Hide – by Kiersten White (Review)

Standalone

Horror, Thiller

Del Rey; May 24, 2022

256 pages (ebook)

GoodreadsStoryGraph
Author Website

9 / 10 ✪

I was kindly granted an advance copy in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to Del Rey and NetGalley for the eARC! All opinions are my own.

They took a cow with them. Why did they take a cow?

The challenge: spend a week hiding in an abandoned amusement park. Fourteen contestants enter; only one leaves a victor. But that winner takes home $50,000. Two contestants are removed per day until the last remains.

Say nothing else about Mack—there’s not much to say, after all—say that she is a survivor. When her father stalked the halls of their family home with a bloody knife, Mack hid. She hid; he didn’t find her. This competition is no different—don’t get caught. It’s why she’s alive, after all. Why she’s alive and her family isn’t.

Brandon doesn’t have much of a family either—less, ever since his Grandmother died. But he’s always tried to stay optimistic. He has a great job, working as a gas station attendant in Pocatello. This competition isn’t about the money for him; it’s about the experience. He doesn’t care if he wins or not, the draw for him is the adventure, and the friends he makes along the way.

Ava is an Instagram fitness model. Constantly glued to her social media accounts, she’s only in the competition to build her following. She’ll last a few days, she’s sure—make a name for herself, maybe hook up with a hot guy—but when she goes, it’ll be a spectacle, something that everyone will be talking about for years to come.

Jaden is in it to win it. He has a solid plan, and the skills to make it happen. Nothing’s going to get in the way of his dream of owning a gym—and that 50k is going to make it happen. He’ll use anyone and anything he has to to be the last one standing—after all, it’s only a game.

A veteran. An up and coming actress. An author with nothing to write. A perpetual intern. A YouTuber. An app designer. A silversmith. A graffiti artist. A solar-panel salesman. And one who is lost, in every sense of the word.

But only one of them is going to win. Or are they?


“It’s a ride,” LeGrand answers. “I saw Jaden hide there on the first day. It’s a good spot.”

“That kind of ride?” Mack asks.

LeGrand shrugs. “Dunno. I’ve never been to a place like this.”

Brandon laughs. “No one’s ever been to a place like this.”

So, I quite liked this. I mean, it wasn’t perfect, but as a quick thriller, with growing horror elements that eventually transform into a full-blown nightmare. All in all, it was quite good.

Hide starts out as a competition. Fourteen enter; but only one leaves. Victorious, at least. There’s $50,000—not a ton, but nothing to scoff at either. Enough prize money to keep everyone motivated. Enough to keep everyone’s attention off the fine print.

Then it starts to read like Survivor meets Supernatural. The sense of unease gradually growing until it all spirals out of control. A few twists thrown in—including one that I got particularly excited about—help keep it quick and easy to read even when the two for the day are gone, and I was worried the pace might lag. Which it never seems to.

There’s a little lore to go around. The barest amount of backstory on the park, on all the contestants. Both expand the further we move into the competition. Of course, with the survivors of the early days enjoying more and more screen time. That’s pretty much how I expected it to go, and didn’t have a problem with the way the information came out. Instead of big info-dumps to slow down the pace, there are just little bits here and there. Glimpses of lives lived. Of the amusement park itself. Thought it all worked pretty well that way.

It’s a quick read, and took me a couple days once I really got into it. As usual, it’s the conclusion that was a bit off for me. But horror tends to work like that for me. Some of the decisions here just boggle the mind (but then, that’s horror for you; far be it from me to judge someone’s decision-making when the blood is pumping and the bodies dropping)—but there’s one in particular seemed to be made simply for the reason that the author needed the story to head in the direction they’d set the ending. For the most part the ending was pleasing. There were a few minor loose ends left open, but I figured they weren’t getting tied-off anyhow, so it didn’t disappoint me too much.

TL;DR

Hide is quite the horror show, a thrill ride that gets going quick and then doesn’t let up. Reading like Survivor meets Supernatural, there’s little enough horror to begin with, but once the competition gets rolling there are more than enough questions to go around. They start small, but soon spiral, until everything is out of control. I really don’t have much to say about this. I thought it all worked quite well together: the growing backstory blending with the present; the characters are wild cards—some believe what they’ve been told, others question everything, some just don’t care. There wasn’t a whole lot of character development or growth, but with such a large cast, in a world where knowledge comes piecemeal and commands a high price—it didn’t really bother me. I came in expecting a quick thrill ride with some horrory bits. And I was not disappointed. My advice is as follows: don’t read too much into it, you’ll be fine.

5 thoughts on “Hide – by Kiersten White (Review)

  1. Nice. I’d thought the premise sounded interesting so I’m glad to see you enjoyed it. This is certainly one I’d be willing to try. The amusement park setting seems really appealing.

    Like

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