Apocalypse! Blog Hop - The Darkest Minds


Welcome to my stop on the Apocalypse! Blog Hop, hosted by Heidi @ Rainy Day Ramblings, Maja @ The Nocturnal Library and Christy @ Love of Books for apocalyptic book features and giveaways. You can see my giveaway hop post here as well as the list of all those hosting giveaways.

One of my favorite books that I read this year, and definitely my favorite apocalyptic book, was The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken. You can see my original review here. (It was the second book I reviewed on my blog and it's amazing how much my formatting has changed.) I think the reason I have liked it more than other apocalyptic books is because the author did a great job of letting natural life into the story. Sure the world they live in, what has happened to them, and what they might face in the future is terrible, but there is still love, happiness, friendship, loyalty, and teasing moments. How else would they be able to survive? It is this balance and contrast that made it such a great book and the reason I would read it again.

In The Darkest Minds' series, kids have developed super powers. We don't necessarily know why or how, just that they have. This adds a whole different dimension to the society, whose kids either die or gain these powers. There are several different groups (the Federal Coalition, the US President's group, a supposedly children's rights group, parts of society, skip tracers, and some of the kids themselves) who are basically in a power struggle and aim to destroy or manipulate these kids and the situation. The characters are just a handful of many who are trying to survive.

Kids are labelled with colors according to the powers they developed. Here are the various categories that the kids with powers fall into:

Green: Greens are super-intelligent. They are believed to be the least threatening.
Blue: Able to use telekensis (to move objects with their mind). Are more threatening than greens.
Yellow: Able to control electricity and, thus, also electronics. They are moderately threatening.
Red: Able to control fire, even creating sparks and fire out of nowhere and blow things up. They are very threatening.
Orange: Able to control minds. This includes to manipulate thoughts and actions, but also to completely erase someone's mind. Most threatening.

What color would you naturally fall under or want to be?

In an interview on The Skip Kids, this was the author, Alexandra Bracken's, response:

"Hmmm... would you believe I've actually never thought about this question before? Statistically, I think I'd probably be a Green--there are so many more of them in comparison to the other colors, though it seems a little egotistical to claim I'd definitely have super-powered intelligence. I don't know that I would want to be a Yellow since I have a hard enough time not destroying technology as it is without accidentally messing with their electrical charges. Red... yikes. Being a Blue might be useful, and Orange--the idea that you could influence anyone to get anything you wanted--is awfully tempting. I think I'm going to stick with Blue!"

Here are two excerpts from The Darkest Minds:

        Liam, our driver, was wearing a beat-up leather jacket, darker across the shoulders where the rain had soaked through. His hair was a light, ashy blond that stood on end when he ran a hand through it. Every now and then he would glance to the dark-skinned teen in the passenger seat, but it wasn’t until he cast a quick look into the rearview mirror that I saw his eyes were blue.
        “I can’t see out of the back window when you—“ His words choked off as he did a double take.
        The minivan lurched to the right as he spun around in his seat and turned the wheel with him. The other kid let out a strangled noise as the car jerked to the right, toward the side of the road. The girl glanced back over her shoulder at me, her expression somewhere between surprise and exasperation.
        Liam slammed on the brakes. Both of the car’s other passengers gasped as their seat belts locked over their chests, but I had nothing holding me back from flying between the two middle seats. After what felt like a short eternity, but was likely only a hot second, the tires let off a long squeal of pain before the minivan quivered to a dead stop.
        Both boys were staring back at me, wearing two completely different expressions. Liam’s tanned face had gone porcelain pale, his mouth hanging open in an almost comical way. The other boy only glared at me through his thin, silver-framed glasses, his lips pursed in disapproval, the same way my mom’s used to when she found out I had stayed up past my bedtime. His ears, which were a touch too big for his head, stuck out from his skull; everything between them, from the wide expanse of his forehead down past the thin bridge of his nose to his full lips, seemed to darken in anger. For a split second I was afraid that he was a Red, because judging by the look in his eyes, he wanted nothing more than to burn me to a crisp.
        Boys. Why did it have to be boys?
        I peeled myself up off the carpets and bolted toward the side door. My fingers squeezed the door handle, but no matter how hard I pulled it, it didn’t budge.
        “Zu!” Liam cried, looking back and forth between us. She merely folded her hands in her lap, rubber gloves squeaking, and blinked at him innocently. Like she had no idea how they had come across the stowaway currently sprawled out by her feet.
        “We all agreed—no strays.” The other boy shook his head. That’s why we didn’t take the kittens!”

p. 109-110

        “Do you want to go back to them?”
        Chubs was looking at Liam, and Liam was looking at me. He had caught me again with his eyes, and I hadn’t even realized it.
        “No,” I said, and it was the truth. “I don’t.”
        He didn’t say anything, only shifted the minivan out of park. The van rolled forward.

p. 113 


The Darkest Minds
(The Darkest Minds #1)
by Alexandra Bracken
YA Dystopian
December 1, 2012 by Disney Hyperion


Goodreads summary:
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.


Purchase from:
  

On Tuesday, July 16th, In Time (a short story to be read between books one and two) was published for Kindle and Nook. I, of course, had to read it since I have enjoyed this series so much and downloaded a copy to my kindle.

In Time
(The Darkest Minds #1.5)
by Alexandra Bracken
YA Dystopian
July 16th 2013 by Disney Publishing Worldwide


Goodreads summary:
Gabe’s life has been devastated in the wake of the economic crash. The only option left for someone like him to escape his tragic past is to leave his small town behind and to attempt to become a skip tracer. This already almost impossible task is made all the more difficult by his first score, a young girl who won’t speak, but who changes his life in ways he could never imagine.

What I thought:
I liked that this short (seven chapters) gave the perspective of a guy who isn't one of the kids affected by the "virus," meaning he doesn't have any special powers. He is just trying to survive after his parents have basically abandoned him. He does seem to not have the proper survival skills I would think he should have with the country the way it is, but he's never had to think about those things so much before.

This is also a story about Zu and what happens to her after the first book. She is one of my favorite characters. Although, really all the four main characters from the first book are. She has grown up a little more in the time in-between the two books. Her character really amazes me though. She has such a sweetness about her and so easily trusts sometimes regardless of her circumstances.

I really didn't know if these two would make it out okay. I grew to really like Gabe. He has such potential. The ending about killed me and now I'm definitely going to have to finish reading Never Fade soon so that I can know for sure what happened. If you enjoyed the first book, then I would definitely recommend reading this. I really enjoyed it (except for the language).

Content: Language and some violence
 
Purchase from:
 

I was ecstatic a little while ago when I got approved from Disney-Hyperion to receive an eARC of Never Fade through NetGalley. I don't tend to get popular books at this point, so I was surprised I got it. I will post a review for it as the release date gets closer. I will just mention that I've started it and there seems to be more content, as in language and violence, than the first book, but has been hard to put down.

  Never Fade ARC
(The Darkest Minds #2)
by Alexandra Bracken
YA Dystopian
October 15th 2013 by Disney-Hyperion


Goodreads summary:
Ruby never asked for the abilities that almost cost her her life. Now she must call upon them on a daily basis, leading dangerous missions to bring down a corrupt government and breaking into the minds of her enemies. Other kids in the Children’s League call Ruby “Leader”, but she knows what she really is: a monster.

When Ruby is entrusted with an explosive secret, she must embark on her most dangerous mission yet: leaving the Children’s League behind. Crucial information about the disease that killed most of America’s children—and turned Ruby and the others who lived into feared and hated outcasts—has survived every attempt to destroy it. But the truth is only saved in one place: a flashdrive in the hands of Liam Stewart, the boy Ruby once believed was her future—and who now wouldn’t recognize her.

As Ruby sets out across a desperate, lawless country to find Liam—and answers about the catastrophe that has ripped both her life and America apart—she is torn between old friends and the promise she made to serve the League. Ruby will do anything to protect the people she loves. But what if winning the war means losing herself?


Pre-order from:

 

About the Author
(from her website)

I was born in Phoenix, Arizona and spent all of my life there up until college–I miss it all of the time, but primarily when I’m forced to deal with ice/snow/mass transit/or some combination of the three. I’m a middle child, which supposedly means I’m full of angsty feelings of neglect, but, in reality, it just means I’m always sandwiched between my older sister and younger brother in Christmas pictures. On a whole, I had a pretty typical childhood, with only one big exception: my dad is a big time Star Wars collector, which means I went to more antique shows, toy stores, and Star Wars conventions then you could ever imagine! No, really, I’m up to six conventions. I will now pause to let that soak in…

I recently graduated with a degree in History and English from The College of William & Mary in Virginia. (Four years in Colonial Williamsburg is enough to give anyone a sense of humor about life, trust me.) I began writing Brightly Woven there during my sophomore year as a birthday present to my dearest, darlingest friend Carlin… and finished six months AFTER that date. The number one question I get asked is how I wrote a novel while I was still in school. There are two answers to this: sacrificing a social life and a depressingly effective will to see even the most futile projects through. I signed with my agent on my 21st birthday, and sold it later that year. I spent a good portion of my senior year buried under edits, and the rest of that year trying to figure out what else I was going to do with my life.

After graduating, I left my colonial bonnets behind and moved to New York City, where I attended the Columbia Publishing Course. I am now happily situated on the other side of the publishing industry, working in children’s book marketing. That’s all to say that you should come up and say hi if you see me at a conference–I’ll even recommend a few good books for you!

You can find Alex here:


Have you read any of the books in this series? What do you think about kids having super powers like this?






 
Giveaway:

One US or international winner gets to choose a copy of The Darkest Minds or a pre-ordered copy of Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken.

This giveaway is open to US and international residents if the Book Depository/Amazon ships to you for free. Please ensure that you correctly enter your email (and check your junk mail folder if I'm not on your contact list) so that I have a way to contact you. You can read my giveaway policy on my policies page. Enter via the Rafflecopter below. Thanks and good luck!

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Here is the entire Apocalypse! schedule:
 
July 13th:
 
July14th:

July 15th:

July 16th:

July 17th:

July 18th:
 
July 19th:
 
July 20th:
 
 
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