I received a free ebook, The Hive, from the amazing John Otte, author of the Failstate series, in order to review it. I was not disappointed. This book was excellent.
I first met John at a writers’ conference in 2009, and we’ve traveled in many of the same circles since then, so when I got a chance to pre-read his newest novel, I jumped.
Not literally, because let’s be realistic, but I was excited. So, let me tell you a little about The Hive and my thoughts on it.
A pregnant cyborg and a teenage boy fight against intergalactic governments to protect the unborn in this novel from a Christy Award-nominated author. Why is Zain pregnant? She belongs to the Hive, a collective of cyborgs who choose to live apart from the rest of human society. At times, the Hive rent out some of their females to produce tailor-made children for paying couples. But Zain is an engineer, not a breeder. When she finds herself separated from the Hive, she decides to find the person who she thinks ordered the baby. Surely they’ll help her find her way home.
Matthew “Scorn” Nelson has spent the better part of his teenage years cracking computer systems, causing mischief and havoc wherever he can. But the night of his greatest triumph turned into a painful memory, one he wants to erase. But that night was also his first step on a road to faith. When Zain arrives on his doorstep, Scorn is horrified. What’s he supposed to do with a pregnant teenage cyborg?
Unfortunately, he’ll have to answer that question on the run. Zain’s people want to reclaim her and terminate her pregnancy. And both the Ministrix and the Praesidium, two intergalactic governments in a constant state of cold war, want Zain’s baby for their own reasons. Will their enemies run them down? Or will Zain find a new Hive for both her and her child?
Now, I’m not really a hardcore Sci-Fi person. Of course, I love all things spec-fic, but I lean more towards Fantasy than Sci-Fi, so I started reading not really knowing how it would play out.
It was fantastic. The world is complex and intriguing, from the warring governments to the way data and computer systems work to the characters, everything was extremely well-ordered and consistent. There was enough explanation to get the picture of how things worked, but it was never boring.
The characters were also excellent, and their struggle was believable. They got into my head and wandered through my unconscious, making guest appearances in my dreams and beckoning me back when I was doing things other than reading.
The one thing I would’ve liked to see more of character-wise was emotion from Zain, specifically when she decides that her baby is worth keeping and she decides to run rather than submit to the Hive. This is kind of a pivotal moment in the story, and it felt glossed over.
The spiritual element is pretty overt. Personally, I thought some of the spiritual and Christianity aspects were a little preachy, which I’m not a huge fan of, and a couple of the conclusions felt like a bit of a leap based on what the characters had actually said and done, but it was not over-the-top at all. It’s handled well within the story and it’s in no way awkward.
Overall, I really, really enjoyed it. It was a great story with great characters in a great world. I would absolutely recommend it.
In fact, I DO recommend it! Buy it! Buy it now! Buy it here!
No, seriously. Go buy it. It’s awesome.