Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Darkest Minds May Never Fade

"The Darkest Minds tend to hide behind the most unlikely faces."
--Alexandra Bracken, The Darkest Minds

Genre: YA Dystopia
Publisher: Disney Hyperion, 488 pages
Publication Date: December 18th, 2012
Source: Borrowed from Library

Goodreads Description

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 gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.

When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who 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. But there are other forces at work, 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 a life worth living.

My Thoughts

So I went into The Darkest Minds with a high expectation. I’ve heard a lot of great things about this book and then I find out it’s dystopia?! Oh hell yes. I am always down for a good and messed up future. However, to be honest, overall this book fell flat for me.

The beginning of the book really did grab my attention. Kids with these supernatural powers divided up by color based on their abilities. The camp concept was both heart-breaking and extremely interesting to read about. I loved the entire first maybe 80 pages. We get a break-out (sweet) and then I got a big lull. I am not a fan of road trip books and that is what this book came to be for me. The repetitive wander-find danger-neutralize danger-escape repeat cycle got a little old to me. I will say though that where our characters end up after wandering was, again, where the book picked back up for me. So in the sandwich of this story, loved the bread, but the meat was dry.

The characters, however, is what kept me reading. Ruby is a fantastic leading lady. Broken, fragile, but continues to fight like hell to stay alive. Gotta give her mad props for that. Her ability to embrace others and take care of them is both beautiful and surprising after all she has been through. The dynamics between the characters and their relationship development was my favorite aspect of the story. If I didn’t have these amazing characters to emotionally attach to, I would have liked this book a lot less. These characters drove the story for me and I was pulling for them the entire way through. The relationship and romance of Liam and Ruby was pretty amazing. I loved the progression and how much they looked out for one another and took care of each other. I definitely swooned for these two.

While I loved the idea of a disease wiping out a massive amount of the population and kids getting cool abilities, the world building beyond that also didn’t really do it for me. I was confused a lot of the book. I get the camps. I get the economic crash. I get the segregation and oppression of the children due to fear. I love all this. What totally had me scratching my head was the constant thought of ‘Where the hell is everybody?’ I get that people were forced out of their homes due to lack of money and no jobs but where is everyone?! These kids drove around what was described as a deserted wasteland of what was formerly the East Coast. I don’t get it. They were in such fear of being caught…but nobody was around. Where did all these people go? I had a really hard time trying to grasp where the rest of the country went.

The book was meh for me overall. I loved the characters, I definitely had the feels for the relationship aspect of the story. The ending, because it had to do with the characters, was definitely a cliff-hangar and totally surprising. Broke me a little bit. I wanted to like this more but it didn’t have a Wow-factor for me. Sad.

Should You Read This? Probably. I know a lot of people LOVE this book but for me it just fell flat. If you love dystopia then give it a chance, if you’re looking to get into dystopia I can give you a few other recs that might blow your mind.

"I didn’t need to be liked, or wanted, or cared for—I didn’t need friends."
--Alexandra Bracken, Never Fade

Genre: YA Dystopia
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion, 512 pages
Publication Date: October 15th, 2013
Source: eARC provided by publisher via NetGalley
Previous Books in Series: The Darkest Minds

Goodreads Description

Ruby never asked for the abilities that almost cost her her life. Now she must call upon them on a daily basis, leading dangerous missions to bring down a corrupt government and breaking into the minds of her enemies. Other kids in the Children’s League call Ruby “Leader”, but she knows what she really is: a monster.

When 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 flashdrive in the hands of Liam Stewart, the boy Ruby once believed was her future—and who now wouldn’t recognize her.

As Ruby sets out across a desperate, lawless country to find Liam—and answers about the catastrophe that has ripped both her life and America apart—she is torn between old friends and the promise she made to serve the League. Ruby will do anything to protect the people she loves. But what if winning the war means losing herself?

My Thoughts


So, I hate to say this, but unfortunately Never Fade did not ignite my passion for this series. And in my opinion, I feel like it suffers from Second Book Syndrome. I was really hoping that this book progressed and made me really love this series. But, again, it fell flat for me. Guys, is something wrong with me?! I feel like the crazy person in the room here.

What, you may ask, didn’t work for me? Again. Road trip style. Honestly, I felt like nothing progressed in the overall plot of this world until the last 10% of the book. I still have no idea how people that aren’t children in camps live. I have no idea what the end game is of anybody except Ruby. Her desire to break out all the kids in the camps is wonderful and the only thing I really have to go on. The entire middle of the book was just another drawn out repetition of action.

That’s another thing that didn’t work. My favorite parts of this story are the characters and their relationships and developments. I felt like we really lacked that in this book. There was so much action and description and not nearly enough dialogue. I felt bored for most of the story and all I wanted was more Ruby and Liam and Chubs. But I WILL say this. The interaction I did get was, of course, beautiful. I love these three characters. Just adore. Best part of the story.

I did like the addition of the other characters. I, again, loved the last 10% of the book. The rest was just pretty dull for me with the exception of the character development. This makes me sad. I really wanted to love this. While I will read the last book for resolution, alas, just not for me.

Should You Read This? Yes and no. I think this is a case of it’s not the book it’s me. I just didn’t feel the world building or plot development. The characters, however, make the book worth it. 


  1. Awww, I'm so sad you didn't love it! :( I so adored The Darkest Minds and am excited to pick Never Fade upsoon.... I hope your next read will work better for you!

  2. Loved The Darkest Minds. I have an ARC of Never Fade. I plan on starting it this week, after I finish up two beta reads and a review!

  3. Ugh oh. So I liked The Darkest Minds but I felt similar to you such that the middle of the book lagged. But the concept was really interesting and I liked the characters. I haven't heard too much about Never Fade but what I have heard was overwhelmingly positive so far. I think my feelings are going to more closely align with yours however. So I am glad my expectations are lowered somewhat. I guess we'll find out soon enough. I'll be reading Never Fade very shortly. Great reviews!

  4. Awww! I absolutely loved The Darkest Minds but I'm so sad to hear that Never Fade has second book syndrome. I think I'll still read it because I need to see it for myself but great review! I will now be cautious going into Never Fade :)


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