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Reviewed by Michelle Mollohan for Readers' Favorite
Charles W Jones's The Road To Saratin is a gripping dystopian saga. There is a mysterious chemical attack that causes mutations in humans. Carl is a 28-year-old man who was taken to the Freedom Institute under the care of Dr. Emerson Sharod when he was just 6 years old. Carl hears mysterious voices all talking at once in a jumble that he can rarely interpret. Dr. Sharon experimented on him to try to tease the voices out. Despite Carl emphatically stating that he no longer hears the voices, Dr. Sharon does not believe him. One day the voices speak to him as one, telling him that it is time to leave. He walks out of the Institute and is shocked by the changes to the outside world over the 22 years since he has seen it. Carl is determined to travel to Saratin, the town he lived in with his mother. Along the way, he has to try to hide from the people seeking to return him to the Institute as well as from the mutated humans looking for a meal. During his travels, he is saved by Astrid, a woman doing recon for one of the bases nearby. Aided by the voices, he manages to overpower her and take her weapon. Astrid tracks him down and instead of turning him in as he feared, she joins in his journey.
I highly recommend Charles W Jones's The Road To Saratin. With the current climate of viruses and potential bioterrorism, coupled with our lack of preparedness in staving them off, this story is eerily relevant. I feel that The Road To Saratin differs from other end-of-the-world scenarios in that it gives you not only a glimpse of the good guys but also the villains' points of view, which provides a rich, detailed backstory. This is a medium-paced book full of memorable characters. The voices that Carl hears are varied and entertaining, from Milton who acts as his muscle to Miriam who hides his tracks along their journey. Carl also makes friends with people along the way. I loved Serena, the Matron of Sanctuary, a tent city. She stood her ground and refused to be intimidated or to let Astrid search within for Carl. I also enjoyed Thea, the good-humored leader of Bonneville who made Carl cut firewood she didn't need to trade for food and shelter. The conclusion of this book is immensely satisfying as it leaves no questions unanswered.