Dani's Reviews > H.I.V.E.: Higher Institute of Villainous Education

H.I.V.E. by Mark Walden
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Aug 17, 12

bookshelves: action-adventure, books-i-own, read-in-2012
Read from August 08 to 17, 2012 — I own a copy, read count: 1

H.I.V.E. was okay, and, if you enjoy impossibly high frequencies of cheesiness and cliches, then I guess it's your kind of book. I, for one, become somewhat sceptical when the pages live and breathe cliches, and tend to groan frequently and laugh at how painful it is. This is what I was doing from the very beginning of H.I.V.E.

Let's start with Otto, our protagonist. Otto is an awesome name, but that's really the only reason I have to be fond of him, simply because he is perfect, and not in a good way. He has a photographic memory, which is fair enough, but he also 'absorbs information like a sponge' (an ability which, incidentally, let him read fluently around the age of four, without any teaching whatsoever). Well, that's fine--some people are just bookworms. He also just happens to be brilliant at technology--brilliant enough to infiltrate a political conference and to hypnotise the prime minister into making the most embarrassing speech of his life... and into mooning the audience. However, he does have weaknesses! He's not very fond of physical sport, but he can instinctively know how to swing across a cavern with some specialised gadget first time! But he does fail and get humbled--it's not like he virtually single-handedly saves the day with his plan directly afterwards, when the criminal mastermind Dr. Nero couldn't. Then there's his tragic past as an orphan--who ended up single-handedly running said orphanage. Also, he just so happens to be sponsored by the most powerful supervillain in existence. Excuse me, Otto Malpense, I didn't give you permission to be superhumanly perfect. With that said, he's not irritating; he did provoke extreme and frequent eyerolling, though.

The story itself is really cheesy too--to name a few of the things that made me cringe, there's a black cloaked assassin named 'Raven', a teacher trapped in the body of a cat, a professor who apparently takes being a mad scientist so seriously he has firework hair, the late Diabolius Darkdoom, and, the best introduction ever, "Malpense, Otto Malpense." This is only touching the surface. I understand being written for a younger audience, but this really dumbs it down. Maybe the cliches give it villainous flair--I just find it annoying and quite frankly terrible.

The narrative is dull and extremely straightforward, to the point that it specifically states that characters are 'hurt and upset'. It occasionally implements awful onomatopoeia--a gun is fired, for example, with a 'ZAP!' To say that takes away all dramatic effect is an understatement. All the characters are very, very generic. I didn't feel like I even got to know them either: they get to the school, meet each other, have their first day, and then BAM it's a month later and we're meant to root for them in their escape attempt. It all felt quite stale.

If I'd read this a few years back, I would probably have loved it. It reminds me of Alex Rider in that it's cheesy, but not necessarily awful. With that said, though, I wasn't impressed at all. It was an okay read, but it won't stay with me and I'm not trying the rest of the series.
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Reading Progress

08/08/2012 page 19
6.0% "Kind of reminds me of Alex Rider so far because it's really cheesy and cliched, but not actually bad. "Malpense... Otto Malpense" a la James Bond provoked a snort, and so did the mysterious 'Raven', cloaked in black hahahaha I mean carry on I'm totally taking this seriously"
08/08/2012 page 24
8.0% ""H.I.V.E., the school of tomorrow, today." - omfg I heard that in Sulley's voice that's too similar to the Monsters Incorporated motto addvdyjhsxhs I'm dying here I don't think it's trying to be funny"
08/09/2012 page 33
11.0% ""MWAH, MWAAAAH, MWAH!!! It sounded like three notes being played on a trumpet, very loudly. - Excuse me but unless the trumpet swallowed a cat that is the worst onomatopoeia I have seen in my life"
08/09/2012 page 52
17.0% "Wow I understand going for the mad scientist look but white firework hair, lab coat, bow tie and glasses that are closer to a contraption... yeah, don't follow it quite THAT closely"
08/09/2012 page 54
18.0% "SNORT this book is spewing cliches like it's an Olympic sport, Nigel Darkdoom my arse"
08/10/2012 page 91
31.0% "Somewhat irritated by Otto's apparently superhuman intelligence. I'm all for smart characters, but this information absorb thing seems WAY beyond human capability. I do not want a perfect character, Mark Walden. Perfection sucks. Faults (and general believability) rule."
08/12/2012 page 146
49.0% "And Otto also happens to be sponsored by the biggest super villain in the world! Hahaha, how great. Sigh. I repeat: I do not want a perfect character and he does not have to be 'special'. Well, it's too late now..."
08/12/2012 page 148
50.0% "Hahahaha I just came up with the cheesiest reason for Otto's sponsorship ever. I will scream if it turns out right."
08/12/2012 page 171
57.0% "omfg please tell me he didn't really give them a talking cat as a teacher, PLEASE"
08/12/2012 page 171
57.0% ""...I am now resident in this body while my rather confused cat is enjoying the use of opposable thumbs for the first time." - omfg the cravendale advert has come to life. Quick, the cats with thumbs are coming."
08/16/2012 page 244
82.0% ""Come now, Mr Malpense. You didn't really think it would be that easy, did you?" - HAHAHAHA omfg I think I'm meant to be worried for the team but I'm just laughing at the sheer cheesiness of that line and the fact that he's just waiting there in a convenient leather chair in the centre of the room. We just need a dramatic swivel now and H.I.V.E. will have successfully vomited every cliche known to man"
08/16/2012 page 267
90.0% "Why does Otto have to think of the winning plan that the super villains couldn't, how perfect and, uh, annoying"
08/16/2012 page 273
92.0% "Hahahaha is this meant to be Nero's redemption moment come on he didn't need one. Stop the dramatics already, they just don't work in this book."

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