The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

The Darkest Minds The review for Alexandra Bracken’s novel The Darkest Minds that I have chosen to investigate is from Publishers Weekly. I chose to look at a review of this novel because I purchased it for Christmas for one of my cousin’s. She has similar reading interests as me, and she dove into the book before finishing opening her other presents. I wanted to see if her reaction, and my initial reasons for selecting the novel were represented within a review. Merrilee Heifetz from Writers House, a literary agency, wrote the review.

The review is fairly short, but to the point. The CM Magazine review considerations identify seven different categories of information to be included in a review of a fiction material. While not all of the categories are extensively discussed for this novel, a strong impression of the novel was created.

The author’s background could have been more clearly stated. Bracken’s name was followed only by the title Brightly Woven in parenthesis. While I assumed Brightly Woven was another title by Bracken, I was unsure if the reviewer was including the title because it was the most popular title Bracken had previously published, or the only other title she has had published. But, the review does clearly state that the background of the novel, listing The Darkest Minds is the first in a planned trilogy.

While it is not explicitly stated, the reviewer gives an impression that they felt a very strong and effective setting was created in the novel by the descriptive terminology about the story and setting throughout the review. A very strong impression of the novel is given, with enough detail and synopsis to make the novel sound appealing to readers. But I did find that not many details or descriptions were heightened by the review in comparison to the details that were given on the jacket cover.

The review gives a strong impression of thematic considerations by using terms like “futuristic”, “fantasy” and “strong female character”. The appeal factor for readers is clearly stated, but I would have liked to have more information about content. The reviewer leaves the reader with the impression that the novel is bleak and scary, with potentially a more mature storyline. The impression given to me does not necessarily correlate with the level of 12-up that is given. While I understand that novels like The Hunger Games are given similar age demographic ranges, a better understanding of what makes the book appropriate for that age would have been helpful.

I feel that more information about content would also have been helpful considering some of the physical characteristics that the reviewer highlighted. While information about the cover art was omitted, the fact that the novel is 496 was included. A nearly 500-page novel does not necessarily correlate with what the average twelve year old chooses to read. More insight into the difficulty of the language, and the type of content or violence portrayed in this action novel would have been beneficial.

I felt the review would have been helpful for someone that had not physically interacted with the book in the way that I had. More information could definitely have been included that would have helped paint a better picture of the novel and its suitability for different age demographics. Overall I felt that the review hit many of the points the CM review considerations outlines – but not necessarily in the way that I would have liked.

This is a novel that I will definitely be trying to read in the near future. I look forward to being able to see what I may have done differently and how I would present this novel given the limitations I felt this review had.

Quite a few blogs have also reviewed or discussed Braken’s novel. If you’re interested you can check out the additional links below:

The Book Smuggler

YA Bibliophile

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