Every Hidden Thing by Kenneth Oppel | Review

Thursday, October 13, 2016
Title:  Every Hidden Thing
Author: Kenneth Oppel
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: October 11th, 2016
Source: NetGalley
Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
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?

What I thought

Here's a little secret about yours truly: as a kid I wanted to be a paleontologist. I blame this largely on my parents taking me to a museum at the tender and impressionable age of six and setting me loose to ask as much as I pleased. So, of course when I read the blurb for this book and it was all about paleontology and romance I wanted to be in on it. I wish that by the end my feelings were the same.

The book opens up with Sam's and Rachel's dads fighting, and then proceeds to make it clear that Sam is not irrevocably in love with Rachel. Insta-love is a no no for me, folks. A big no no, actually. So, that alone had me putting my guard up as I ventured into the book.

To this a journey into the Wild West followed, and our leads were reunited. Oh, joyous occasion! Of course, their respective fathers got them spying on each other and then proceeded to quarrel.Their father's rivalry isn't any better than two children fighting over candy, or a toy. It's silly and preposterous and it greatly took away from my potential enjoyment of the book.

I'm not going to lie, by this point I was mostly skimming the book. It seemed that despite the promise of dinosaurs and romance and whatnot, I just couldn't get invested in the characters or the story.
Oddly enough, one of the things I could relate to most was Samuel's fear of being bled to death by mosquitoes. I thought this very same thing when I was in the fourth grade. I would bundle under my covers even in the scorching desert heat to avoid this morbid fate. I just couldn't connect to Rachel or Sam, or their love story. I wasn't invested in this book, not its characters and not its premise.

I finished the book and I found that my enjoyment hadn't increased, if anything I grew weary. This book wasn't for me, it had insta-love, two leads I, personally, couldn't connect to and a premise that seemed promising, but failed to deliver. However, there were some passages of writing I did like, just on the value of writing itself. All in all, not a great read for me.


  1. The premise does sound interesting, it's a shame that it didn't deliver.

    I'm also not a fan of insta-love. I do read books like that because, generally, they're quick and fresh reads, but I don't really get to connect with the relationship of the characters because of this. It seems too fake and too easy.

    I tagged you to do the Harry Potter Tag! If you'd like to be part of it, feel free to check my post to see the questions: The Harry Potter Tag.

    Salha | The Journeys of a Girl

    1. Yeah, it's sad that it didn't.

      Sometimes I can put up with it, but this was not one of those times. Yeah, I agree on the too fake and too easy.

      Thank you! I'll be sure to check it out and do the tag, too.