Book Review: Hive and Heist

Hi friends! Today’s review might surprise some of you who know my love for a good historical romance or YA contemporary – but I’ve been branching out more in my reading, and I’m excited to share with you. Read on to find out about today’s venture into the science fiction world of Hive and Heist!


I actually read both books in the series for this tour, so here’s a summary of both:

Queen & Commander by Janine A. Southard
(Hive Queen Saga #1)
Publication date: May 2014
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
**WINNER 2013 IPPY AWARD — Silver Medal for Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror E-Book**

On a world where high school test scores determine your future, six students rebel. They’ll outrun society as fast as their questionably obtained spaceship will take them.

Rhiannon doesn’t technically cheat the Test. She’s smarter than the computers that administer it, and she uses that to her advantage. She emerges from Test Day with the most prestigious future career possible: Hive Queen.

Gwyn & Victor are madly in love, but their Test results will tear them apart. Good thing Rhiannon is Gwyn’s best friend. Rhiannon can fix this. Queens can do anything.

Gavin is the wild card. Raised off-planet, he can’t wait to leave again… and he’s heard of an empty ship in orbit. The Ceridwen’s Cauldron.

Both Luciano and Alan fit in the system. They don’t need to leave. Only their devotion to Rhiannon spurs them to join the Cauldron’s crew.

Spaceships. Blackmail. Anywhere but here.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000446_00062]BOOK TWO:
Hive & Heist by Janine A. Southard
(Hive Queen Saga #2)
Publication date: May 2014
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Queen Rhiannon and her Hive have found safety on John Wayne Station, but with no way to pay their docking fees or Victor’s medical bills, their debts are racking up quickly. Thankfully, Gavin gets a job with American Space Ranger M3L-15-A, who’s hot on the trail of dangerous criminals.

The teens move in with their Ranger benefactor, but when they revisit their ship to pick up personal belongings, they realize their Alcubierre tensor jet has been stolen!

If Rhiannon and her Hivemates ever hope to leave, they must find and steal back what’s theirs. But far from home and among strangers, who can they trust? Will they be stuck on John Wayne for the rest of their lives?

REVIEW: I read both Queen and Commander and Hive and Heist within a week, and I was pleasantly entertained by the adventure that unfolds across several fascinating worlds and through space. Southard’s worlds are populated by a number of fascinating people and creations, and one of her greatest strengths is definitely her worldbuilding. Customs and cultures are diverse and reflective of many ways of life, and each is distinctive and unique. The interactions and challenges created by these differences are realistic and provide an interesting context in which the greater plot occurs.
At times it seemed there was too much repetition and it felt a bit as though Southard wanted to be very, very sure the reader understood every detail of something, rather than trusting the reader’s imagination to fill in gaps and understand characters’ motivations and the impact their actions would have on one another. There was quite a bit of head-hopping, which made it difficult for me personally to connect to some of the characters, and at times it seemed the plot dragged while aspects of character and plot were emphasized and explained in significant detail. However, for many readers this level of explanation and detail is enjoyable, and it certainly ensured that I did not have questions regarding why characters made certain choices.
I recommend these books for readers who enjoy fun and creative space adventuring and intriguing new cultures revealed in a a world filled with new frontiers and great adventures.
Janine A. Southard writes and edits speculative fiction in between working on videogame projects. She’s attended more than the average number of universities, which she claims is a FEATURE. (“Oxford educated, but Californian at heart.”) She’s also lived and traveled in Europe, the United States, and Japan. Currently, she lives in Seattle with a husband (and a cat) and sings with a Celtic band.
Author Links:

One thought on “Book Review: Hive and Heist

  1. I like the sounds of this and I live it when the world is really well built with a lot of details and characters, and culture etc is also important to make it all believable. Glad you liked it, Jamie! Great review!

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