**Please do not read this review if you intend to read this book and haven’t yet. I discuss a major plot twist and don’t want to spoil it for anyone.**
Hyde is the story of Jekyll and Hyde from the villain’s point of view and what a story it is. The visceral and sense obsessed descriptions are just what one would expect from a character that is made almost completely of someone’s baser nature, but if you have a weak stomach, you may want to steer clear of this disturbing tale.
The story is told in flashbacks from Hyde’s final days as he’s holed up in Dr. Jekyll’s lab: “I don’t want to die at all, but if there’s no escaping it, then at the very least I want to remember everything properly first, the way it truly happened. The truth is inside this head. I simply must extract it. In the end no one will know it but me, but that will be enough.” pg 10, ebook. I never considered it before, but how would it feel to be shut away inside someone’s mind in a type of half life, always looking out from someone’s eyes, then to be suddenly thrust into a body, given complete control, and then blamed for everything that inevitably goes wrong.
Levine’s darkly imaginative reasons why Jekyll would have “created” Hyde in the first place were chilling. I found myself pitying Hyde rather than fearing him: “It was a frustrating, blinding feeling, my ignorance. I wanted to know what my purpose was, what Jekyll needed me for.” pg 36, ebook. I always wondered that too. After the first failed experiment, Jekyll summons Hyde forth again and again with increasingly awful results. He could have just stopped after the first time and been like, “whoa, THAT was a bad idea” and chucked the rest of his solution into the river. Hyde examines the twisted motivations behind the repeated transformations.
It also looks into the infinite nature of the human psyche. The rest of this review is going to have a major spoiler in it, but I have to talk about it to truly discuss this story because this twist is what elevated Hyde in my mind from a horror story with cheap thrills to a spine tingling look into the darkness of the abyss that could exist in the soul.
How about the idea that Mr. Hyde could have a dark side of his own? That, within a damaged and fractured mind, there’s no end to the shadows that could emerge. The worst of the actions recorded in Jekyll and Hyde were not done consciously by either man, but by a monster that was created by the rage that Jekyll suppressed in his childhood. I thought that was genius. I only wish Mr. Seek had a bigger part in this tale! Because, beyond that huge twist, this story felt repetitive.
Recommended for readers who enjoy dark, violent re-tellings and can tolerate a slower paced read. Some similar, grisly tales: The Last Werewolf or Black Moon.