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.
336 pages 978-0545512237 Ages 12 and up
Read alikes: Eleventh Plague; Maze Runner series; Sylo by D.J. MacHale; Icons by Margaret Stohl
Recommended by: Pamela Thompson, MLIS, Library Media Specialist, Texas USA
To see more of her recommendations: http://booksbypamelathompson.blogspot.com/