Sep 22, 2013

Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway! -- The Darkest Path by Jeff Hirsch

About the Book

USA TODAY bestselling author Jeff Hirsch once again creates a futuristic world with stunning, dramatic realism.

A civil war rages between the Glorious Path--a militant religion based on the teachings of a former US soldier--and what's left of the US government. Fifteen-year-old Callum Roe and his younger brother, James, were captured and forced to convert six years ago. Cal has been working in the Path's dog kennels, and is very close to becoming one of the Path's deadliest secret agents. Then Cal befriends a stray dog named Bear and kills a commander who wants to train him to be a vicious attack dog. This sends Cal and Bear on the run, and sets in motion a series of incredible events that will test Cal's loyalties and end in a fierce battle that the fate of the entire country rests on.

The Darkest Path is a mix of boy on the run, teenage compound, war, and really, really big cult all wrapped into one book. As I began reading I started to compare it to other books I have read recently about religion and cults, like Gated (Doomsday Cult) and The Outside (Amish community), but it really had many point that stuck out from those books.
The Path is both military and a religious entity and they are stopping at nothing to change the entire US into a Path following bunch. The government is forced to deal with this gigantic threat and whole states have been taken by the Path and are left for goners.
The Glorious Path was supposedly developed by a military man and hero and has become a force to be reckoned with. Upon being given the choice you must become Path or die… so there really isn’t a choice at all.
Cal is the main character in The Darkest Path and he is on the run. Taken from his parents six years ago, he has lived with the Path and become a member, but mostly for self-preservation and now he must continue that preservation, which means getting out.
Cal’s journey is not an easy one and he deals with a lot of emotional obstacles as well as physical ones. There is killing and death, and the loss of family and friends and so as a main character he is strong willed, determined, but also real enough to relate to a reader.
I had a hard time with the cult aspects, this bug militant force that happened to take over most of the country. I can only hope it would never get to that point in real life, but who knows? Hirsch paints an eerie realistic picture of what this type of war might be like through the eyes of a runner and someone experiencing both sides of the mayhem.
The Darkest Path was an interesting and unnerving book to read but if you have interest in dystopian societies this is definitely one of them and the characters are strong and relatable for the most part (minus the killing…).
This book happily surprised me, as I did not really enjoy Magisterium (by the same author). I think realistic/ futuristic/ war times are more his niche than the fantastical universe of Magisterium. 

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About the Author 
I live in upstate New York with my wife and a small passel of animals. I used to write plays (I actually have an MFA in it, which is number 8 on US News and World Report's list of the top twenty most useless masters degrees) and now I write books for teens. I've written three, The Eleventh Plague, Magisterium and The Darkest Path.

A few random facts about me:

  •  I’m incredibly superstitious.
  • I believe in baking as the ultimate stress reliever. I mean, sure, I write pretty good books but have you tasted my Triple Chocolate Espresso Cookies?
  • I’m deeply obsessed with the work of Joss Whedon, Stephen King, Bryan K. Vaughn, Prince and Tom Waits.
  •   I started writing because of two women—Susan Cooper, author of the Dark Is Rising Series and Denise Stewart, my 7th grade English teacher.

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