Content warnings: concentration camps, sexual harassment, torture, violence towards children, death
The Darkest Minds is set in our world, where a virus has taken over and killed the majority of children under the age of 18. The ones who have not been killed have developed powers which the political leaders find too scary to allow to be in the outside world so the kids are put into concentration camps. Our main character is sorted into the wrong group and she breaks out before she can be found out. She ends up finding a group of kids on the outside and finally feels safe with them.
I picked up this book at YALC as it came with a signed bookplate and I had planned on reading it before going to see the movie. And I did. But I still haven’t seen the movie as I never had the time. I’ve heard it’s not the best anyway.
What I really liked about this novel that compared to other YA dystopians it felt very present. It read like something that could happen at any time right now instead of a far-flung future. The threat of a virus is a constant in our lives and whilst the idea of powers in kids who survive is a lot more fantastical, I definitely believe if something like this did happen our world leaders would do something very similar. Which is just a little bit scary.
I struggled a little bit with the pacing of this novel. It was just a bit slow for the whole story. It took me a while to read it and I wasn’t addicted to it. But I can definitely understand why it was popular when dystopians were the trend, though I don’t think it was as popular in the UK because I only started to hear of it when I got into watching booktube.
This book is really sad when you sit and think about it, there’s all these kids who’ve died and the ones who survived don’t even get to live freely anymore. You don’t realise as you read it but afterwards, it does affect you a little bit. Bracken does a great job of breaking up the sad moments with a lot of humour filled moments which really helped with the mood I think.
On the whole if we’re comparing Bracken’s work then I’d say Passenger is a better book for me, however, this was published way before that so I would expect that. I would like to read the rest of this series and see the difference between the final book and The Darkest Legacy. It was left on a significantly large cliffhanger so I will be reading the next book for sure, but I won’t be jumping into it for a while as I feel like I need to build up to reading it.