I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Every Hidden Thing by Kenneth Oppel
Published by HarperCollins Canada on September 20th 2016
Genres: Action & Adventure, Fiction, General, Historical, Romance, Young Adult
Format: Physical ARC
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Somewhere in the Badlands, embedded deep in centuries-buried rock and sand, lies the skeleton of a massive dinosaur, larger than anything the late nineteenth-century world has ever seen. Some legends call it the Black Beauty, with its bones as black as ebony, but to seventeen-year-old Samuel Bolt, it’s the “rex,” the king dinosaur that could put him and his struggling, temperamental archaeologist father in the history books (and conveniently make his father forget he’s been kicked out of school), if they can just quarry it out.
But Samuel and his father aren’t the only ones after the rex. For Rachel Cartland this find could be her ticket to a different life, one where her loves of science and adventure aren’t just relegated to books and sitting rooms. And if she can’t prove herself on this expedition with her professor father, the only adventures she may have to look forward to are marriage or spinsterhood.
As their paths cross and the rivalry between their fathers becomes more intense, Samuel and Rachel are pushed closer together. Their flourishing romance is one that will never be allowed. And with both eyeing the same prize, it’s a romance that seems destined for failure. As their attraction deepens, danger looms on the other side of the hills, causing everyone’s secrets to come to light and forcing Samuel and Rachel to make a decision. Can they join forces to find their quarry, and with it a new life together, or will old enmities and prejudices keep them from both the rex and each other?
Every Hidden Thing is another book with a summary that doesn’t really do the story justice. I was expecting a novel that was very different from the one I got. I really can’t complain that this novel’s summary led me astray because the actual book was so much better than expected!
The novel opens with an intense fight between the fathers of main characters over the correct placement of a set of vertebra (or is it actually tail bones?) on a plesiosaurs. Thus begins the very public and disruptive competition between two very different men that spills over into their children. The competition inevitably causes Rachel and Samuel to come together and bond over their life passions: dinosaurs. While searching for the T-rex the two main characters share stories develop a very real connection, all the while hiding their new found romance from their squabbling fathers.
Every Hidden Thing is a novel about growing up, independence, competition and over coming the odds. Although this is a novel about first love, it is also a deeper tale of capturing opportunities. It’s about following one’s heart as well as chasing one’s dreams.
I loved that this book featured archaeology. Seriously, the writing of novels featuring archeology with a profound and realistic story arch is so very rare. Oppel has written a novel that is not only well written and well researched, but it is enjoyable without the necessity of an out-landish plot and dramatic fire fights. Every Hidden Thing draws it’s tension and drama from the characters themselves to develop a wonderfully developed set of interpersonal and intrapersonal struggles. The foundation may be in the search for the illustrious T-rex, but this novel’s intensity comes from masterfully developed characters.
Every Hidden Thing is a well written piece of literature with a wonderfully unique plot. The historical adventure alone was beautifully done – regardless of the complex character interactions and adorable romance.
My only concern during this novel was keeping tabs on which character’s head I was currently in. Unfortunately in the ARC copy of the book I found that the fonts chosen might have been too similar for me to full differentiate between characters and lead me to become confused as to whether I was in Samuel or Rachel’s head. The ingenuity of head skipping on this level kept me enthralled throughout the book, keeping me hooked until the very last page regardless of how confusing the changes often proved to be.
I don’t know how else to really put into words how much I enjoyed this novel. It was Indiana Jones if he and his rival had children.
This novel will appeal to readers who enjoy historical fiction, adventure, archeology and romance. I would definitely suggest this read for older teens or adults who enjoy YA/NA novels due to the fact the story spans several years. I would definitely suggest this to archeological adventure movie fans or fans of young adult novels with unique plots.
When I received a copy of Every Hidden Thing from Harper Collins’ #HCCFirstLook I was pretty excited. I wasn’t sure what I would think of the novel, but I was incredibly excited to be one of 10 people chosen to review a novel not yet released in Canada. Special thank you to Harper Collins for hosting this program for Canadian readers. Check out their website to see what novel is up this month!