Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

H.I.V.E. (Higher Institute Of Villainous Education)

H.I.V.E. (Higher Institute Of Villainous Education)

Mark Walden
Fiction  Series
For ages 12 to and up
Simon and Schuster, 2007   ISBN: 978-1416935711

When thirteen year old Otto Malpense wakes up he finds that he not in his familiar attic room in the orphanage in London. Instead he is in a helicopter flying to an undisclosed destination. He is in the company of a very athletic looking Asian boy of a similar age who is called Wing Fanchu. Wing does not know how he came to be on the helicopter either but the two boys soon find out when they arrive at H.I.V.E., a secret island school which teaches children how to become master criminals. The two boys join a large group of other similarly ‘abducted’ children and they are told that they are going to be spending the next six years of their lives being educated at H.I.V.E. whether they like it or not.

Otto and Wing are chosen to be in the “Alpha stream” which focuses on “leadership and strategy training” and they soon become close to two other students: Laura Brand, who is a wizard when it comes to technology and computers, and Shelby Trinity who can steal anything without anyone realizing what she is up to. All four students have one thing in common – they all want to escape from H.I.V.E. even though they know that their chances of succeeding are pretty unlikely. Security on the island is everywhere and there is always H.I.V.E.mind, the island-wide computer to deal with as well. Still, the children are determined to try despite the odds.

This is a completely addictive book which will have readers sitting with their noses glued to the pages. One can only hope that the author will write the next installment as quickly as possible! When it comes to his main characters the author only gives out little bits of information at a time, keeping his readers guessing as to what it is that makes Otto, Wing, Laura, and Shelby special. Why were they selected to be students at H.I.V.E. and who is Otto’s mysterious sponsor? Why did Wing and Laura’s parents agree to send their children to H.I.V.E. in the first place?

Packed with mysterious characters of all kinds, fabulous technological wonders, and numerous unanswered questions, this is a novel which most readers will find hard to resist.