ABOUTTitle: Every Hidden Thing
Author: Kenneth Oppel
Publisher: Harper Collins
Release Date: September 20th 2016
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?
I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion whatsoever.
Gosh, I haven't read a Kenneth Oppel book in ages and I was surprised to learn that there was a new one coming out. Thank you HarperCollins for informing me of this novel! I quite enjoyed this one!
Every Hidden Thing revolves around Rachel Cartland and Samuel Bolt. They’re both quite similar to each other: both their fathers are palaeontologists, they both lost their mothers at a young age and they both aspire to also be palaeontologists. You would think that they would get along really well, and they do. However, their fathers have a bitter rivalry with a mutual hatred of each other.
As both Rachel and Samuel try to establish their future as palaeontologists, they seek out opportunities with their father and to prove themselves worthy. And because of the rivalry between their fathers, it brings Rachel and Samuel together since they just so happen to find themselves on their way to the same dig site.
I hate their fathers. Seriously, I hate them. Rachel’s father is characteristically sexist for the time period this is set in and he also seeks out opportunities to sabotage Samuel’s father. While on the other hand, Samuel’s father is not much better than Rachel’s father in trying to seek ways to sabotage him. He treats Samuel with a sort of disregard in that he’s more interested in bones than he is in his son.
Rachel is a very logical girl and is plain in appearance as she calls herself. She is very self aware of the fact that she is not pretty and she wouldn’t have a long list of suitors. Instead, she turns her interest towards dinosaurs and archaeology. She wants to go to university and become an archaeologist like her father, but he insists that she stay with her aunt and go to all the social events to find herself a good husband.
Samuel is a tall and handsome boy and has always had girls interested in him. He’s hotheaded like his father and got himself expelled from high school. His father wants him to go to university and obtain a degree so that people wouldn’t question Samuel’s finds like his peers question him since he doesn’t have a degree of his own. However, Samuel wants to get straight into it and skip university.
I like the both of them. They’re clearly flawed and imperfect and I definitely questioned their relationship at times, but it definitely made them more human and relatable. The novel switches point of view quite often between Rachel and Samuel within the chapters. It doesn’t really tell you who is speaking what part, but the points of view are differentiated by font and you can easily figure out from the beginning which font belongs to which character. The novel is also split into three parts that really make sense for the story.
There’s also some rampant racism towards the Aboriginals, characteristic of the time period, but still just as disgusting and horrifying to read. The main characters themselves don’t display any racist acts in the novel, but oh boy, Professor Cartland had me so rage-y.
Overall, I really enjoyed this novel! It's a fun historical fiction novel with dinosaurs, romance and adventure.