Reading Level: Young Adult
Size: 512 pages
Release Date: October 15, 2013
Stand Alone or Series: 2nd book in the Darkest Minds series
Source: eGalley from NetGalley.com
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
This is the second book in the Darkest Minds series by Bracken. I got a copy of this to review through NetGalley(dot)com. The third book in this series is as yet untitled but is scheduled for a 2014 release. This was a well written and fast-paced novel and I think you will enjoy it if you enjoyed the first book.
There are spoilers ahead for the first book, so just be warned if you haven’t read that book. I definitely recommend reading The Darkest Minds first or you will be totally lost.
Ruby has joined the Children’s League in a desperate effort to let Liam go free. There she is trained to go on missions to retrieve children or take out other targets. The Children’s League has dubbed Ruby the title Leader, but she is increasingly worried about the monster she is becoming. Then she is given a desperate mission to retrieve some vital information that would expose the government for the liars they truly are. Ironically it seems that Liam is the one with the info and Ruby will have to track him down to recover it.
Ruby continues to struggle with her dangerously powerful ability to control people’s minds and memories. As part of the Children’s League she is being forced to use this ability in ways that are more and more weaponized. She is struggling with the morality of it all and really starting to think that she is the monster that the government is calling kids with her abilities.
In this book Ruby spends some time being trained as a fighter and Operative in the Children’s League. There she meets some new people, Vida and Jude are the two we spend the most time with. There are a lot of characters that make an appearances from the last book as well. Clancey is in here and we meet Liam’s brother Cole as well.
In fact there are so many characters in this book at times I had trouble remembering who was who. There really isn’t much recapping at all, so it might be helpful to reread The Darkest Minds unless you have a really good memory.
Then there are all the politics to keep track of. You have the Children’s League, the various splinter groups, and the government forces all struggling to suppress and/or make use of these children. There is a lot going on here and a points it gets a bit confusing.
The book is very well written and I enjoyed the writing style. It is a creative world and concept. But, to be honest, I was starting to have some trouble engaging with the story. It started to get a bit repetitive. The kids would go here, bad things would happen, they would escape, then they would go the next place, bad things would happen, and they would escape…rinse and repeat. Throw lots of politics and a ton of names into the whole thing and you have the story.
I think at it’s core this story is about trying to solve the illness these kids have and integrating them back into society. However, we mostly read about Ruby trying to find the best way to implement this and about her and her friends trying to survive in this crazy and lawless world. This book was a long read and at times it felt like it.
Overall a decent continuation of this series. The book is fast-paced and well written. I did have a bit of trouble keeping all the characters, names, and political factions straight. I also had some trouble staying engaged with the story because it gets a bit repetitive and is derailed from the main story quite a bit. It’s very long and it feels like it at times. Still this is a very creative world and has an intricate plot.
I think fans of YA dystopian reads will enjoy this. I am a bit burnt out on YA dystopia, so this wasn’t a super great read for me….it is well done though. I had similar problems with the first book. I think if you enjoyed the first book in this series you will enjoy this one. If you didn’t enjoy the first book, this is more of the same.