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The Hike

Written by: Drew Magary
Narrated by: Christopher Lane
Length: 8 hrs and 4 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (53 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From the author of The Postmortal, a fantasy saga unlike any you've listened to 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 listeners on a daring odyssey away from our day-to-day grind and transports them into an enthralling world propelled by heart, imagination, and survival.

©2016 Drew Magary (P)2016 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.

What the critics say

"Magary's second novel (after The Postmortal) features elements reminiscent of Homer's Odyssey, Stephen King's "Dark Tower" series, Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, and the PC game King's Quest. Mostly, it is a reminder of not only how easy it is to get lost but also how difficult it can be to find one's way back. Fast-paced and immensely entertaining, this is highly recommended for sf fans and adventurous literary readers." --Library Journal, starred review

"In this literary odyssey, Magary combines fascinating dream imagery, assorted video game tropes, and a story structure that's deliberately predictable (with nods to many other tales of wandering through strange lands before returning home) but still surprising." --Publishers Weekly

"Creepy.... Magary isn't shy about getting weird fast.... [He] even nails the ending with a Twilight Zone twist that would have Rod Serling nodding with approval. An eerie odyssey that would be right at home in the pages of the pulpy Warren comics." --Kirkus Reviews

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Mind numbing

I paid for it so I was determined to finish. It had positive reviews so I kept waiting for it to improve....nope... it never happened. It took me forever to finish since I actually had to slog through but my mind would keep drifting away.

4 people found this helpful

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Strange but engaging

It is a very odd tail about a hike which I can't actually say anything about without making this a spoiler. It is in the tradition of all epic journeys such as the Oddesy, a voyage home, vs Lord of the rings, a quest to something out for a cause. The situations are interesting, the pace is good and the performance is very good.

2 people found this helpful

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Like a season of Lost

While this book isn't a literary masterpiece, it was a really imaginative romp, reminiscent of a season of Lost where the improbable becomes reality. I remained engaged throughout the story and felt it had a satisfying ending. I would recommend this one!

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Strange but captivating

I bought the book without reading the synopsis so I had no idea what to expect. The story was fast paced and entertaining. It drew me in very quickly and made me guessing until the end. The performance of the reader was also excellent.

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  • skysewblue
  • 2017-05-18

Didn't get past the first chapter

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Christopher Lane?

Narrator was wonderful.

Any additional comments?

It was the reviews that pulled me in, 4+ stars over 2000 reviews. But I didn't get past the first chapter, excessive use of swear words stopped me. Over use of expletives is a sure sign of trying too hard to be one of the crowd and nothing good come from it. I'm glad audible has a refund policy.

30 people found this helpful

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  • David
  • 2017-05-08

Best ending I can remember

Is Kaufkaesk the right term for this book? Both the reader and main character are thrown into dark and confusing world, and struggling to understand why, what to do. As the story goes on our main character character slowly figures out the "path" in his never ending effort to get back to his family.

In most books the reader feels like he has one up on the main character, in that the reader has a better idea of what's going on. In a zombie apocalypse book, the reader already knows there will be zombies and how to kill them and we get frustrated watching the tropeish characters struggle to figure it out. Magary gives the reader no extra context so there are times when we are every bit as lost as our hero. This just adds to the story.

The trials on the path become a great allegory for life. There are moments of toil, fear, horror, self loathing, self pity, love, companionship, longing, resignation, and times where its laugh out loud funny. There is a sexy Giant, a sarcarstic talking crab, the undead, and serial killers. Beyond that its hard to its hard to say much without giving anything away. Just get this book and enjoy the ride; you won't be disappointed.

42 people found this helpful

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  • Karen Moran
  • 2017-06-04

Take a Hike

I was a little hesitant to get this book as some of the reviews said the main character was whiny or that the book went on to long. I was well rewarded for ignoring those negative comments as The Hike was a excellent story with a relatable character thrust into a really crazy situation. If you're looking for unusual but highly engaging story take a chance on The Hike.

45 people found this helpful

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  • Maureen
  • 2017-05-08

couldn't finish it... too dark

I just couldn't stay with this. Just too dark and negative... and I didn't make it that far. Perhaps it gets better, but if you like books with a balance of up and down, like me, you might look elsewhere.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Ketil
  • 2017-01-06

Kafkaesque novel that went on way too long

It seems to be endemic to the genre, but Kafkaesque writers never know when to quit and wrap it up. What I like about the novel is that there are many individual scenes that are memorable, sometimes because they are entertaining and sometimes because they are slightly disturbing. And there are few well-described peaceful, almost beautiful moments, but not many. Also there is some humor from time to time.

What I don't like is that the book just kept going on and on like the novels of Kafka or Stanislaw Lem. The reader can already guess the end but has to slug through the mire to get the closure he\she deserves.

All that being said, some of it stuck with me after listening, and I might just listen to it again though for the life of me I can't say why.

132 people found this helpful

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  • The Super-duper Amazing Silver Golem
  • 2017-02-17

Confusing. Terrifying. Oddly enlightening.

At first "The Hike" seems like a psychological horror, but it is a bit more than that. As the novel moves on towards the end there is a twist and a thoughtful lesson in it.

A man named Ben goes down a hiking trail and gets lost after witnessing something horrifying, but it quickly becomes apparent that reality itself has become twisted and starts testing him with hardships. In a mature man's darker version of wonderland, Ben struggles through these challenges on the path wondering how to get back home and why he is being tested at all.

The narrator does a great job bringing Ben's brittleness and emotional states to the surface of the audiobook. You can really get a feel for the character and what he is going through.

Recommended those who enjoy books such as "Alice in Wonderland" or movies such as "Pan's Labrinth". Anyone drawn to a chaotic tale where every event in it is a metaphor and a puzzle will most likely enjoy "The Hike".

33 people found this helpful

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  • Cikd
  • 2017-10-25

Dad fiction for unimaginative people

Starts strong but quickly devolves into nonsense. The story becomes an uninspiring adventure novel where every other character is more interesting than the main one. It uses a plot device that is simply throwing things on the ground to see if they work, no thinking required. It grows into a yearlong adventure where the only thing that develops is your distaste for the whiny protagonist(?) and culminates with an interesting moral dilemma that it completely brushes aside with “clever” writing. The best part of the book is the cover.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Diana
  • 2016-09-02

Wearisome dark journey, too long.

Based on the good reviews and fairly high ratings, I bought this book. I got halfway through and then decided to switch to something else for a while . . . something more positive. Coming back, it was still too dark and never-ending. I tried skipping forward a bit and it was the same old same old . . .

I don't understand the good reviews for this book. In the meantime, I've listened to some very good books, and coming back to this one . . . there's no point in wasting any more time on it.

People have different taste in entertainment. This is far too dark and boring for me.

110 people found this helpful

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  • Richard D. Shewman
  • 2017-02-23

Kafkaesque certainly and my new favorite

The book is a Kafkaesque contemporary telling of the Odyssey myth. The protagonist is a bit whiney at times but he is going through a process of growth and the whiney character at the beginning of the story hardens into a much wiser character by the end of the book. I enjoyed the book and was sorry to see it come to an end.

The narration was very well done.

21 people found this helpful

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  • Gene
  • 2020-04-01

Enjoy your journey

This book is better with every listen
I last indulged in this book when it first was released and recently Re discovered it
It is not for everyone
But where I am in life it is helping me appreciate my time and my loved ones more.
Happy listening
And thanks for looking at my review

4 people found this helpful