Hive by A.J. Betts
Published by Pan Macmillan
Date: 26 June 2018
R.R.P. $16.99


I am sure many of my readers are familiar with A.J Betts and her Zac & Mia books.  Well A.J. has taken a leap and bought us something very different with her new book, Hive.  It is nothing like I normally read, but I was hooked from page one and wanted to keep reading all night to finish it.  The world in which Hayley, Celia, Luka and the Son lived screamed artificial and claustrophobic, but not to them – well not at first…

The first person we meet in the book is  Hayley, who tends to the bees and faithfully follows the rules that have been ingrained in her.  For the most part she seems happy, smart and dedicated to her bees.  Along with her friend Celia, they go through their days working, following routine and sharing secrets that would have dire consequences if they were found out.  It’s not until the discovery of a drip that Hayley begins questioning the world in which she lives.  At first she thinks she is going mad, but the questions build when a boy, lies and awful discoveries are made.

Apart from an intriguing and mystery filled story, the ease in which this book reads makes it a must have item.  For me, it is the first book in a little while that I just couldn’t put down, and being my first time reading an A.J.Betts book I am curious about what else she has written.  The complexity of the story line is never confusing and thankfully easy to follow, and I admire A.J’s imagination.  In conversation with her I discovered that she was unsure how Zac & Mia fans would respond to such a different book, but I believe she has nothing to worry about and the cliffhanger will leave them wanting more of this style.

I have one concern with books like this and that is the false portrayal of God.  I am a Christian and fortunately I am able to look past the cult like version of God.  This is not going to be the issue for everyone but I feel that it will give people a false perception of faith.  While this is an integral part of the story, as far as my beliefs go it isn’t accurate.

Overall the book is gripping, confronting, overwhelming and engaging and I am already thinking that the 2019 publication of its follow up Rouge is too far away.  Thank you A.J. for a wonderful introduction to your writing.

Thank you Pan MacMillan for the opportunity to read and honestly review this book.

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