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Auhor: A.J. Betts
ISBN: 9781760556433
RRP: $16.99
Publication Date: 26th June 2018
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher

A.J. Betts is an award-winning Australian author and Hive is my introduction to her work.

Hive is an alternate-world story that was actually not what I expected. This is a young adult title that I think is probably well suited to the mid-range of the demographic. There is quite a lovely naivety and innocence about the characters that would fit well with the younger end of the scale but some of the themes may still be a little too much. Having said that I think older audiences will still enjoy the story, I know I certainly did.

It’s hard to really explain what I have going on in my head because it is told quite simplistically but is a rather complex storyline.

Hayley is living in an enclosed world that is strictly regimented and everyone has their place in the community. Her world is small, her knowledge is passed down through generations and the language is rather simplistic. They are only taught the words for those things within the realm of their experience, and they are a religious community with an all-seeing God.

It was early on in the story that I started questioning the nature of this community and trying to piece together what it all meant, but I don’t think I actually figured it out before it unfolded on the pages.

The community Hayley is a part of is quite small, close knit and well guided, until the people come along that aren’t happy to just accept the status quo; they have questions and they want answers, they want to understand and know how and why it all works…. and that isn’t always a good thing.

Curiosity is a character trait that can land you in tricky situations when the older generations can’t or won’t answer your questions. If you do have an inquiring mind that needs to know how and why things work there is little that is more frustrating than a non-answer. ‘God works in mysterious ways’ isn’t going to satisfy the curiosity.

Early on I’m making mental comparisons to The Truman Show and…. another one that I can’t name right now. Yes, they are both enclosed communities but that is where the similarities end really.

At the conclusion of this book a lot of pieces fell into place and I could feel myself putting the mental pieces together as I was reading and the final chapters were answering the questions I had. I was happy with how it all came together and then it just stopped. Lucky for me, I knew there was a second book to come but I would have been bitterly disappointed thinking that was where it ended.

Hayley and her community are trained from early on how to think and what is acceptable, their class systems are far removed from what we see these days but they are well documented and strictly enforced. Marriage is required but it is done with a lot of ceremony because it has to be followed to make sure it is a suitable match, a small gene pool makes it even trickier to make sure you aren’t mixing genes that are best left separate.

Hive is written in a way that leaves the reader questioning when and where this community is situated because the story is told in a way that leaves you thinking it could be anywhere. It’s a sustainable hive that grows it’s own food, produces it’s own oxygen and has a supply of meat. It is also a community that has no known recollections of life before the hive, they’ve been there for generations and generations and no-one knows what was before. This plotline certainly had me intrigued.

I enjoyed the way the storyline played out and I will be keeping an eye out in 2019 for Rogue to see how the story ends. I think that sometimes it’s difficult to come up with a truly original story but Betts has woven different elements to create something unique.

Hive is book #27 for the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge 2018.

A.J. Betts can be found on Facebook, Twitter and her Website.

Hive is published by Pan Macmillan and is available now from Angus & Robertson Bookworld, Booktopia and where all good books are sold.

Thanks to Pan Macmillan 15 of our Beauty and Lace Club Members will be reading Hive so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below. I can not wait to hear what our readers think.

16 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: Hive

  1. Wow! What an amazing book! I couldn’t put this book down. The story seems very simple but is actually quite complex, the story is centred around the main character and seeing her world from from her eyes. The story kept me guessing right to the end, with a few twists and turns in it. For a while I couldn’t work out if it was an alternate world within our world, a different planet, or simply a cult. The author did a brilliant job with the plot and character development, you feel the main characters confusion and terror throughout the story.
    It’s really hard to pinpoint a genre, apparently it’s YA although, as an almost middle-aged woman, I REALLY enjoyed it and am desperate for the sequel to come out.

  2. I found this book a bit weird at first, but I ended up loving it. Looking forward to reading the next one when it comes out next year.

  3. An interesting plot and storyline with well well delivered characters. A few twists in the story line that will leave you wandering. Ya but great for those readers who do like a well paced but easy read.

    A mixture of a few genres from my point of view. Science fiction – dystopian kinda feel to it .

    I enjoyed the concept that these people had made them all think that this is the only world existing and questions and things begin to unravel . A good build up of suspense, that will leave the reader eager to read on and find out more. The ending left us intrigued, eagerly awaiting book 2.

    A good mix of good and bad , the author delivers a thought provoking read that is entertaining and leaves the reader in thought as to what direction we will be taken !!

    Look forward to book 2

  4. Hayley follows the rules. She tends to the bees, and when a bee goes rogue, she captures it. Until one day, while following a rogue, she discovers a drip. The drip leads to lies, a death, a boy, a beast… and lots of questions.

    Hayley and her best friend Celia are gardeners, with Hayley working with bees. Her role includes chasing bees who go where they are not supposed to, and catching them to return them to the hives. The story is based in a very regimented community, comprising of a set of buildings connected via corridors. Every person is given a role within the community, including gardening, enginers and kitcheners. The elders are known as aunts and uncles.

    Hive is the first in a two-book series, and it ends on a real cliffhanger! I could barely put the book down. I found it really interesting to read about a world that is not my own, and A.J. Betts did a great job detailing the characters’ world in such a way that allows you to be transported in.

    This book takes you on a real adventure, even though it is centred in such a small world. There are different words for things, and it makes you wonder why there are different names and descriptions. The characters’ experiences are different from my own. But the way everything is described leaves you feeling like you are part of that world. I love all of the characters in this book!

    I really can’t wait for the follow up novel to be released!

  5. Not the usual genre of book that I would read but it kept me occupied for 3 or so days pretty easily..

    It is very cleverly written and you get engaged with it without even knowing. Great build up of suspense and can’t wait to read the next sequel.

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