The Hike By Drew Magary

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. The Hike

I heard a few rumblings about The Hike from people I trust so I ignored the blurb that made it sound like not really my thing. (A man who'll do anything to return to his family? Snooze.) No offense to the marketing team of this book but you should avoid reading the summary. Completely. Here is what you need to know about this book: you never know what will happen next.

It is very hard to pull off any kind of story where the entire plot is built on doing things the reader does not expect. Because eventually you're going to find a rhythm and start anticipating the surprises, right? But somehow Magary manages to gradually explain the structure of his book to you and still catch you off guard on a regular basis.

Within 10 minutes of reading I cursed aloud, which is not a thing I do. I do not talk while I read. But I was shocked. And I am not easily shocked. And the shocks kept coming.

It's also worth saying, this book has the best ending I've read all year. Honestly it's the best one in recent memory. An ending that is both incredibly satisfying and a total gut punch.

Highly recommended. You don't have to be a fantasy reader to enjoy this book, because it does not follow the rules or tropes of the genre. It is its own thing, all you need is some curiosity and a willingness to hold on and go for a ride. Hardcover 4ish stars.

More than a week later and I'm still trying to figure what exactly I read here. Here's what I know:

1) It was pretty funny. Laugh out loud in a couple spots and I'm not a laugh-out-louder (laugher-out-loud?)
2) It was pretty weird. Talking crabs and sexy giantesses are among the best supporting characters and I still don't know why they had to be crabs and giantesses. Kind of felt like Magary was just making up weird, random stuff as he was going along. Hmm... let's throw in a talking crab cuz why not.

Now that I think about it, those are the only two things I really know... Maybe there's a meaning to everything in it and there's a deep allegorical message. Definitely some people have found one. I can kind of understand where they're coming from, that everyone goes through their own personal hike that represents the trials and joys of life and accepting and understanding them all. And there is that ending.

But at the same time it felt pretty random to me. And a deep allegorical message doesn't seem consistent with the tone of the book as a whole. I kind of prefer thinking there was never actually any point or message intended and we can all just take from it what we want to. Wouldn't that be hilarious? :) Hardcover Twists and surprises on every page. Deserves shelf space next to Alice in Wonderland, The Odyssey, and other epic adventures. The outlandish plot will turn off realists, but the story is not without literary merit. The absurdity takes on symbolic significance and reveals itself as more profound than it seems. Popcorn entertainment at the surface level, but philosophical and wise on the deep end.

One of my more memorable reading experiences and a title I recommend often. Check it out! Hardcover “Every book was a door; every page a new place to hide.”

Drew Magary's The Hike was sometimes interesting and quirky, often in the beginning a bit nightmarish. That said, nothing really felt connected to me. Clearly, The Hike is meant to be episodic, a protagonist struggling against the strange circumstances he's been tossed into in his attempt to find his way back home. I guess, though, I couldn't find myself rooting for him. With that gone, everything (until the very end) seemed random. Hardcover Hardcover

review Å eBook, PDF or Kindle ePUB Ô Drew Magary

This was quite possibly the weirdest shit I've ever read. Hardcover Amazing. If any of you are looking for a pure adventure of unrivaled creativity and depth transformed from utter normality to strangeness and then topped off with a great ethical and moral conclusion topped off at the end, delivered with a really strong emotional punch to the gut, then look no further.

The hike feels, at first, like a silly and sometimes rather funny adventure, starting off with a hike during a business trip. But then it soon becomes a fantasy-land and terror-strewn nightmare and then we're treated to a wonderful reversal-filled surprise after surprise.

What this isn't, even though it's written light and fast and funny, is a strictly light and fast and funny adventure. It's dark and it's soulful and it not only touches upon the idea of what Home is, but it also explores Determinism and its converse, transforming a crazy hike into a nearly spiritual exploration of The Path, whatever the path is. Our personal journey? Perhaps Journey? Regardless, it's so much more and it's a true delight to have read this.

I honestly didn't expect it to turn out this good or this deep. Bravo! My faith in humanity is restored. My faith that wildly imaginative literature continues to be written, and written fearlessly, and all the while a great Tale is told as well.

Go Ben!

Anyone want crabcakes?

I totally recommend this for EVERYONE. It's just that good. :)

The man who sailed around his soul
From East to West, from pole to pole
With ego as his drunken captain
Greed, the mutineer, had trapped all reason in the hold

The man who walked across his heart
Who took no compass, guide or chart
To rope and tar his blood congealed
When he found his self revealed ugly and cold

-Andy Partridge, XTC, The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul

Hardcover Imagine asking a three year old to tell you a story. The beginning makes since when the kid starts with Once upon a time... and the ending is logically tied to the beginning, They lived happily ever after, but everything in between in nonsense and has no rhyme or reason.

That's what reading The Hike by Drew Magary is like. It starts with Ben taking a hike in the woods behind his hotel while away on a business trip. Then all kinds of weird things begin happening to him with scenes transitioning from one to the next with no reason behind them. One minute, he is in the woods. Suddenly, he falls in a hole and lands on the beach. Finally when the end (finally) comes, we get a little treat...and I mean little....that ties it to the beginning.

This could have been a 75-100 page book and everyone could have gotten the whole premise, but it feels like the author and/or publisher wanted to push it to close to 300 for no good reason other than to sell a book. Just fill the middle with more weird crap. It doesn't matter what it is or if it makes sense. Ok. I can do that.

I say avoid the book and find something else. Hardcover What. on. earth did I just read? This book was awesome in it's sheer weirdness. Highly recommended for getting someone out of a book rut or if you're up for something a little different. A mind-altering bildungsroman for adults. And you really can't go wrong with a foul-mouthed crab as a side-kick.

At first I was like

But the end was like
Hardcover 1.5 stars since I did read the whole thing, instead of abandoning it, which I strongly considered several times. That was a long under 300 pages story. I was bored by page 60 or so, but kept reading, hoping I'd be entertained. Nope. The best paragraph in the book is on the last page, which reminds the reader of something Teresa said to Ben a while before the whole path nonsense. Hardcover