Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Review: The Hike by Drew Magary

The Hike

Author: Drew Magary
Publisher: Viking
Pages: Hardcover, 288 pages
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: August 2nd 2016


From the author of The Postmortal, a fantasy saga unlike any you’ve read before, weaving elements of folk tale and video game into a riveting, unforgettable adventure of what a man will endure to return to his family

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.

At once bitingly funny and emotionally absorbing, Magary’s novel is a remarkably unique addition to the contemporary fantasy genre, one that draws as easily from the world of classic folk tales as it does from video games. In The Hike, Magary takes readers on a daring odyssey away from our day-to-day grind and transports them into an enthralling world propelled by heart, imagination, and survival.


This is quite interesting, because basically I like a lot about this book, but I didn't particularly enjoy reading it...
Which is kinda left me wondering, how does one rate a book. Let's face it, we all do it mostly subjective, though I like to think that I am quite objective, I can be honest and admit, in the end it's all about how much I really enjoyed reading a book.
And here is the crux when it comes to my rating of the Hike. I kinda didn't care that much for it actually.
Well, let me explain. This is well written. Really well written. Magary is brilliant at descriptions, I love his sense of humor and I like his writing style.
The plot is .. wacky. I kinda adult weird surreal take on Alice in Wonderland. And in some ways it reminded me of Kafka. The end was brilliant, btw.
The world building, was probably my favorite thing about this, again wacky Alic comes to mind. It's realistic in a surrealist kind of way. Really great.

When I finished I felt like my mind got twisted somehow odd but fun... and yet I gave it three stars.
Because while I think this is quite clever, even rather brilliant at times, I didn't enjoy reading this that much. And I can't tell you why. I really don't know. I found myself wondering how much I have left in the book, rather early on and it kept recurring. I didn't connect much to the characters, which I don't think has much to do with the character building, but simply with my likes and quirks. So basically, while in theory this should have been at least a 4 Star book for me, I don't think I would have finished it if I didn't get the ARC. Saying that, I was thinking that it would make a fantastic movie, I totally would love it.. I think.
Back to how to rate? Or even more important why do we love books... I have currently no clear answer to this, would you have asked me a couple of days ago- I would have told you it all starts with a writing style I like, good character building, great balance between an interesting plot and imaginary world building. Now after having read the Hike though, considering my reaction, I gotta say sometimes I just love books, even if they are less then perfect and other times they just don't 'do' it for me.
The hike is sadly a it-isn't-you-it's-me case. But I would encourage lovers of the genre to read it. Because really it is a clever, imaginative and well written book.



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