Monday, July 29, 2013

Dystopian Pick: The Darkest Path

The Darkest Path
by Jeff Hirsch
Scholastic Press
336 pages
Available October 2013

Visit the author's website for more

Jeff Hirsch continues to give readers just what they want. Magisterium and The Eleventh Plague set him up as one writer to watch and The Darkest Path cements his presence in YA literature. The United States has been ripped in two. Some states are still part of the government and they are known as "Fed." Other states have broken away and are following a charismatic leader who indoctinates followers to follow "The Glorious Path." It is join them or die.

Callum Roe and his younger brother James were captured by the Path six years ago and Cal has risen up the ranks. He is an undercover spy and helps infiltrate communities ripe for the Path. When he sees what carnage the Path is capable of firsthand, he knows he must do something.

Cal finds a stray dog with the name Bear on his tags. He plays with the pup and doesn't want to deliver it back to the base to be trained as a vicious attack dog. When he is confronted by his maniacal boss, Kennel Master Quarles, he shoots him in self defense. Now Cal must run. He has killed a superior and ignored orders. He begs his younger brother to come along, but James has been "brainwashed" by the Path.

On the run for much of the book, Cal leans on Bear and some good souls along the way. Cal is caught and taken back before President Hill. He realizes that Hill plans to attack major cities in the United States and he is using people's belief in him and in God to control his campaign, and nothing and no one can stop him. Or can they?

The Darkest Path is one edgy, dark dystopia I never want to visit. This was a frightening vision of America and what could happen in our near future, and it is one vision I hope never comes true.

Highly recommended for readers who enjoy dystopian fiction grade 7-up. Violence. No language.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received the arc from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.

This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at

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