I recently reviewed Richard Sala’s creepy horror graphic novel Delphine on this blog, a modern and dark retelling of the classic story of Snow White from the eyes of the Prince coming to save her. I enjoyed Delphine a lot, though I felt it was a little unsatisfying in the end. This minor criticism didn’t keep me from being intrigued by Sala’s earlier novel, The Hidden:
I received Sala’s book a few days ago, and wasn’t disappointed. The Hidden is a chilling and very clever take on the post-apocalyptic horror tale.
The story begins with a nightmare, followed by the beginning of the end. A man wakes up to a tremendous commotion outside of his small second floor apartment. Through the window, the city is burning and already practically in ruins, as monstrous and deformed humanoids wander about, slaughtering the population at will. The man, who seems to have some awareness of what is actually going on, flees to the countryside, where a terrible conflagration leaves him senseless for days. When he is found by a pair of desperate survivors, he offers to lead them to a place that he believes will offer sanctuary — though he claims to otherwise have total amnesia.
Along the route to safety, other survivors are encountered and share their stories, leading to a growing understanding of what has befallen the entire world. The final destination, however, leads to the most horrific revelation of them all.
The Hidden carries significant punch to it, and the depictions of the apocalypse and the struggles of the survivors are both shockingly graphic and effective. The character development is quite good for a graphic novel that mostly involves a handful of survivors wandering through a desolate wasteland!
The final act is a nearly perfect one, and the explanation of armageddon was both surprising and satisfying to me. The origin of the monsters plaguing the world is a refreshing change from the now tedious (to me) hordes of zombies that populate the bookshelves.
Like Delphine, The Hidden is a relatively short book, considering it is a graphic novel. I had read the entire thing in a short period of time, though I did find myself rewarded by repeat readings. This is one of the only criticisms that someone should take into account when buying it.
Fans of good, inventive horror, and well-drawn and written graphic novels, will find The Hidden a very satisfying (and horrifying) treat.
(Check the Amazon link to read the first few pages of the book.)