Author: Drew Magary
Hardcover, 288 pages
Publication: August 2, 2016 by Viking
Source: I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for a honest review.
When Ben, a suburban family man, takes a business trip to rural Pennsylvania, he decides to spend the afternoon before his dinner meeting on a short hike. Once he sets out into the woods behind his hotel, he quickly comes to realize that the path he has chosen cannot be given up easily. With no choice but to move forward, Ben finds himself falling deeper and deeper into a world of man-eating giants, bizarre demons, and colossal insects.
On a quest of epic, life-or-death proportions, Ben finds help comes in some of the most unexpected forms, including a profane crustacean and a variety of magical objects, tools, and potions. Desperate to return to his family, Ben is determined to track down the “Producer,” the creator of the world in which he is being held hostage and the only one who can free him from the path.
The Hike was an atypical novel. It was unlike anything I’ve ever read and I’ve read some pretty unique novels over the years. Imagine any other ordinary day, sun shining, birds chirping…it sounds like one of those nice days for a walk huh? Well, that’s exactly what our protagonist of The Hike did. Ben, away on a business trip had some spare time before his meeting so he decided to go for a walk. Little did he know that, that wasn’t any ordinary day. Because within a few minutes Ben lost sight of the hotel and found himself transported to another world/plane, like a bad dream; encountering maniacal men in dog mask, a talking crab, a cannibalistic giant…and magical beans.
After reading the synopsis, I knew The Hike was going to be unconventional, peculiar and not my usual read. But I like reading new things and I was intrigued. Most books have a plot/problem that is easily seen within the first couple of chapters. This in turn, enables readers to hypothesize what might happen next. I couldn’t do that here. When I began the book, I had no clue what was going on or where it was going. It was a pleasant surprise because I was basically experiencing what Ben was going through and it wasn’t like the usual, where the readers knew what was going to happen before the character. When Ben found something out, I found out at the same moment. I loved how unpredictable this book was, everything was pretty crazy-bizarre so I was constantly surprised at all the twist and turn. The crab and the ending…blew my mind. I had to read the last paragraph a couple of times, just to make sure I grasped the meaning correctly. The ending was just perfect. While I enjoyed most of the book, I wished the characters were more developed. There were moments that I had a hard time connecting and empathizing with Ben and the other characters. Readers did learn a lot about Ben, and Ben discovering what makes him, him. But I still felt that something was kind of missing.
Magary’s The Hike brought something to the literary scene that hasn’t been done before and I recommend this book to those looking for a fresh and unique read and are willing to read something out of their comfort zone; because this novel definitely gives a whole new meaning to being out-of-the-box and breaking the mold of how a novel should be.