Running Away in The Darkest Minds

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken



Genre: Young Adult, Dystopia
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Published: December 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins Australia
Pages: 488 {paperback}

Originally posted on Goodreads

This review is spoiler free UNTIL I state otherwise

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Initial Thoughts Upon Finishing

GOOD GOD, I am destroyed right now. I cannot express how STUNNED I am by that ending and by how much I need the next book to know what happens next. Bracken has quite literally just destroyed my soul. I don’t know how I’m going to read another book. I think I just need to curl up into a little ball and die for a bit. Be right back.


The Darkest Minds

So after many hours of tossing and turning because I could do nothing but go over this in my mind, I’ve decided that this has to be one of the best Dystopians books I’ve read. I’m seriously not kidding. The combination of just a damn cool plot and characters that I want to steal made this as awesome as Christmas cake (Christmas has been on my mind lately, alright?).>

If this book had hair, it’d ruffle in the wind as awesomely as this

The book follows a girl called Ruby. A disease hits America (and possibly other parts of the world? We don’t know) and kids just DIE. Like, left right and centre – boom – another one. I feel like you need to start this book whilst jamming out to Another One Bites the Dust. There are an insane amount of children who die from this disease-like thing but the few who survive change when they hit puberty. *dramatic music*

These kids freak the adults out because they get powers. THAT’S RIGHT, MY FRIENDS. I got very excited about this. There are different categories of powers you can get and the adults sweep up all the kids and put them in glorified concentration camps. It’s awful. They use this sound wave thing to completely disable (temporarily) the children if they need to control anyone for any reason. Which is horrific – and I kept getting that image of Ruby collapsing stuck in my mind, so here’s a little doodle sketch by yours truly:

This is my artwork, please don’t steal it.

The children are mistreated, certain factions disappear, and they live in constant fear. Clearly, the adults just have no idea what to do with them but are terrified of what the kids can do – especially as some of them have psychic powers, *shudders*. To be fair, some of them do some horrific things.

Like stealing cookies, for example (I’m kidding)

Ruby has a secret. She’s classified as a green but in reality she’s more than that. There are things she can do that she can’t control and they scare her. It’s heart-breaking, and it’ll have you on the edge of you seat.

The story follows Ruby as she is broken out of her camp and tries to work out what the hell has happened, seeing as she went into the camp at 10 and is now 16, and tries to find people she can trust. And also work out where is safe (nowhere). We meet some great characters on the way and this is just an absolute must-read for fans of dystopian books. A MUST-READ, I SAY.

I also might have freaked out just a little when I got to this quote (because I see it everywhere and suddenly I went OH MY GOD, IT’S FROM THIS BOOK):

“Time to carpe the hell out of this diem.”

Dystopian Heaven

I adored the set up of this book. I loved how it was kids against adults in a unique way. The dystopian elements weren’t just adults being idiots and making rules so that one guy can sit comfortably in his mansion – no. These rules were there because the adults don’t know how to control it. Some parents love their children and want them back – others gave them up to the authorities because they were scared of what their kids can do.

But, can you even imagine what the world would be like if this actually happened? If around 98% of children just DIED. And then the rest got powers? That is truly terrifying. You can’t blame the adults really but wow, I think it’s sad to think of a world that’s missing an entire generation. Sheesh.

I thought the little gang that Ruby spends most of her time with in this book managed to get by really quite well. I loved the dynamics of the group and so much more – but I’ll get to them in a sec. I think this would make the most awesome TV show or movie adaptation because ARGH – the setting is amazing. All those ghosts towns, badass fighting, and let’s not forget that Lee does some extraordinarily extreme driving. Someone could make a theme park ride out of that and call it “Drive with Lee” – or perhaps something that’s actually catchy. ANYWAY.

Delicious Characters

The characters were, by far, one of the most spectacular aspects of this book. We see everything through Ruby’s eyes and that gives us quite a unique perspective. She’s incredibly introvert at the beginning because of the ridiculous situation she’s been put through. We empathise with her struggle to communicate with people and are constantly reminded by how she just doesn’t have the skill set to communicate with others – especially boys, seeing as she’s been segregated by gender for so long.

On top of this, she’s not spoken to anyone for about a year. Literally. Because of The Incident (as I’m going to call it to avoid spoilers). I loved how the camaraderie of Chubs and Lee (and even Zu, I supposed) helped break down those inner walls that Ruby had built and began turning her into a proper human being.

Lee, oh my god, Lee needs to climb back down the sexy ladder because his plucky attitude and squeeze-able-ness WAS TOO MUCH TO HANDLE. He is a perfect human being dealing with a lot of stuff. Can somebody please give him a hug before we all combust? I loved how he treated Ruby and I love how their friendship . . . developed. This really is just the best self-discovery journey. Of ever.

Me, whenever Lee talks

And Now, Spoiler Talk

Which means if you haven’t read this book DON’T READ THIS SECTION

I loved the romance between those two. I can’t believe how gorgeous it was. They were absolutely perfect for each other because they’re both so broken on the inside (although they are NOT broken in anyway, according to Lee). I loved that whenever Ruby touched Lee she never accidentally erased his memories but DEAR LORD – that moment when he plays that trick and is like hi I’m Liam who are you? And doesn’t realise what he’s said, just ARGH. I died right alongside Ruby in that moment. Bursting into tears and falling into his arms was 100% the correct thing to do.

I also think we all need some fanfic between Lee and Chubs.

Speaking of – CHUBS BETTER NOT BE DEAD. I do not know what I’m going to do with my life if Chubs has died. I think he hasn’t, otherwise he would’ve been given a hero’s death? Surely?

And Zu better be okay too. Because if she’s not then this is going to be Rue (is that how her name’s spelt? The little girl from The Hunger Games?) all over again and I can’t deal.


I HATED Clancy. Oh wow, I think this might be my new character who I hate more than anything. He was a manipulative bastard, excuse my French. It made me sick how jealous he got and the way he treated Ruby. Not to mention the fact that he practically raped her. Somebody give me a fry pan to beat this guy up with.

I would like to take one moment to firstly appreciate that there is officially no more BS from Cate. She’s evil, she’s using Ruby, and I like that she’s not sugar coating things anymore. And I love that Ruby has intimidated her and dealt with the other Orange she was originally captured with. BUT WHY OH WHY DID SHE REMOVE LEE’S MEMORIES. I’M NOT OKAY. SOMEBODY HOLD ME. I will not be okay with this for all eternity and I need to read the rest of the series to find some peace and know that everything’s going to be okay. My poor little babies being forced to do things they don’t want to (like become evil and remove their love’s memories), *screams into pillow*.


This is my new favourite dystopian book. This is my new favourite heartbreak. I NEED MORE BRACKEN IN MY LIFE. I can’t believe I’ve waited so long to read this – why isn’t everyone screaming on the internet about it?! If you haven’t read this then by golly gosh go and read it, you’re missing out. This is so ridiculously good and my heart is so ridiculously broken. Excuse me whilst I splurge and go and by the whole series right now. I need answers. And possibly some chocolate.

“The darkest minds tend to hide behind the most unlikely faces.”
Bring on book two

View all my reviews



 You might also like . . .

If you somehow haven’t read it, YOU WILL LOVE THE HUNGER GAMES.

If you love children dealing with extreme dystopian settings, After the End is for you.

If you like adults controlling children and then children rebelling, Delirium is for you. Just don’t blame me if you hate the ending of the series. 

 Have you read this book?

Share your thoughts below!

End Note

~~ Kirstie ~~

9 thoughts on “Running Away in The Darkest Minds

  1. I loved reading your review! The Darkest Minds is one of my all time favorites, so seeing your five star review just made me giddy lol 😉 So glad you enjoyed it!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Loved this review!! I’m so happy you loved this book. It’s seriously so amazing. I loved the relationship between Ruby, Liam, Chubs & Zu. One of the things I love most about this is that even though it’s a dystopian/sci-fi the characters are all so real and human. Just wait until you read the rest of the series. Better have some tissues ready 😅

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! YAS – I need more ASAP! (I’m going to the bookstore soon to grab a copy of A Torch Against the Night and I reckon I might get the rest of this series . . .) *prepares to have mind blown*


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