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The Darkest Path by Jeff Hirsch - Review by Saul, Teen Blogger


The Darkest Path by Jeff Hirsch

Upon first seeing this book I didn’t think it was for me at all. A dystopian novel following the story of a fifteen-year-old boy as he works his way through society. It seemed a little cliché, especially in recent years with many authors going that way after the Hunger Games craze. The “teenager in dystopia America” is much overused.

I expected this to be something similar, but was gladly wrong. From the first chapter one might think it is not much, but this idea is quickly abolished with the first of many twists to the plot. I would almost go so far as to say the first chapter is almost designed to trick the reader into a particular mindset, and this is used again and again throughout the book. The idea of setting up these clichés only to tear them down is one of the books strongest points. There were moments in reading this that I was genuinely shocked at the turn of events.

Another positive factor in reading this was the way the author used the mood. Everything about the settings and the tone created a mood perfect for the events that were taking place. When the characters felt emotions the whole world in the book seemed to change. There was one particular point I felt this, when the main protagonist is in what would for most people be a happy situation, but it seemed like a very upsetting place to be in at the time simply because of how it was described.

Speaking of characters, the main downside of the story is just that. Aside from the main character, most of the others seem a little bland and uninteresting. In a way, they go against the rest of the story, being a little predictable. Don’t be mistaken though, these are not badly written characters, and they certainly have their place. It is only compared to the actions of the main character and the events of the world itself, they seem dull in comparison.

There is though, one more thing that makes this story almost unique in the genre. While most dystopian novels have a big evil society, government, or corporation, this one doesn’t necessarily have this. It is the only story of this type in which I have wondered whether the fictional society is in fact better than ours. It is impossible to ignore this. When the main character travels into the northern half of the country, where life is pretty much the same as ours, he has some interesting thoughts on which way of life is actually happier. There is no battle of good and evil, there is simply the clashing of two ideals and there really is no right answer.

In conclusion, I would recommend this book to anyone who is tired of the usual dystopian formula, or in fact anyone who wishes to have an interesting and exciting experience. This book is truly something to be celebrated among this currently oversaturated genre of books. It is an epitome of what dystopian novels should hope to be.

Teen Blogger,

Saul

 

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