This book was recommended to me by a friend and I started reading it not knowing what it was about. The back cover was a bit vague and I had never read anything else from the author. I was skeptical but it turned to be quite an experience! Drew Magary has also written The Postmortal which seems just as quirky and it is now on my reading list.
The Hike is a book of varied themes. A flawed man on a journey of self-discovery. Our protagonist is an unwilling participant on a path that demands endurance, suffering and offers a talking crab and some magic seeds in exchange. At times there are moments which seem extremely cruel and make no sense while you’re reading them. But wait, everything has a meaning and everything is there for a very specific purpose. You just can’t see what it is. There’s a theme of completing quests and overcoming obstacles of increasing difficulty as the story goes on. If you’re a gamer then this will definitely remind you of RPG’s.
The story is pretty well written and I was absorbed into the book within the first hour. This is quite the feat considering how little of the plot you know initially. The plot moves fairly quickly but never leaves you confused. This is a rare skill and I commend Drew Magary for it!
Our hero, Ben, explores the Path, whatever it is. Ben is a well fleshed out character with a past that haunts him and which make his journey on the path difficult. We get to see Ben’s childhood and teen in flashbacks which starts to make sense with things happening on the path.
We get to see Ben forge friendships with companions and make extreme sacrifices when the path demands it. Ben, for all his flaws, loves his family and just wants to get back to them. He falters, sometimes teetering on the edge of giving up all hope but this just makes him all the more believable.
The book is funny, dark and sometimes vague just like its protagonist. I was expecting some sort of a fantasy experience but I got more than I asked for. Would definitely recommend this book!