Audiobook Review: The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

Posted by Jessi (Geo) on November 17, 2014 | 3 Comments

Audiobook Review: The Darkest Minds by Alexandra BrackenThe Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
Series: The Darkest Minds #1
Published by Disney Hyperion (12.18.2012)
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Format: Audiobook, 488 pages
Length: 14 hours
Narrator: Amy McFadden
Source: I own it

5 Stars

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

The darkest minds tend to hide behind the most unlikely faces.

Why oh why did I wait so long to read this book?! I was afraid to pick it up because of the hype surrounding it. (I’m sure you all know by now that I tend to be the black sheep with those kind of books!) But I was pleasantly surprised!

The beginning was EPIC. The scene where the orange kid whispers in the PSF’s ear and the PSF lifts the gun and blows his (her?) brains out was crazy! I was 100% on board with the story after that scene. I can totally see this being a movie! (THIS NEEDS TO BE A MOVIE.) That scene and all of the scenes in Thurmond (glorified concentration camp) were cinematic and very vivid in my mind. Bracken’s world building rocked! The only complaint I have about it is that I would have liked to know more about IAAN (Idiopathic Adolescent Acute Neurodegeneration, aka Everhart’s Disease). How does it work? Where does it come from? Is it a toxin or a pathogen? What causes it? I would love to have had a brief description connecting it to the mental powers in kids. I would have also liked to know what year it is (I have this weird obsession with knowing the year in dystopian novels). There’s even one point where Ruby asks and all it says is “…once Liam had confirmed the year.” WHAT YEAR?! *rips hair out*

The idea was amazing and unique! I absolutely loved the significance of the colors in regards to abilities. They were never listed specifically, but I enjoyed finding out more about them and deciphering which color meant what. What I gathered: Blue is telekinesis; Red, pyrokinesis; Orange, telepathy/mind control; Yellow, electrokinesis (is that a word?); and Green, which was the hardest to figure out, but basically they were very smart and have minute mental powers. I loved meeting different kids with different color labels! (Random side note: I would totally want to be Blue. What color would you guys pick?!)

Other than the awesome premise, my favorite part about this book was the characters. I loved them! Ruby was a great lead, super easy to relate to. And she was bad ass when she had to be. We could totally be friends in real life! (Although she did kind of irritate me at one point…) Liam was a sweetheart and was totally swoon-worthy. Suzume, who didn’t speak, was adorable and I want to hug her. Chubs seems like a total ass at first, but he grows on you. He has good intentions, even if he’s rude sometimes. He’s just trying to protect the people he cares about. He actually ended up being my favorite character aside from Ruby!

View Spoiler »

There was a pretty big lull in the action in the middle of the book. At that point there was a lot of traveling and not much was happening. But it never got boring for me because I enjoyed the characterization so much! I cared about the characters enough to want to read more about them, even if it was just them being on the run.

So. The almost love triangle. I’m not gonna lie, it had me seriously worried there for a bit. I complained on Goodreads about it, and someone commented and said no, there wasn’t a love triangle. But as I kept reading, my mind was just like LIAR! THERE IS A LOVE TRIANGLE! Thank heavens it didn’t last. There’s really not an actual love triangle. I promise you! If you get to that point, and get discouraged (like I did), just keep reading. It will go away. And there’s good reason for what little bit there is. View Spoiler » Actually, I hated Clancy. I was so not onboard the Clancy train. He was just TOO perfect, TOO smooth, and he made me sick. During Ruby’s “lessons” with Clancy, I wanted to scratch his eyeballs out. AND I HAD NO IDEA WHY.

I only made it to 82% of the audio. Not that I didn’t like it, because I did – I was enjoying the book too much to wait! I ended up reading the rest myself just because the audio was moving too slow! I also needed reading material while waiting in line at YALLfest and I didn’t have my earbuds with me. Coincidentally, I finished this book while I was in the line for Alexandra Bracken! (Who I didn’t even get to see because I ran out of time, sadly. It sucked.)

AND THAT ENDING. OMG. View Spoiler » I kind of sat there in line for a moment, staring at the book like, “Did that really just happen?!?!” That broke my heart a little, not gonna lie…

The audio

I love love LOVED the narrator! She rocked my socks! Sometimes it’s awkward listening to an audiobook with a female narrator that tries to do male voices. (Actually, it’s worse when it’s a male doing female voices…) But it wasn’t weird when Amy did it, not to me at least. She was spot on when it came to accents, too! Her Latina and British accents, as well as the Southern drawls were perfect. I could always tell who was speaking, because her voice sounded different for each and every character! She also had the perfect amount of emotion and inflection, which made me connect to her in a way that I may not have if I was just reading. She did a fabulous job bringing the world to life!

Favorite quotes

“I miss that kid. He was smart. Knew how to use his powers – better than your pet, at least. Might as well send her back for all the good she’s going to do for you.” Greg nodded toward Zu, who was sitting with her back to us. And that was about as much as I could take. 
“You have two seconds to tell me you’re kidding,” I said, “or I’m punching you in the face.”

I could think of about a thousand things I missed while I was at Thurmond, but dresses were not on that list. My dad’s favorite story to tell strangers and indulgent relatives was the day he and Mom tried to button me up into a blue one for his birthday party when I was three. Because the buttons were so small and impossible for me to reach, I shredded the fabric by hand, bit by gauzy bit. I spent the rest of the party proudly parading around in Batman underwear.
She reminds me SO much of me!

Overall assessment

Plot: 4.5/5 
Premise: 5+/5 
Writing style: 4.5/5 
Originality: 5/5 
Characters: 5/5 
World-building: 4.5/5 
Pace: 4.5/5 
Feels: 4.5/5 
Narration: 5+/5 
Cover: 5/5 
Overall rating: 5+/5


Jessi (Geo)

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