**spoiler alert** I came home from book club last night with the ARC of The Darkest Path and, since there was nothing good on tv, started reading it....more**spoiler alert** I came home from book club last night with the ARC of The Darkest Path and, since there was nothing good on tv, started reading it. Five hours later I've finished, and I'm not quite sure if I liked it or not, if only because of how unsettlingly plausible the story was.
Darkest Path takes place in a near future where the United States is in the midst of a religious civil war. This is the story of two brothers, Cal and his younger brother James,trapped far from home behind enemy lines as children and how, after living six years with the Path army, they have responded to the religion in opposite ways. Cal's life revolves around protecting James and waiting for the opportunity for them to escape while pretending to be a loyal soldier of The Glorious Path. James, on the other hand, has found comfort in the Path and when his brother finds a way for them to escape chooses to remain behind.
This sets the stage for what is essentially a story about the horrors unique to civil war- brother fighting brother, families torn apart after being trapped on the opposite sides of the lines, paranoia due to the difficulty telling friend from foe. While The Darkest Path is a work of fiction there is a truth to it that makes the horrors all to easy to imagine. The characters were not the exaggerated stereotypes often found in this genre and it's easy to see how the war has turned everyday Americans into the people they have become after six years of war. Unexpected moments of humanity and compassion sprinkled throughout keep hope alive for both Cal and the reader, a welcome respite from atrocities like drone attacks and the Choice.
The book ends how you would expect such a realistic story to- with some resolutions, and more questions than answers. I don't think this is part of a series, but it could easily be the first book of one setting up a country reuniting after years apart.
**spoiler alert** Unlike many of the reviewer on here I'm ok with where all the characters ended up at the end on Dead Ever After. My issue is with th...more**spoiler alert** Unlike many of the reviewer on here I'm ok with where all the characters ended up at the end on Dead Ever After. My issue is with the convoluted wtf way they ended up there. Too many side plots, not enough time with long time favorite characters, too much time with ones who had perfectly fine conclusions to their stories several books ago. It felt like Ms. Harris was writing this book like a tv series finale- the kind where the spend so much time with cameos from former actors that the plot and current stars take a back seat to "who else can I fit in there?" ("That's what she said!"- a perfect series finale for any medium btw)(less)
This book is not groundbreaking literature. It is, however, entertaining fun like a cheesy summer movie, or one of those semi-fake survival shows on t...moreThis book is not groundbreaking literature. It is, however, entertaining fun like a cheesy summer movie, or one of those semi-fake survival shows on tv. You watch those to escape, and, like them, this book is pure ridiculous fun-it reminded me of the zombie video game Dead Rising (also set in a mall) but the monsters are 100% human. This is the kind of book that makes me wonder "what if?" Assuming I survived, how would I react to being trapped in a mall? Pretty sure I would freak the hell out, but if I could keep my cool my passions for feeding people and organizing could prove quite useful. Maybe I could figure out a way to combine government meals and supplies in the food court into something people actually want to eat :)
The bottom line- this book was exactly what I expected, a fun summer read that kept me reading into the night, and hooked me enough to want to read the sequel. (less)