Sunday, March 12, 2017

REVIEW: The Darkest Minds Trilogy by Alexandra Bracken

Bracken''s Darkest Minds trilogy is a slightly futuristic dystopian adventure which supposes that a mysterious disease has killed most of America's children.  Ruby wakes up on her tenth birthday knowing that something about her is different. Something which frightens her parents to much that they lock her in the garage and then allow her to be taken to Thurmond, a brutal government "rehabilitation" camp along with thousands of other children.

We soon learn that those children do survive the disease develop extraordinary abilities (i.e. manipulating fire, electricity and minds and even super strength). The adults are terrified, eradicating many of the children deemed to much of a threat and isolating the other to live in terror. Ruby lies about her ability to manipulate minds; however, six years later she is given the opportunity to escape and join a rebel group. It is difficult for Ruby to decide who to trust

While on the run and desperate to find the only safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who have escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, 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. When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. Ruby is forced to make some hard choices that will eventually have significant consequences--namely forcing the boy she loves to forget he ever met her.

I enjoyed this first book.  The story is intriguing as is the character development if at times a bit predictable for the genre.  Great cliffhanger at the end.

Final rating:  4 out of 5 stars

In book 2, Ruby is entrusted with an explosive secret, she must embark on her most dangerous mission yet: leaving the Children’s League behind. Crucial information about the disease that killed most of America’s children—and turned Ruby and the others who lived into feared and hated outcasts—has survived every attempt to destroy it. But the truth is only saved in one place: a flash drive in the hands of Liam, the boy Ruby once believed was her future—and who now wouldn’t recognize her.
Needless to say this book is filled with tension of bittersweet reunions are lies are unraveled and relationships put to the test. I like some of the newly introduced characters (Jude) but felt like much of the narrative dragged in the middle.  The ending is another heartwrecher.

Final rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Ruby is among the kids who survived the government's attack on Los Angeles travel north to regroup. With them is a prisoner: Clancy Gray, son of the president, and one of the few people Ruby has encountered with abilities like hers. Only Ruby has any power over him, and just one slip could lead to Clancy wreaking havoc on their minds.

They are armed only with a volatile secret: proof of a government conspiracy to cover up the real cause of IAAN, the disease that has killed most of America's children and left Ruby and others like her with powers the government will kill to keep contained. But internal strife (namely tension between Liam and his older brother-in-charge Cole) may destroy their only chance to free the "rehabilitation camps" housing thousands of other Psi kids.

There is a lot of drama and planning that make up the crux of the narrative.  I found the ending a bit anticlimactic and still unsettling since having adults involved (even those on their "side) might still isolate children with abilities and create more problems rather than an environment of acceptance.  I did think that Ruby's final interaction with Clancy was fitting.

Final rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Overall, I recommend the series for readers who enjoy dystopian thrillers with adventure and romance.