I’m such an idiot.

  • Hah so following my comment on your last post and how I said my ratings probably skewed higher (on average) than my true feelings, I went back to check what I had rated this book (and Never Fade) and I think they were skewed too high. Although the interesting thing is that my reviews accurately portray how I felt they just didn’t really match up with my star rating. Anyway, a problem for another day….

    I did still like this one more than you – I liked the super power premise but I am not a huge on-the-road-storyline fan and so this one didn’t totally pull me in. I liked the second book better – it was definitely more exciting – but still didn’t love it. I have the last one from the library and hope to finish this series and call it a day but it isn’t a must read at the moment so it’s possible it will go back unread. Truthfully, i don’t think you are missing much by not finishing this series (at least that’s my opinion after 2 books).

  • Joy did you know that I just bought this book! I’m reading mixed reviews for this book, it’s either a hit or a miss. I’m sorry this book didn’t work out well, since I have the first book I might as well try it for myself.
    Have a great week Joy!

    Happy Reading~ ^^


    ~ Jay @ We Fancy Books

    • Oh boy. I hope you’ll have a better time at it, Jay. 🙁

  • Oh, I am sorry you disliked this one so much 🙁 I am someone who doesn’t mind a love triangle… as long as it is written well and has a reason for being there. I am not sure how it was posed in this case, but you didn’t like it at all 🙁 It sounds like a decent book, that aside, though. I have seen a lot of reviews for it and the series, but have been avoiding it because it doesn’t seem like something amazing enough for me to pick up.

    • Oddly, it does. If the love triangle wasn’t a part of the equation, this would’ve been a solid 4 stars, for sure.

  • I’m not a huge fan of YA, but you caught my attention with Children of the Corn. Then I kept reading. Well, at least I won’t waste my time, and thank you for that. I really don’t understand why every YA book has to have a love triangle?? Good luck with your next read.

    • Thanks, Melanie. It boggles the mind, for sure. It’s no fun reading about a waffling character.

  • Zoe

    Aww…I’m sorry this was such a disappointment for you Joy. 🙁 While I liked it more than you did, I do agree that the love triangle was completely unnecessary and poorly written. I struggle to understand why authors continue to use love triangles, even after they know they don’t do very well with readers. 😐 Thanks for sharing though and, as always, fabulous review! <3 Hope your next read is better.

    • Thank you, Zoe. I’m glad you had better luck than I did. And I hear ya, about the love triangle. Why do they keep beating on the same drums? Grrrr.

  • I know how it feels – buying the whole series and ended up not finishing it anymore. I have 3 series now that I don’t think I will be finishing any time soon. Maybe in a couple more years? I wanna give them away but I’m the type of person who loves seeing books in my bedroom even if I’m not reading them. But I guess I’ll give these series another go but not just now.

    I have read The Darkest Minds too and I have high expectation on that book so I bought a hardbound. I saw the rating in Goodreads and once again, I was disappointed over this hyped book. The character reminds me of Juliette from Shatter Me series. The story went a lot like Shatter Me too. It took me three times to finish this series because it was so boring! I actually didn’t find anything interesting with the book. It was predictable too.

    I don’t mind love triangles as long as it’s not the whole focus of the book.

    • Shatter Me is the ultimate Benedict Arnold in my book. So this book is lucky my abhorrence didn’t quite reach that height. *shakes fist*

  • Not the love triangle!!! Ugh, I’m getting sick of those.:(
    I’m sorry to hear that you didn’t enjoy this book more.
    Great review!

    • Me too. From now on, I’m going to have to establish a better filtration system for books like these.

  • Oh no, another pointless love triangle! Why do authors feel the need to force a love triangle into a book? It is extremely irritating! I really hope you read a good book soon. :]

    • Right? I mean, seriously. Enough. I realize that I have no right to tell them to stop, so I’m going to have to make sure but any books with this type of idiocy doesn’t make it to my TBR. Save myself the headache.

  • Sorry to hear that the romance did it in for you

  • I so hate when a really good book is ruined by some stupid love triangle! Ugh, why do people think a book always need a love triangle to be worth anything? Most of the time, it’s the opposite that counts!
    I’m sorry you read so many non-amazing books lately xD
    Try ‘Room’ by Emma Donoghue. That’s the book I’m always trying to get more people to read.

    – Love, Felicia
    ( http://asillygirlsthoughts.weebly.com/ )

    • I really should try Room. I’ve seen some fantastic reviews about that book. And I concur, love triangles are pointless. Grrr.

  • Christy

    Okay, I’m starting to feel really bad for you. Your reading lately is not meshing with your blog name. lol. Seriously, we need to get you back on cloud nine with a knock your socks off book. Have you tried You by Caroline Kapnes yet? I’m obsessed with it and it would be something fresh. But … if you don’t like it, I might jump off a cliff. 😉

    • Lmao! I should just rename my blog to Debbie Downer Demolishes Books. I think at this point, it would be more appropriate. 😀 And please don’t jump off a cliff. I don’t like cleaning messy things.

      Thanks, Christy.

  • Oh I’m sorry it wasn’t for you. I was really curious about it because I saw great things about the book but now I’m not so sure… I won’t be as pressed to read it. Hope your next read is better…

    • In fairness, the book was great 75% of the time. If you don’t mind that pesky wishy-washy character, you might just enjoy this one, Melliane. It had such great bones.

  • Oh no, I’m so sorry you didn’t enjoy this one Joy. I love the series, but I’m partial to anything dystopian really. The love triangle, it’s bullshit in any book and this one wasn’t any different sadly. I couldn’t agree more. I don;t understand what the allure of the extra potential love interest is, is it that authors believe we’ll invest in the storyline to see who he / she winds up with? Even teens wouldn’t be too thrilled with it being flogged in almost every YA.

    Maybe pop them on eBay Joy and recoup some of what you spent.
    I hope your next read is phenomenal. Brilliant review Joy, loved it! <3

    • My point exactly! YA is apparently a population of undecided, love-troubled teens. I’m so sick of it. And like I said, it shows an otherwise strong character in a not-so strong light.

  • I cannot agree with you more; great point lady. Although the love triangle ruined the first book for me, I did eventually continue on with the series. Let’s just say, in my opinion, you’re not missing all that much. The second book was a lot better, but the third was a complete let down for me. You’re not missing much! Great, detailed review!

    • I’m so glad! At this point, I just don’t see myself having the initiative to continue on. I’m also glad that your experience with the first book didn’t deter you from the rest. 😀

  • Hmm, interesting. I hate a sloppy love triangle, but they’ve been done well in enough books that they’re not an insta-book ruiner for me. But I do admit that more likely than not, the triangles tend to be way too tropey.

    • Nothing sloppy about this love triangle. It was just unnecessary, in my opinion. And yes, you’re right. This trope needs to die a thousand deaths.

  • I kind of vaguely remember the love triangle, but wasn’t it resolved by the end? I found the book to be too long and definitely needed a lot of tightening up, but the writing was good. I haven’t continued with the series though…but that ending. It truly killed me a little inside. 🙁 Sorry you didn’t enjoy it Joy, hope your next one is much better!

    • Yes. But at that point, I was done. Like I said, it ruins an otherwise good read. I really enjoyed 75% of the book.

  • Whatttt I didn’t know there was a love triangle in this one. Bleh. I don’t mind them that much unless they are really, really, really, really annoying. I’m sad you didn’t like this one though Joy! I hope your next read is better! I still think I’m going to pick this series up one day (like a year from now…) so I hope I have a better reading experience.

    • Hahahah! Probably not going to happen, Val. I’m an unforgiving reader, unfortunately. 🙁

  • Hah! I love your review Joy. <3 Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts about this book ;p I must be honest and say that I don't even remember the love triangle you mention, lol. I must have really hated this book. As I only remember really small pieces of it. (I did rate it 2 stars, but considering I remember nothing, probably one star for me too :p) But anyway. YAY for us both hating a book, lol 😀 I do own the whole trilogy too, though. Hmph. Thinking I have to get rid of them ;p You are awesome 🙂

  • I’ve had a copy of this sitting on my shelf since before its release and have never picked it up. I really agree with you about love triangles. Though one has never killed a book for me before (and I’m not even that sensitive to them in books in general), I don’t like the whole idea that a character really can’t understand their feelings or won’t own up to them and stop stringing someone along.

    I really hope your next book is a good one!

    • Yes! Thank you. In this book’s defence, she wasn’t able to do much of that. I just didn’t like how the author conveniently made the other boy sooooooo busy that he’s not in the picture for most of the last quarter of the book. So that paved the way for the girl to start thinking about how handsomeeee the other boy is. And that’s the most annoying part! Ugh.

  • I’m so sorry that you weren’t able to enjoy this book Joy, I ended up really liking it, but that introduction of that love triangle did have me miffed, as I always knew that our main characters were perfect for one another 🙁 I hope the next book you pick up is a lot more enjoyable!

    • Thanks, Jas. I’m glad that it worked out for you. I didn’t have much of a patience after that trope was introduced.

  • Heck you could give away your unwanted copies. Or swap them with another blogger! That’s happened to me before – I got so excited once over Terry Brooks Shanar series and bought the whole thing and read the first book and couldn’t force myself to continue for some reason (I completely forget why it was like 13 years ago lol) But I’ve still made and make the same mistake to this day.

    I’m always open for swapping!

    • I would, but this one is going in a giveaway pile. But if you see anything you like on my Hoarders posts, feel free to let me know. Let’s talk. 🙂

  • Eileen @ BookCatPin

    Oh noooo, I have the second and third book and was hoping to get the first one over Christmas! Darn. I never heard any mention of this love triangle 🙁 I still want to give this series a try and at least the books will look pretty on my shelf loll~

    • Have you read this one? If not, why do you have the second and third but not the first?! lol. Anyway, I hope you’ll have better luck, Eillen. 🙂

  • Oh shit! Love triangle?!?! Hell no!

    I’m glad I got this one FREE over at Amazon, you should trade in your copy.

    • Good luck, Braine. I did enjoy the majority of this book. The fat lady sang as soon as that love triangle was introduced.

  • Well crap, I own all of these as well, I hate it when I buy a whole series and then it turns out to be crappy. Sorry you didn’t like this better. I will keep my fingers crossed that I do.

    • Hey Ali. I think you should still give it a chance, because the majority of the first book was really engaging. But I really have no patience with love triangles. So, yeah.

  • I’m sorry you had another unpleasant read :(. Hopefully you will find a book to love soon!

    I read this book about 2 years ago, and I remember nothing. At the time, I gave it 4 stars (I believe) and I know I was displeased with the love-triangle as well but figured that since I enjoyed most of it, I might as well give it a positive rating.

    You know… it would be a great idea if libraries would accept books in exchange for fines. I would feel way less guilty :P.

    PS: This is another book that I find is unnecessarily lengthy. WHY are books so long these days? I don’t mind if the information is relevant. But a lot of the time, I find that so many parts can be axed and it wouldn’t affect the story at all. It almost seems like authors are getting more grandiose about their own world/writing.

    • Isn’t it, though?! The suspense of the Slip Kid’s identity was overwrought, I thought. Not so much unnecessary, but it was spread thin. Too much time traveling, as well.

  • Not an idiot! I bet your local library would like the donation! That’s typically what I do when I wind up buying a book I dislike. (I wish it went towards fines.)

    For me too, I liked this book up until the late middle/ending. The love triangle was a big part of my distaste, as well. Your words — “A female character fighting her feelings for two boys shows weakness, and inability to listen to the dictates of her heart.” — says it perfectly. Most love triangles are such a contrivance and reduce characters into cardboard.

    Great, well-thought review, as usual!

    (PS) I’m reading The Dinner right now. So far, I love it. But, I did see on another site that you loathed Wuthering Heights, and I loved that book. I think I have an appetite for dreadful characters. But, I am keeping in mind your words about the lack of detail concerning more important (or what should have been more important) matters in the book, and I’m looking out for that.

    • Oh Ellen. You’re a sucker for punishment. Kidding. I can see how you would love The Dinner. But I really can’t empathize with a character who showed no remorse for the acts that they’ve done. And that’s basically what my problem was with Paul, et al. He was a remote, cold narrator, yanno?