I love a story with great characters and character interactions.
The Darkest Minds had a very awesome makeshift little family of four as we follow Ruby through her short adventure with Liam, Chubs, and Zu, and frankly, there is nothing I love more in any kind of novel. And to be totally honest, it really had been the characters who made this book the wonderful experience it had been for me. Ruby was a good heroine to follow, although her character description was rather standard as the kickbutt, strong, heart-of-gold, female main character who leads her friends into the heart of our dystopian controversy. The rest of the characters were pretty quirky in their ways as well (especially Chubs), and to be frank, if not for the character relationships, this probably would have been just another YA dystopia trilogy that you end up liking while you're reading it, but that you would forget about after it's over.
Liam, especially, was a personal favorite for reasons that I may not understand at the moment. He's gentlemanly and caring and unsure of himself, and has so many flaws as a leader... but for some reason, that makes me want to cuddle him and make him feel better. The bonds between each of the four were pretty awesome: Liam and Ruby were sweet, Zu and Liam were adorable... etc., etc.... But I especially loved Ruby and Chubs together as friends, though they started off as a pair of perfect strangers who didn't really care about each other and Chubs was annoyed by Ruby's inclusion in their group. I loved how each of them bonded in their own ways; and I loved the sweet friendship to romance development that took place between Ruby and Liam (not just because it wasn't instalove, I promise).
Outside of my love for the characters, this book had all the typical, fast-paced and suspenseful dealings as all the trendy dystopians now-a-days; so while the ideas unique to this book were intriguing (kids either died or turned into super humans with strange powers and the world broke into pieces after that), and some of the interesting twists were... well, rather interesting, the concept was still a predictable one. I hate to say that "it's just another trendy YA dystopia", but to be honest, it kind of is.
I must say, I DID enjoy the plot devices from the "concentration camp" type scenarios at the beginning, to the adventure that Ruby joined to find a place where they could belong safely.
In spite of all that though, I still found this story to be highly addictive and easy to fall right into; I found myself reciting my standard "One more chapter, then I'll sleep" mantra. And to top it off, I am undoubtedly looking forward to the next book in this series and will be pining in agony as I toss Never Fade into my ever-growing pile of "OMG! I physically need this book, like, RIGHT NOW!"
Something about The Darkest Minds just happened to grab me. I don't know what it is, but I'm not arguing with it.