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The Darkest Minds

Darkest Minds, Book 1
Written by: Alexandra Bracken
Narrated by: Amy McFadden
Length: 13 hrs and 56 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (101 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

When Ruby woke up on her 10th birthday, something about her had changed. Something frightening enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that got her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that had killed most of America’s children, but she and the others emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they could not control.

Now 16, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.

When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. She is on the run, 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. 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 having a life worth living.

©2012 Alexandra Bracken (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Story

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Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Riveting!

I really loved this book! The voices for each character were clear and precise. Can't wait to listen to the next book in the series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

I loved this book!

The story was great. The performance was really great too, I felt very invested in the book.
#audible1

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great story but slow moving.

I really liked the story but at times it was a little to poetic and therefore stalled the story. the characters were well developed and and the relationships were well written even if sometimes I wanted to slap Ruby for being so naive. Looking forward to seeing what happens next.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Where Did That Come From!

I like the mystery surrounding the different types of powers the children/kids have. They are all different in some way.
#Audible1

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

kids book

Couldn't do it..... probably great for pre teens and or teens in general.

Narrator is definitely queued into the 16 yr old girl roll.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Love at first character sighting

Was skeptical this book would live up to the hype and not fall prey to clichés but WOW it blew all my expectations out of the water Alexandra bracken has you falling in love with her characters at first glance and the narrator added so much his personality and heart to the characters that I actually cleaned my room just for an excuse to keep listening to this audiobook.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Sash & Em: A Tale of Two Bookies
  • 2013-08-06

Overall, I really enjoyed this thrilling book

Kids who have superpowers isn’t exactly a new concept in Young Adult (or in books in general for that matter) – but wow – was I pretty impressed with the execution of this book. I feel as thought Alexandra Bracken took the whole “superpowers are bad and the government is locking us away” and worked it into something that felt fresh. I was completely consumed in almost every single moment of this book – and that my friends, is a great thing – to be able to lose yourself in a book. I can’t quite put my finger on what it was about The Darkest Minds that made me love it so much but I think that the snarky dialogue had something to do with it. I love me some electric dialouge.

One thing that irked me though was the way that Ruby would describe some things. I can’t remember exact examples but sometimes when she would describe something, she would liken it to something that had me thinking “Hey wait a minute, if she’s been locked up since she was 10 years old with no interaction in the outside world plus she’s not really allowed to talk to anyone, how would she know about that?” Those kinds of thoughts pulled me out of the book and reminded me that I was actually reading a book – but thankfully it only happened 2-3 times.

For me, the most interesting thing about this book is how it shows both good and bad sides of human nature. We see people who are so selfless even in such a dire situation and we see people who are willing to sellout others in a heartbeat if it means surviving another day. It makes you think – what would you do? How far would you be willing to go to survive? And even, would you lead a revolution if it meant being killed? Thought provoking questions that make you take a look at yourself and wonder if your mind would be one of the darkest.

Overall, I really enjoyed this thrilling book and can’t wait to read its sequel, Never Fade.

63 of 67 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • bebe
  • 2016-03-16

Could have been a good book

Any additional comments?

I agree with other comments - Ruby got on my nerves. The storyline is interesting and could have supported a very good book, but Ruby, the heroine, got in the way. She is whiney, insecure and so concerned about doing the right thing that she does nothing - or the wrong thing. I have a mild interest in what happens to Chubs, Liam, Grant, Jr. and Joey, but I am not sure if I will listen to volume 2 in the series. I may be better off buying cheap second hand paper copies from Amazon and just spot read until the end - or do nothing. Really I don't care enough to make a decision either way at this time. Maybe the movie is better? Afterthought - maybe I think the character Ruby is whiney because the reader is whiney and overly dramatic. I was not very impressed with her. Finishing the series by reading the paperback books may be a really good option.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • R. Reed
  • 2018-05-19

Not Your Daughter's Heroine

Being 40 and male, I am probably not the perfect choice to critique this book (also, I am not an author so my opinion truly counts for nothing). However, I am a father of three girls so maybe what I have to say might be a little relevant.

I am an imperfect feminist. While I have my faults, I applaud and appreciate strong female characters and I seek them out in stories. Ruby, the main character in this story is not a strong female character. If my daughters behaved like her, I would be disappointed. She is not smart. She is not a leader. She is not skilled. There is nothing to like. Oh, but she is pretty.

How can a female author, at this critical point in time, have her lead character be so blah, so much like the female characters featured in the literature of the last two hundred years. It boogles the mind.

Ruby is a damsel in distress, waiting and relying on the wants and whims of her male companions. And the poorly done romance. I don't mind romance in my fiction but to have it be such a strong motivation, especially that of an abused teenage girl is just...bad. I don't give a crap how dreaming some guys eyes are, if one has spent the last five years in hell, pleasing a guy isn't and shouldn't be a priority. There's more to be said but I'll leave it at this; I hope the author gains more respect for her genders strength and Ruby becomes someone my daughters can use an example worth following.

38 of 41 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • ~Ali~
  • 2013-05-17

Much more than I expected!

Any additional comments?

The Darkest Minds was a much more emotional read for me than I initially expected. I went into it thinking it would be a X-Men type story full of action and excitement. What I found was something much more human. Alexandra Bracken evokes so many feelings throughout this book that you almost feel light headed at times.

I can't say what drove Ruby's parents to lock her in the garage and call the authorities to come pick her up. It would really be too spoilerish. But imagine this scenario, if you will. Children all over are hitting puberty and developing strange, powerful and sometimes deadly abilities. Maybe not the most unique idea, it's been done...but not quite like it has in The Darkest Minds. I digress. Parents are being conditioned to fear children and are told to turn them in for 'rehabilitation'. Not all parents go along with this idea, but most do.

Rehabilitation is really no more than imprisonment and the kids with the most dangerous abilities, coded by the colors 'Reds' and 'Oranges' , are quickly disappearing from these kiddy prison camps. When Ruby is picked up she manages to skate by and be coded as a 'Green', one of the least dangerous. However, eventually someone catches on and wants to use her abilities for their own profit and helps her leave the grand daddy of all camps. But Ruby escapes this second custody and hooks up with three other kids on the run. Liam, Chubs and Zu. Eventually, they find a haven for kids like them and a mastermind of an Orange named Clancy who wants to help Ruby develop her powers.

Ruby starts off as a fairly meek heroine. She hides behinds others and is terrified of herself. She eventually comes to use her powers when trying to protect others but still has this fear of them throughout the book. Towards the end I was mentally screaming at her to just let them loose already! Though, you absolutely have to feel for Ruby, she's spent six years at Camp Thurmond and knows really nothing of the outside world or human behavior. She's basically a ten year old in a sixteen year old body. Not to mention she is terrified to even touch anyone else because of her brains powerful ability to force its way into anyone's head and see all their memories, good or bad.

The relationships she slowly forms with Liam, Chubs, Zu and eventually Clancy change everything about Ruby and how she views herself and her life. She comes to realize that there are bigger threats than herself for those she cares about and they aren't all coming from obvious places. She learns how to love, how to be in control, how to be controlled and how much she is willing to sacrifice to protect others like her.

Now, there is some of X-Men type action, it's not chalked full of it, but there are some scenes and they are pretty fricking cool. I'm hoping for much more of them in the books to come, because they really are very exciting and kids kicking ass is just fun. There is also a large amount of humor. Liam and Chubs are both great characters with smart mouths and tender hearts. Zu is a total sweetheart that I dare anyone not to love.

The relationships in The Darkest Minds will tickle your heart, the action scenes will jump start it, the mystery and intrigue may cause it to skip a beat here and there and the ending will threaten to stop it for a second or two.

45 of 50 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Mean Jane
  • 2018-07-08

Awful, passive, spineless main character

Might be the book for you if you enjoy tension created by a character too afraid to speak. Too passive to help a friend in danger, attempt to save herself out of a prison camp, or use her powers. The book's main plot points are driven by misunderstanding and half heard conversations which lead to wrong conclusions.

Granted, the character does grow half-a-spine around mid book, but every time she's ever actively engaged in her own future... the plot punishes her for it. 3/4's in and I was so frustrated. I've never actually skipped to the end of a audiobook before, but the fact that I was able to leap through the last 4 chapters and still pick up the threads within 30 seconds shows there was zero forward momentum.

Finally, the writing style is not to my taste. The narrator waxes poetic about every scenery detail. Some people like it. Me? I'd rather not hear 3 pages worth of description about the state of an abandoned supermarket, complete with every metaphor man created. Some find it beautiful. I found it increasingly tedious. If the poetic descriptions were used sparingly I could have gotten onboard. This was major overkill.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Ruthy
  • 2016-01-26

Trite but entertaining despite the narrator

How could the performance have been better?

You know that snotty/angry tone that teenagers use when they say "whatever"? A large portion of the narration, especially any passages of exposition, is delivered in that tone. The first hour or so in and I was almost about to give up. But I am glad I didnt, as it was a very interesting story. I couldnt wait to find out what happened. Luckily, it seems like the narrator starts to soften or grow a little tired of her own delivery the farther into the book you get. Just a little.

Any additional comments?

Yeah, some elements are very unoriginal...the whole "teens in a dystopian world but with special powers who want to try to change things" bit has been done to death. And some of the inconsistencies kicked me out of the story. Abandoned stores, hotels and vehicles, empty highways...ok. Got the picture. But then at the same time, life is so normal that a way of contacting parents is to put an ad in a newspaper? Cause those are still up and running in this world where people take over empty hotels and raid WalMarts for supplies? But I cant lie. I was entertained and interested and I do plan to purchase the next book.

20 of 22 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Susan
  • 2013-12-16

Perfect Pairing of Story and Narrator

Any additional comments?

This book was compelling, masterfully written and beautifully narrated. Amy McFadden did an artful job of making the characters believable. I was inwardly cheering for the main characters as they tried desperately to find home.

If you are looking for a feel-good book, this is not the one for you. While it has moments, this book is a series of struggles and would not be the book I would choose for a lite read. With that said, it is well worth the credit.

Rarely do I find a book that evokes such a power emotion from me as the end of this book. While I did not agree with all the decisions that were made, I did find them all believable based on the characters development. And most importantly (to me), the author never dumbed down or over explained anything. As a reader, it is a pet peeve of mind to read something and assume, "this author thinks I am a moron." It was refreshing not to have one instance of that in this book.

Hopefully, there will be a sequel. I grew attached to the characters and would love to know what would happen next.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jan
  • 2013-12-28

Very Entertaining to listen to

Would you consider the audio edition of The Darkest Minds to be better than the print version?

Did not read the print.

What other book might you compare The Darkest Minds to and why?

Hunger Games. It was very sci-fi and leaves a lot to your imagination.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Robert Lalley
  • 2018-03-11

Amateur attempt at Hunger Games/ Divergent

Another teens with abilities book but pretty amateur overall. The characters were mildly compelling, but overall it was just a little more immature than the more successful counterparts in the genre.

Being from Virginia the geographic references were a nice additional nugget but really didnt matter and would be irrelevant to anyone unfamiliar with the geography.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Suzanne
  • 2016-02-14

Started out strong; faded

This book started out strong, but faded. It seems like it is trying to be an adolescent-targeted book, futuristic like the Divergent series, but pales in comparison. The main character is developed, but the supporting cast members are a little thin. I listened quite awhile after I was no longer enjoying the book, hoping it would get better. I finally gave up, which is very unusual - I usually force myself to listen to the end, but I was terribly bored by this average-or-slightly-less-than book.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Khalitirkai
  • 2018-07-22

Génial !

J’ai découvert la série Darkest Minds après avoir vu le trailer du film, je n’ai pas été déçu ! J’ai dévoré l’audio book en 2 jours ! Impossible d’attendre encore 1 mois pour le suivant je vais devoir céder !