The Darkest Minds (Review)

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

488 pages

Published in 2012

Purchased from Barnes and Noble

My rating:


“Imagine someone reaching straight into your chest, past the bones and blood and guts, and taking a nice firm hold on your spinal cord. Now imagine that they start shaking you so fast the world starts bulging and buckling under you. Imagine not being able to figure out later if the thought in your head is really yours or an unintentional keepsake from someone else’s mind. Imagine the guilt of knowing you saw someone’s deepest, darkest fear or secret…

And then imagine the soul-crushing migraine that follows, lasting anywhere between a few hours and a few days. That was what it was like. That was why I tried to avoid my mind so much as brushing up against someone else’s at all costs. I knew the consequences. All of them.

And now I knew for certain what would happen if they found me out.” (Bracken 47)

When the IAAN virus struck killing a large majority of America’s children, many of the remaining children suddenly developed strange powers. In an effort to contain these children and “treat” them while also keeping the rest of the country “safe”, the government locked all children between the ages of 10-16 in these treatment facilities (which are actually nothing more than work camps). The children in these camps are separated into colors according to their abilities: green and blue are the colors assigned to the children with the more mild powers, while oranges and reds are the most powerful and dangerous. Sixteen year old Ruby, the protagonist of this story, is an orange who has been secretly disguising herself as a green. With the help of the Children’s League, an anti-government group, Ruby escapes from one of these camps.  After quickly realizing that the League is not what it really seems, Ruby runs away and suddenly finds herself in the company of three other escapees. Together, they continue the (very real) struggle of trying to stay alive.

The Darkest Minds is a thrilling Dystopian novel. Fans of the Maximum Ride series will find similarities between the fast paced, action packed writing style of this book and that of James Patterson’s bestselling series. The story-line is interesting and exciting, and it keeps you on your toes. There is a large amount of tension throughout the novel, and Ruby, despite being the narrator of the novel, is pretty mysterious when it comes to her past.

The central characters of this novel are one of the biggest reasons this book is so good. Each of the four central characters have escaped from camps and have been through a similar hell . Liam, the leader of the trio which Ruby ultimately joins (and also the main love interest), is sweet, and somewhat naive (in an endearing way) when it comes to other people’s intentions and character. He’s always willing to put others’ needs ahead of his own, and this makes him a lovable character. Chubs is sassy, smart, and sensible. He’s not very welcoming to new situations or people, but slowly opens up to Ruby and befriends her. Zu, the youngest member of the group, is adorable and fun. Although she isn’t able to speak, she has no difficulty communicating with the rest of the group. Being the youngest, the rest of the group makes an effort to protect her as well as they can (though, that’s no small task given the fact that they are all constantly running for their lives). Meanwhile, Ruby is a great protagonist. She isn’t super strong, but she doesn’t give up and doesn’t go down without a fight. One of her main character traits is that she goes to great lengths to try to protect the people she cares about.

I honestly tried very hard to find something I didn’t like about this book, and there wasn’t much. Maybe one of the things that I noticed the most was that there isn’t a large amount of description when it comes to things like characters’ physical characteristics. There is enough to allow you to form an image of what the characters should look like, but not enough to form a very clear, vivid image. Also, while I did love this book, I wouldn’t say that it was original. A bunch of kids with special abilities trying to stay alive…nothing new or special (although I’ll admit, their powers are pretty cool). However, that doesn’t mean that this book isn’t worth reading. I certainly recommend it, and I’m definitely planning on reading the second book as The Darkest Minds ends on a big plot-twisty cliff hanger.

-Batool

Book Review: Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

I loved Ignite Me but I was not able to put my thoughts regarding this book into coherent sentences. Fortunately, this review by “The Book Belle” perfectly expresses how I felt about it!

The Book Belle

Image Just how beautiful is this cover?!

Ignite Me (Shatter Me #3) by Tahereh Mafi
Published February 4th 2014
HarperCollins
5/5 STARS

*REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS – READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!*

Juliette now knows she may be the only one who can stop the Reestablishment. But to take them down, she’ll need the help of the one person she never thought she could trust: Warner. And as they work together, Juliette will discover that everything she thought she knew – about Warner, her abilities, and even Adam – was wrong.

Well. Tahereh Mafi, you’ve done it again. Am I really surprised that I’m so blown away? Not at all. It was immediately after reading Shatter Me, the first book in the series, that I felt that familiar feeling – a certain rush that you get when you know that you’re falling in love with a book series. After reading…

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Ruin and Rising (a comprehensive analysis of my feels)

WARNING. BEFORE YOU SCROLL DOWN, THERE ARE HUGE SPOILERS IN THIS POST. I REPEAT, HUGE SPOILERS.

So, if you have visited my blog before, you have probably seen the review I have done for Ruin and Rising. I really applaud myself on managing to keep my cool long enough to write and post that review because, to be honest, I was emotionally wrecked after finishing that book. For this reason, I felt that simply doing a review would not be enough to express my true opinions and feelings about all of its characters and what happens to them.

You may be wondering how exactly this is different from my review. Well, first of all,  I make it a point not to post any spoilers in  my reviews. Here, on the other hand, there are super mega huge spoilers. Secondly, when I do reviews I try to look at the book from a more broad perspective. I won’t base my rating and review around how I feel about certain characters or how I feel about the protagonist’s decisions. Meanwhile, in posts like this one, I might end up hating on the protagonist and every one of the decisions she’s made throughout the book (especially regarding the love interests). Also, I may include a few photo edits that I made during the time when I was overwhelmed with emotion.

Without further ado, I present you with (drum-roll please)… a comprehensive analysis of my various feels regarding Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo!

ONE LAST TIME, I’D LIKE TO POINT OUT THAT THERE ARE HUMONGOUS SPOILERS IN THIS POST. READ AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION.

Alright, so first things first, I’d like to point out that I’m a huge Darkling fan. I was a religious Darklina shipper up until the end when I kind of questioned the Darkling’s sanity.

the darkling 1 edit

I loved his character because he was dark, mysterious, powerful, beautiful, and just amazing overall. Plus, I kind of have a thing for evil (or seemingly evil) characters. While many people abandoned the Darkling in favor of Mal (ew) after Shadow and Bone, I held onto the small sliver of hope that he would be able to redeem himself by the time book three came around. I was wrong. I think Leigh was doing all she could to make us hate the Darkling, because he seriously became pretty detestable towards the end of the series. He killed children and the elderly, he purposely hung people that Alina knew in places she would be sure to see them, and he continually tried to claim ownership of Alina and her powers on several occasions. Yet I still wanted things to turn out okay for him. You see, Leigh had my emotions all jumbled up because while she made him more loathsome, she also continued to reveal more and more about him that made him seem so much more human. Through Baghra’s storytime, and even her death scene, we learned more about the Darkling’s character, and we saw his vulnerable side.

the darkling 2 edit

Despite how much I liked the Darkling, I knew deep down inside that he was not right for Alina. I also knew that he had too much greed to be a good ruler. What I did not anticipate, however, was how painful his death scene was going to be.

The darkling 3 edit
Again, being the hopeful fool that I am, I still had hope that he would survive the third book. He did not. I’m not really going to dwell on this aspect of the book because I don’t think I can put how I felt into words. Let’s just say, I “lost my ability to even”.

the darkling 4 edit

The darkling 5 edit

Now moving away from one painful part of Ruin and Rising to another, let us talk about the ending. She chose Mal *insert grimace*. Like many other Darklina shippers, I decided that if the Darkling and Alina were not going to end up together, then the next best option would be Nickolai. I mean, he’s funny, he’s handsome, he’s sarcastic, and he’s the future king. BUT NO. I was truly upset about this because I felt that Alina would be the only person who truly understood Nickolai and how he feels with the darkness (courtesy of the Darkling) inside of him. Talk about disappointment. I do have to admit, though, that Mal seems to be the one that will make Alina the most happy in the long run. So, while it annoys me immensely, I grudgingly give Malina my blessings.

Now the last thing I want to talk about is the plot twist. MAL WAS THE LAST AMPLIFIER AND HE DIED. And then he (unfortunately) came back to life.  I’ll admit, that scene was very intense and I was totally absorbed by the book at that point, but I don’t understand. I don’t understand how Alina can go from being one of the most powerful people in the world (she was set to become queen!) to being just a regular person and not even care. She had SO MUCH POWER. And now she doesn’t. Was it really that simple for her? Did she not even care about it? Or was it a relief to not have that burden anymore? If I had to take a guess, I would probably say it was that last one. Yet, I can’t help but feel that someone who experienced so much adventure in their youth is going to be bored with a normal life like the one Alina and Mal plan to live.

Well, I guess I’m finished ranting. I just wanted to add, though, that this post in no way changes what I said in my review. I enjoyed Ruin and Rising and, like I said before, it was a great ending to an amazing trilogy. 🙂

-Batool