Monday, October 24, 2016

Review: The Hill by Karen Bass

The Hill by Karen Bass
Series: Standalone
Published: March 31st, 2016
Publisher: Pajama Press
250 pages (paperback)
Genre: Young Adult Thriller/Supernatural
Acquired this book: Via Pajama Press in exchange for honest consideration
Warning: May contain spoilers
{GoodReads || Buy this book: Amazon || Chapters/Indigo

Jared's plane has crashed in the Alberta wilderness, and Kyle is first on the scene. When Jared insists on hiking up the highest hill in search of cell phone reception, Kyle hesitates; his Cree grandmother has always forbidden him to go near it. There’s no stopping Jared, though, so Kyle reluctantly follows. After a night spent on the hilltop with no cell service the teens discover something odd: the plane has disappeared. Nothing in the forest surrounding them seems right. In fact, things seem very wrong. And worst of all, something is hunting them. Karen Bass, the multi-award-winning author of Graffiti Knight and Uncertain Soldier, brings her signature action packed style to a chilling new subject: the Cree Wihtiko legend. Inspired by the real story of a remote plane crash and by the legends of her Cree friends and neighbours, Karen brings eerie life or perhaps something other than life to the northern Alberta landscape in The Hill.

Jared is used to getting his own way and getting whatever he wants. He’s dependent on technology and would rather relax in comfort in his designer clothes than do anything in the great outdoors. When his private plane crashes in the wilderness, the first person on the scene is a Cree teen named Kyle. Despite the fact Kyle tells Jared there’s no cell service nearby, Jared is determined that if he climbs the nearby hill, he’ll get reception. Kyle has always been warned away from the hill, but when Jared insists on going, Kyle knows he can’t let him go alone. Once they’ve climbed the hill, both boys quickly realize why Kyle was always told to stay away from the hill.

The Hill isn’t a typical story of survival in the wilderness. The boys do need to fend for themselves, but there’s something far more sinister than wild animals and the elements in the forest - Jared and Kyle are being pursued by a Wihtiko, a Cree legend come to terrifying life. The pair need to learn to work together and overcome their differences in order to survive. The dynamics between the two were really interesting - they’re complete opposites and have nothing in common, but in a very short time and under extreme circumstances, they forge a strong bond. Jared especially learns a lot about himself through Kyle, which was interesting to see.

The Hill was different from anything I’ve ever read. I loved that it was written by a Canadian author, set in Canada, and used a real Cree legend. I was also really happy to see a main character who was Native. This is so (unfortunately) rare that it actually made me ridiculously excited! The Hill is a creepy, paranormal twist on a survival story. It has great messages about privilege, stereotypes, and friendship. I’d particularly recommend it to fans of the TV show Supernatural - the Wihtiko is similar to the Wendigo, which Sam and Dean fought in season one.


Have you read The Hill? What did you think? If you haven't read it, do you plan to? Are you familiar with the Wihtiko (or even the Wendigo) legend? Do you have a favourite story about survival?

1 comment:

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