A mostly Young Adult book review blog run by a mother and daughter team.
I haven’t read much dystopia lately that was a hundred percent paranormal/supernatural free.The Darkest Path by author Jeff Hirsch is a highly realistic dystopic read and creepily enough could totally happen in the USA from the way the backgrounds were written in the novel. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Jeff Hirsch and his novels so I was excited to get readingThe Darkest Path. What I do know is that it was one of the most original dystopias I ever read with a lot of dynamic characters.
The Darkest Path takes place in a post-apocalyptic future where the United States has been divided between two groups that are stuck in the middle of a Civil War. The first group being what remains of the US government, the second being the Glorious Path, a militia that follows the teachings of an ex-US soldier and follows their own religion. However the Path are far worse than its members know and they always offer the Choice—which means accept or die.
Main character Callum Roe and his younger brother James both know what the Path is like firsthand having been captured and converted to the Path’s teachings. While James seems to have been successfully indoctrinated into the Path, Callum is an entirely different story. Ever since their capture Cal has been forced to work in the kennels for the Path and is one of their best agents. After meeting and befriending a dog named Bear, Cal ends up killing his commander and finds himself on the run from the Path, discovering what the world beyond the Path is like and how his actions will affect the future of the country forever.
I really liked the relationship between Bear and Cal. Despite it being between a boy and a dog I really liked that the novel kind of played up the whole ‘Man’s Best Friend’ aspect between Cal and his dog. I don’t think I’ve read any novels that made an animal an actual character, which was especially interesting since Bear didn’t exactly have any dialogue or any way to express his thoughts/emotions. However I still got emotionally attached to Bear and constantly hoped throughout the story that everything would work out for him.
The Darkest Path does have a lot of action going on inside of it and Cal does get in a lot of violent encounters that are always pretty badass—however from the description I did have a high expectation of the novel moving at a fast pace and I must admit that I found it lacking in that department. After each of the many action scenes where Cal would be going up against the Path or the US government or people in general there would be a lot of boring low points where new characters would be introduced and some of these characters would have no development and seem very two dimensional.
I appreciate the background behind the Path and the destruction of the USA that took place in The Darkest Path because it made a lot of sense and realistically what happens in the novel could totally happen in real life. And that is kind of terrifying like come on really interesting and awesome. Readers who have read dystopia but didn’t like some of the unrealistic aspects are going to really enjoyThe Darkest Path for its realism. Totally amazing.
I would recommend The Darkest Path to readers who are looking for a refreshing, original dystopic read, readers who are interested in reading from author Jeff Hirsch who has written plenty of other dystopias. Readers who want a read that has a deep relationship between two characters and suspenseful action sequences are going to devour The Darkest Path.