Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

H.I.V.E. Escape Velocity

H.I.V.E. Escape Velocity

Mark Walden
Fiction  Series
For ages 12 and up
Simon and Schuster, 2011   ISBN: 978-1442421851

Dr. Nero, the headmaster of H.I.V.E (Higher Institute of Villainous Education) has been kidnapped. Considering that he is a master villain himself, and was accompanied by his bodyguard Raven at the time of the kidnapping, this news is very unsettling. It turns out that the leader of an organization called H.O.P.E. (Hostile Operative Prosecution Executive) claims that he has captured Nero as part of H.O.P.E.’s “ongoing war on terror.”

H.I.V.E gets a new headmistress, and Otto Malpense and his three closest friends soon figure out that it would be better if they disappeared for a while. Raven (who was presumed dead) comes and rescues them from the school, and soon they are allied with Diabolus Darkdoom, a villain whose son is a student at H.I.V.E. The plan is to break into the MI6 building in London to retrieve information regarding Nero’s whereabouts so that they can rescue Nero from H.O.P.E.

By some miracle, the young villains-in-making are able to achieve this goal, but they soon realize that something else is going on. Someone is interested in bringing back Overlord, a “psychotic, impossibly dangerous, rogue artificial intelligence” and it would appear that Number One, the leader of G.L.O.V.E (Global League of Villainous Enterprises) is behind this effort in some way. Though there is much confusion about what is going on, one thing is clear to Otto and his allies: they have to focus on rescuing Nero and making sure that Overlord is not brought back.

Readers who enjoyed the first two books in this exciting and unusual series will surely enjoy this installment. It is interesting to see how even the villains (all the heroes in this story are essentially crooks of one kind or another) have their own moral code, and how there are certain things that they will not tolerate from one of their own kind. As the story unfolds, the mystery of who Otto is is revealed, and H.I.V.E.mind, the AI who takes care of H.I.V.E., turns out to have hidden depths.