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Seeing Ghosts (Aigis)

aoshi in bookclubfiction

The Darkest Minds Discussing through Chapter 16

The Darkest Minds
Discussing through Chapter 16

The Darkest Minds

No spoilers beyond Chapter 16 in this post!
If someone forgets and posts a spoiler, the comment will be screened with a reminder note.
Feel free to repost your comment without the spoilers in there!  :)

Reminder of where we are in the story:

After escaping from the East River, the crew makes their way to an abandoned motel wherein they are finally able to get to rest. Ruby finds she is restless, and ends up slipping herself into one of Zu's dreams. We learn about how the group has come together, with Zu's violence been the thing that saves the life of both Chubs and Liam. Ruby always discovers a second panic button buried in her survival kit that she received from the Children's League, but she does not end up throwing it away.

Upon piling into the vehicle the next day, the group stops at Waffle House, only to be revisited by Lady Jane (or at least, a vision of her). The group takes some time to plot their new route when they attempt to figure out the meaning behind "Edo," a code world which at first they think implies a Virginia Area Code. Further along the way they stop at an abandoned Walmart in Roanoke. Upon searching for supplies the group is greeted by a group of young boys dressed in black ready to attack. The group leader introduces himself as Greg, a young man who also escaped a camp similar to that of Ruby's, wherein he and others were supposedly sent away for psi testing. Greg explains that if it wasn't for SlipKid, they wouldn't be as well off as they are, as other children who have escaped the camps have gone off to form various tribes.

Back in the vehicle, Ruby begins to read the notebook where Zu does her math problems, only to discover an essay written by Chubs. Chubs explains that his essays were written as a form of code to his parents and those back in his home town as a means to show he is alive and what his situation is. Since the internet has been taken over by the government, it's difficult to send e-mail or use social networking without the government tracking each person down. It is then that Ruby discovers that Edo does not actually stand for a Virginia Area Code, but rather an AM radio station broadcasting psi waves, messaging to those who can hear it to travel to Lake Prince.

Ideas for discussion:

1) In this section we begin to learn a lot about Chubs and Zu's pasts. What are your thoughts on their characters and their backgrounds?

2) Why do you think Ruby keeps the panic button?

3) The Slipkid has been mentioned quite frequently without real explanation. Who or what do you think the Slipkid is?

4) Ruby's powers seem to be intensifying during this portion. What are your thoughts on her character thus far?

5) Any other thoughts you wish to share about this section?

Next Discussion:
Monday, February 25th
Through Chapter 22


1) I really like Zu and Chubs. Actually they seem to have more dimensions to them than Liam and are therefore (to me at least) more likable. It isn't that I like bad boys but Liam is just kind of a Gary Stu or something (at least he feels that way to me). I hope he gets more depth later.

2) Assuming it isn't being tracked (and I believe it is nt based on what she was told earlier) it almost seems silly not to. She COULD be caught by Thurmond again and I think anyone would believe that the League would be better than Thurmond (and probably being executed for what she is)

3) No clue!

4) I kind of like her. She can be annoying but she doesn't bother me too much. I'm looking forward to seeing how her abilities develop.

5) I had a really hard time not zooming ahead at this point because the chapter end felt a little bit cliffhanger-y! But I decided ultimately to stop and pick up another book instead. So I managed! XD
I know what you mean about the cliffhanger-y chapter endings. She does a really good job of making you say "JUST ONE MORE CHAPTER." Drives me bonkers, but in a loving sort of way. XD
lol, same thing here >.
1) I feel terribly sorry for both of them, and truth be told I'm having a hard time faulting Chubs for his animosity. I do like that he and Ruby seem to be getting more and more on the same page.

2) Any port in a storm? Though honestly, I suspect it's only so we have have a particular kind of "you betrayed us!" conflict later on in the story. I forget, does Ruby even consider what it might look like to the others if they find out about it?

3) The Wizard of Oz, to put it succinctly :) That is, someone whose reputation has outgrown, perhaps by design, his abilities and who has taken on a mythic status. (Though given the recent addition of Watership Down to the world's cannon, I really hope he's not a Woundwort)

4) I'm torn. I want to like her, but I can't seem to get an emotional connection to her. Something about the writing is just keeping me on the outside of all the characters. It's a little sad, because like I said, I WANT to cheer for them and like them and want the best for them. I feel like I'm failing the book.

5) Has anyone else read "Watership Down" and thought of the destruction of the warren when Ruby sees the scenes of their escape from the camp?
ooo, I love your link to the Wizard of Oz :)

I haven't read Watership Down, but I'm very interested in your thoughts that there are parallels!

WARNING! May be spoilery

I'm not sure there actually is a link - I wouldn't even have noticed if the book hadn't been namedropped so close to that escape scene. But there's a specific scene in WD where there's rabbits trying to escape a warren that's under attack, and it's written in much the same way - the panic and terror, the death piling up, bodies everywhere, the escape routes themselves turning into killing zones, the shellshock the ragged few who get out are left with... (I really hope that wasn't too spoilery, but the scene, while important, isn't a big part of the plot)

Re: WARNING! May be spoilery

wow, yeah, that really does line up with what happens really closely :x
I did read Watership Down, and I hadn't thought of it, but it's interesting that you bring that up. That scene horrified me when I read it as a kid, omg
Oh goodness, me too. Especially after seeing the animated movie version, which made it so so vivid. *shiver*
1) In this section we begin to learn a lot about Chubs and Zu's pasts. What are your thoughts on their characters and their backgrounds?

I agree with Cait, I find them more interesting than Liam so far since Liam doesn't seem to have any faults, haha. I don't dislike him, but yeah. xD Zu is my favorite by far. :) Hoping we'll learn more about her soon.

2) Why do you think Ruby keeps the panic button?

Since they haven't been caught yet, it seems like Cate was telling the truth about it and that it won't track unless she wants it to. (I also think Cate didn't know about what Rob did to the other kids, so I don't think she would really have any reason to lie.) Seems like the Children's League is better than some of the potential alternatives. :x

3) The Slipkid has been mentioned quite frequently without real explanation. Who or what do you think the Slipkid is?

Not really sure. I'm actually kind of wondering if the rumors are a trap set up for the kids, but I don't know, seeing that some kids seem to have had some experience with him. We'll see. xD It definitely seems like there's more to it than what the kids know, though, so I don't really get why they're not more suspicious!

4) Ruby's powers seem to be intensifying during this portion. What are your thoughts on her character thus far?

She's okay so far, but it is kind of frustrating in some ways having her as a narrator since she doesn't know a lot about what is going on, and the other characters seem to know so much more. So the reader is getting everything in bits and pieces and it's kind of frustrating for me. XD But yeah, she's okay, though I find Chubs and Zu more interesting. :) I'm not super attached to her, though.

5) Any other thoughts you wish to share about this section?

I want to know more about what is going on! XD Very excited to read the next section. Just finished it and came over to fill this out so I could continue reading. Yay!
1) I've been pretty fond of Zu since we met her but even more so knowing all the crap she's put up with (well, I suppose all of them, but Zu!). She's so sweet and goodnatured through it all. Warming up to Chubs a bit but I dunno. Still not sure. They're both still more interesting than Liam.

2) I agree with the "any port in a storm" theory. If things go so massively bad that they're worse than the Children's League potential, then why not? Also it's a convenient device to possibly introduce more drama later (Ok maybe I'm a bit cynical).

3) No idea. Given the back of book blurb on Goodreads though, everything's a bit suss.

4) Ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. I'm still not really fond of her on the whole. I'd probably feel differently if she had owned up about her powers. But yeah, not attached.

5) I found the writing of the scene where Liam was scoping out the HoJo to be quite disorienting. Did anyone else suffer this or did I read it weird? (Ruby turning to wake up Zu but then Chubs closes the door before she can get out and I feel like something was missing)
1) I adore Zu! She's probably my favourite character in the novel so far and I feel a lot of sympathy for what she in particular has gone through. Chubs, I admit, I didn't like him at first, but he's really growing on me, especially when we learn what a talented essayist he is.

2) I think it's safe to say we can believe what Cate told Ruby about the buttons. Though I wouldn't be surprised by a "sudden but inevitable betrayal" as lissibith put it.

3) I like lissibith's response. It seems fitting in this case. :)

4) I am completely indifferent towards Ruby. I wish she'd knock off someone of the nonsense and accept who she is, but I also understand the alternative power of view wherein you're scared that you may in fact be, a monster. Still, she needs to stop behaving so stupidly at times.

5) Too. much. cliffhangers.
cliffhangers are so gooood though XD Hehe
Zu is really awesome. I love her. I also can't help but wonder if the other Asian girl that Ruby saw through Zu's eyes during the escape from camp was her sister and maybe that's why Zu doesn't talk anymore?
Yeah, Zu is definitely a bright and shining spot so far in this story <3

ETA: Also, if it does happen, I will now be hearing 'curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!' in my head when it does. :)

Edited at 2013-02-19 07:17 pm (UTC)
1) I adore Zu. I want to know more about her past. Chubs is interesting, but I still don't fully understand his animosity to Ruby.

2) I think she keeps it as a plot device, more than anything. She saw Rob killed those two kids, so why would she want to be a part of any organization that kills kids?

3) I like the Wizard of Oz explanation. I also am thinking maybe Slip Kid could be the president's kid.

4) I find her to be pretty vapid. She doesn't seem to be very goal-driven, other than to not be a bad person. She is obviously attracted to Liam, and I really don't want that to happen, because it is just too cliche.

5) I am glad I am reading this a little late so I don't have to endure cliffhangers.

January 2015


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