Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Darkest Minds but Alexandra Bracken

Title: The Darkest Minds
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publication Date: December 18, 2012
Genre(s): Young Adult Dystopian
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 488

Source: Amazon

Goodreads | Amazon  | Book Depository

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.

Okay, I'm going to really try to get my thoughts across, but bear with me, because quite frankly, I'm not sure I can fully comprehend them myself ..

'The Darkest Minds' by Alexandra Bracken.
Personally, this book was a mass of really intriguing ideas and wonderfully realised characters, mixed with some disappointing execution and sub-par writing.

Firstly, and one of the predominant reasons for my indifference, is Alexandra Bracken's writing style. Honestly, I don't know if it was me, or the writing, but it just didn't gel with me; kinda rubbed me the wrong way. What I mean by that is, one minute I'd be so enthralled with what was happening and couldn't read fast enough, and then a few minutes later I'd be trying so hard not to fall asleep. I just found Bracken's writing style to be very inconsistent and incoherent at times, which is why I felt so indifferent toward the plot and the characters one minute, and then couldn't get enough the next. And that just frustrated me.

As a result of my disliking Bracken's writing, it took me a long time - and I mean a VERY long time - to actually get into the story, and actually start enjoying reading the book. But by then, I was already behind, both emotionally and literally. Emotionally because I didn't feel what I was supposed to feel toward the protagonist when she was in trouble, or when she was experiencing inner-turmoil; that emotional connection hadn't been established with me. And I say literally, because I was LITERALLY behind on details of the plot. I would often find myself struggling to remember details of what had happened a mere fifty pages previously, details that were required to continue understanding and appreciating the story. So that was disappointing.

Ruby, Ruby, Ruby. I wanted to like her so badly, and in fact, at times, I did really enjoy her point of view and her character, but there were just as many times that I didn't. Our relationship was like a pendulum; forever shifting. There were times I just wanted to jump into the story and rally behind her, and kiss her because it seemed her character was making so much progress, and then there were times I was just fed up with her. And because I ended up not liking nor disliking her, I also felt indifferent toward the book itself, because it's told from her point of view.

Okay I get it. I get that this is a YA Dystopian novel, and because of that, it's almost destined to follow some sort of sequence similar to many others in the same genre. But I really did expect more, and maybe that's my fault, but it's true.
The premise itself it pretty original - or as original as they come nowadays - but bar that, I just thought it was cookie-cutter material. It was really interesting, but sadly predictable at the same time. I was able to guess all but one big reveal, and even then, Bracken didn't even follow through with that one big reveal. You know, the one near the end that almost tore your heart out, but then.. didn't? I was ready to applaud Bracken for daring to take it that far, but then it's almost like she started having second thoughts, and decided against following through. It wasn't resolved at all.

So that's pretty much it, I guess. Once again, I really liked parts, and I really disliked parts. I'll probably end up giving the sequel a chance though.