Release Day Review: Hyde

Posted 18 March, 2014 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in Reviews

Release Day Review: HydeHyde by Daniel Levine
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on 2014
Genres: Classics, Fiction, Gothic, Historical, Horror, Literary
Pages: 397
Goodreads
four-half-stars

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange honest review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

What happens when a villain becomes a hero? Mr. Hyde is trapped, locked in Dr. Jekyll’s surgical cabinet, counting the hours until his inevitable capture. As four days pass, he has the chance, finally, to tell his story—the story of his brief, marvelous life. Summoned to life by strange potions, Hyde knows not when or how long he will have control of “the body.” When dormant, he watches Dr. Jekyll from a remove, conscious of this other, high-class life but without influence. As the experiment continues, their mutual existence is threatened, not only by the uncertainties of untested science, but also by a mysterious stalker. Hyde is being taunted—possibly framed. Girls have gone missing; someone has been killed. Who stands, watching, from the shadows? In the blur of this shared consciousness, can Hyde ever be confident these crimes were not committed by his hand?

I enjoyed this book quite a lot. I love retelling of classic tales and this was not an exception. Levine twist Stevenson’s original story into something that I never considered when reading the original. 

I will say, if you haven’t read The Strange Case of Dr. Jeykll and Mr. Hyde, do that first. Levine makes this easy because he includes it in the back of this novel. (Public domain, what a wonderful thing.) It’s been a few years since I had read it and while I looked up a summary on Wikipedia – I think that this book would have been more enjoyable if I had actually re-read the entire thing. The tone of the book is very similar to the original so it’s not hard to imagine Hyde as a companion piece.

Though Stevenson’s original has been reimagined many times, including in a musical, Jekyll & Hyde, with David Hasselhoff, no less – here’s a clip of the confrontation between Jeykll and Hyde. I digress… 

I’m pretty sure that this is the first retelling of the story that turns Hyde into a truly sympathetic character. The reader feels sympathy and almost affection for Hyde, who is definitely among the more under-explored villans in literature. 

The mental health aspect of this book is also interesting. While it’s definitely not an academic tome on dissociative identity disorder I found it to be an interesting peek into what it might be like (in a highly stylized and romanticized way) to suffer such a condition.

If you’re into alternate tellings of classics ala Wicked, Hyde is probably a novel you’ll enjoy.
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April @ The Steadfast Reader

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