HIDE follows a group of 14 young people who get the chance of a life-time. Head to the Amazement Park to spend 7 days playing Hide and Go Seek. Each contestant is carefully selected for this opportunity and could really use this chance to change their lives, because the prize is enough money to make any of their dreams come true.
The rules are simple. Don’t be found. The consequences may just be a bit hard to swallow.
This book came as a recommendation from one of my favorite authors, Chuck Wendig, and between that cover and the blurb, I couldn’t pass it up. I am so glad that I took the time to read this story. It covers all of your basics. Suspense. Revenge. And a bit of the old fashioned “something worth fighting for” morale.
All in all not a bad read, and one I would recommend if you’re looking for something simple.
From the beginning you are thrown into this world of curiosity with the back story of the Amazement Park. This wonderful, thrilling amusement park set in rural America, where people flocked from miles just to ride all of the latest attractions. That is until an untimely disappearance of a little girl that had the park shut down and set it up for use of our 14 contestants that are flown in from around the world to compete in the hide-and-go seek contest.
The grand prize is $50,000 dollars. With that kind of cash dangling before you, who would say no to just spending 7 days playing a simple child’s game? Mack, our main character, sure couldn’t say no. Even with her horrid history with the game.
Through Mack, we are introduced to the 13 other players, including Ava, whom Mack takes a special interest in from the start. Despite her reluctance to get close to anyone, and preference to just be invisible in the world. Because that is how she survived for so long; by hiding and remaining quiet. Which is why, she believes she is perfect for this game and takes on the challenge.
Really, while there are some interesting characters – like LeGrand, Brandon, and even a writer named Ian that I would have loved to learn more about – The rest of them really seem kind of 2D. They are there just for the sacrifice and to move the story along without killing off any main characters. Seriously, at the end of the book, they are remembering all those that originally came in with them, and not even the Mack could remember the name of the guy that died on the first day.
Even the villains are just kind of there as people to fill in plot holes like – How did they find the descendants? How did they keep the outside world from getting suspicious of disappearances? How do they keep the contestants in the gates once the monster is revealed? – Things like that.
Once inside the park, they are given a quick rundown of the rules. Hide during the day, and at night they get to rest. Each day, two contestants will be eliminated. The last one standing gets the prize money. No cameras, no cellphones, no contact with the outside world for seven days.
There is just one thing off about the elimination process. No one gets to say good-bye once they are eliminated. They are just out of the game. By day three, the screams of fallen contestants are heard. By day five, while their hiding from each other, they find the true culprit. On day six, they get their revenge.
The story itself is a rather quick read. Each day presents a new bit of information about the remaining contestants and the backstory behind how this particular contest was set up and why. What you wind up learning is that each contestant is a descendant of the original 14 town founders that made a pact with the devil.
Every seven years they must sacrifice 14 of their own flesh and blood, and in return, they get wealth and success. The town never has to worry about droughts, or recessions. The towns people never have to worry about if their children are going to return from war. Just as long as they manage to scrap together 14 living souls from some where in their family line for the beast to eat up.
And the person to pull all of this together? The ring leader? Linda, of course, and the other direct descendants of the original 14 that sacrificed themselves to make this deal. Most of them don’t really care who it is they sacrifice as long as it is not themselves and one of their own.
Which, of course, makes them the true villains of the story. Greed and selfishness taking front row seats as the monsters in the book as the towns people turn a blind eye to what is happening to the unknowing contestants.
The whole story is social commentary about how the wealthy are constantly sacrificing the poor for their own gain. It’s only when Mack, Ava, and LeGrand figure out their ordeal that they are able to turn the beast on its captors.
Not so much to kill the beast, but to let him roam and eat his fill on those who imprisoned him for so many years. Not 100% sure what the beast is supposed to represent. Rather it’s capitalism, the fight against the older generations mindset, who knows for certain. I’ll leave that up for debate in the comments.
What I do know, is once again, I got to the end of the story and I was just kind staring into space for a moment wondering what just happened. They manage to break the gate down and release the beast, but that is it. There is no specifics if the beast dies once he goes through the gate, if he manages to kill Linda and the rest of the people running the show, or if he just keeps going after Mack and the others. You’re just left with a big question mark that was kind of depressing.
So, if you’re looking for a quick read with little to no gore, and don’t mind some serious head hopping in your story – seriously think game of thrones kind of head hopping – then you got yourself a good weekends worth of reading here. Just don’t get to particular about plot, or characterization, or anything like that.
Until next time!