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review 2015-09-07 04:53
Finally finished...
The Darkest Path - Jeff Hirsch

 

The Glorious Path wants complete control of the country. Those they capture are give the choice: Join or Be Killed.

Fifteen-year-old Callum Roe and his younger brother, James, were captured by the Glorious Path -- a militant religion based on the teachings of a former U.S. soldier -- and forced to join six years ago. As a war rages between the Path and what's left of the U.S. government, Cal gets along by working in the Path's dog kennels. But soon Cal is presented with an opportunity to move up in the Path's ranks, putting him on the verge of 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 Bear to be a vicious attack dog. This sends them both 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.

--From the book jacket

 

This isn't a bad book, but it took me a very long time to read. Partly because it is a physical book, I think. At night I mostly read on my Kindle because it is more convenient. But I also think the plot just wasn't that compelling. The blurb on the book jacket (see above) sounds very exciting. But the story just didn't live up to the excitement. Maybe if I had read just this book all at once, it would have been more enjoyable.

 

The bond between Cal and Bear really touched me. Once Bear trusted Cal, he was a faithful companion and would never leave Cal's side. But I just didn't get some of the actions Cal took when it came to Bear. Even though one time especially it was for Bear's own good, it really bothered me.

 

Nathan Hill wasn't a very scary villain and we didn't get to know him enough to feel his motives or to hate him. I hated the organization (The Path) more than I hated Hill. I get why Cal and James agreed to join, they didn't want to die. But it seemed like others could have fought back and didn't. The book tells us that Hill was very persuasive and his followers practically worship him. I think that is how James becomes a believer. They are taken at a young age; Cal was 9 and James was younger but I don't remember exactly how much younger. And maybe Cal was able to resist Hill's teachings but James needed something to believe in.

 

The end was predictable to a point. But I was really disappointed by part of it.

When James shot Nathan Hill to protect his brother, I thought he knew who he was shooting and I was glad he chose his brother over the leader of the Path. But, when James admitted that he didn't know who it was, he just wanted to save his brother, well, I realized that he was still brainwashed. And that was disappointing.

(spoiler show)

 

I do like that the final ending of the book wasn't cut and dried. You don't know exactly what happens to Cal, James & Bear, but you have hope that they will be okay.

 

Recommended to:

Fans of young adult dystopian fiction or fans of the author Jeff Hirsch.

 

 

 

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text 2015-07-31 04:34
Reading progress update: I've read 92 out of 320 pages.
The Darkest Path - Jeff Hirsch

 

 

If this kid leaves the dog all alone to fend for himself again, I am going to scream. 

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text 2013-11-14 04:21
Currently working on the reviews for... 11/13/2013
Steelheart - Brandon Sanderson
I Have No Mouth & I Must Scream - Harlan Ellison
The Darkest Path - Jeff Hirsch
Cafe Insomniac - Mark Capell
Eating Right in America: The Cultural Politics of Food and Health - Charlotte Biltekoff
Mirrorshades: The Cyberpunk Anthology - Greg Bear,William Gibson,Paul Di Filippo,John Shirley,Bruce Sterling,Pat Cadigan,Rudy Rucker,Lewis Shiner,James Patrick Kelly,Marc Laidlaw,Tom Maddox
Parasite - Mira Grant
Runaway Groom - Sally Clements
Vessel - Sarah Beth Durst
Talisman Of El - Alecia Stone

This is more for my own personal notes, but I'm currently crafting reviews for the following books. I'm taking my time for some of these.  Hopefully I'll be able to play catch-up.

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text 2013-10-25 00:23
A little bit into this so far
The Darkest Path - Jeff Hirsch

....And I like it more than any of the books I've read from the author thus far.  Glad I got it as an ARC from NetGalley.

 

Started shadow reading a few pages of it earlier today, and ended up deciding to pick it up in full.

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review 2013-10-05 19:47
The Darkest Path by Jeff Hirsch
The Darkest Path - Jeff Hirsch

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.

Source: www.chapter-by-chapter.com/blog-tour-the-darkest-path-by-jeff-hirsch-review-and-giveaway
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