Hide by Kiersten White #WyrdAndWonder Review

My Five Word TL:DR Review : I wanted to love it


I really did want to love this one and in fact had high expectations.  However, what I will say is that whilst I didn’t love it this was still a steady read and one that I felt compelled to make a rather mad dash through the pages to discover the reveal.

So Hide brings together 14 contestants who have applied to take part in a competition, the winner of which will receive $50,000.  Each day the contestants will all find a hiding place within an abandoned and now derelict amusement park.  Each day, two contestants will be eliminated.  The final contestant who remains undiscovered takes home the prize.  It sounds fairly simple, however, none of the contestants are prepared for what is actually seeking them.

What really drew me to this was the setting.  I just loved the idea of a game that takes place in an old amusement park.  I mean, the scope for an ever accelerating creep factor is just immense.  Just the thought of all those ramshackle rides, carousels with faded animals and rusted mechanics creaking menacingly, it’s too enticing.  And, I won’t deny that the setting is good, even more so because of its dark history.  The amusement park was a hugely successful endeavour until a tragedy involving a missing child saw the place closed under mysterious circumstances.  Now the stage for a strange and sinister competition with menacing undertones the place is inspired by the myth of the minotaur. The paths themselves like a labyrinth that lead to the centre of the park and the monster that awaits.

In terms of characters.  We predominantly follow one character, Mack, who has her own personal family tragedy to contend with, a history that makes her feel like a shoe-in for this competition.  Obviously we meet up with the other 13 characters that are taking part and this is the first issue that I struggled with.  Clearly it was always going to be difficult to make some of these characters feel substantial enough to form a real connection, this is also made more difficult because of the fact that as soon as the competition starts two characters per day would be eliminated so there is a throwaway element to also be considered.  However, I didn’t really find myself forming attachments to any of them.  The early entrants were basically there and then gone, we had a kind of inevitable teaming up of certain characters who then found themselves with the age old dilemma of having formed attachments but still wanting to win – well, until the nature of the competition itself was finally revealed.

I have to say that I enjoyed the writing.  This is an author that I’ve read before and I enjoy her style.  That being said, this is a book that takes the author from her usual YA genre into the adult genre and for me this still felt a little on the YA side.

In terms of criticisms.  I think a good deal of this boils down to my own expectations having gone off in the wrong direction.  I think I had notions that this would be an all out horror-fest, a kind of mindless slasher story where just a couple of survivors are left scrabbling around trying to stay alive.  As it is, there’s an age old underlying story of greed to this one that takes a look at wealth and privilege.  On top of this, in spite of the great setting and the high stakes I just didn’t really feel the tension or fear that I wanted or expected to feel.

Overall, I had no difficulty in reading this one as I was very curious about how everything would come together but it never quite reached the potential that I was hoping for.  I think maybe this also connects to the slight feeling of this erring on the side of YA and perhaps the older side of the YA market might enjoy this one more than I did.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

My rating 3 of 5 stars


Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Paranormalcy is the story of Evie.  Evie was abandoned at a young age and following a number of foster placements has finally been picked up by the International Paranormal Containment Agency (IPAC).  As it sounds IPAC is responsible for searching and detaining paranormals and, keeping them restricted or imprisoned, using them for active duties.  Evie, although she thinks she is normal, is able to see past the glamours that paranormals use to blend in with regular people.  So, is Evie as normal as she thinks??  When paranormals start to die under mysterious circumstances Evie becomes entangled in a dangerous search for answers.

I thought this was an excellent debut novel from Kiersten White with some interesting concepts and although the paranormals included vampires and werewolves that wasn’t all that was involved.  Fey, gnomes, mermaids and a few others joined in.

What I enjoyed about this book was the way it makes you think.  For example IPAC – why was it okay for them to go out and contain paranormals and keep them imprisoned, or to trick the fey into working unquestioningly for them – not to mention a few other underhand tricks that IPAC got up to!  I mean it basically comes down to the fear of things that aren’t like you.  I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t be afraid of these paranormals and clearly there are some (hags) that are incredibly dangerous – but IPAC never tried any other methods – just simply, bag, tag and detain, just imagine an immortal life in captivity!  I actually ended up feeling sorry for the paranormals.  Also, I thought to a certain degree that there was a message in there about looking beneath the surface to what lies underneath, you can’t always judge people by their appearances.  The Fey, for example, are so beautiful they’re almost impossible to look at but they are either evil (seely) or very evil (unseely).  (Actually, I must admit, that thanks to authors such as Holly Black and Melissa Marr I do really enjoy books about fey!)

I found the start of this book very entertaining and quite fast paced but for me personally I found Evie a bit ‘young’.  It’s totally understandable that she is this way having lived most of her life in containment with nothing other than tv to keep her in touch with ‘normal’ teenage behaviour and I suppose it is refreshing to have this innocent or naive heroine in this role – one who doesn’t stomp around in DMs kicking everyone’s butt – but, I did want her to stand up for herself a little bit.

To be honest, I will read the next book because I think it was well done and I’d like to see how Evie develops – but, I think my daughter and her friends will love this so much more and be more in touch – what with all the girly stuff, boots, pink taisers and floaty dresses.  There is a really nice romance building up with Lend (and by the way I do like that name) and then of course we have the ‘bad’ male character in Reth (who I actually liked – how odd?)

I would recommend this book to readers of the paranormal although I think this really is suited to a younger audience (and yes, I know, these are YA books – but I read YA as well as a range of other genres and find them entertaining).

Rating B