Hive Review #LoveOzYA

Title: Hive (The Vault #1)
Author: A.J. Betts
Published: June 2018
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Readership: Young Adult #loveozya
Genre: Dystopian
Rating: ★★★★
RRP: $16.99

I received a copy of Hive  from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

All I can tell you is what I remember, in the words that I have.

Hayley tends to her bees and follows the rules in the only world she has ever known.

Until she witnesses the impossible: a drip from the ceiling.

A drip? It doesn’t make sense.

Yet she hears it, catches it. Tastes it.

Curiosity is a hook.

What starts as a drip leads to a lie, a death, a boy, a beast, and too many awful questions.

Hive is the first in a gripping two-book series by award-winning and international bestselling author A. J. Betts.

SHORTLISTED FOR THE ABIA BOOK OF THE YEAR FOR OLDER CHILDREN 2019
LONGLISTED FOR THE GOLD INKY AWARD 2019
SHORTLISTED FOR THE INDIE BOOK AWARD FOR YOUNG ADULT FICTION 2019

Hive is a book I’ve seen on bookshelves in my favourite bookstores for a while now but had never picked up, despite being intrigued by the cover. I don’t know why I never picked it up, but had I known it was a #LoveOzYA title I suspect I probably would have. The loss was well and truly mine, but I’m very grateful to Pan Macmillan for sending me a review copy of Hive to read before Rogue, the follow up book for which I’m part of an upcoming blog tour, because otherwise I really would have missed out on something special.

Hive is the story of Hayley, a teenage girl living in a colony that’s isolated from the rest of the world. To her, the world is the space she was born into, a world that’s contained and one where everyone has a job and purpose that they stick to and never wonder what’s beyond the walls of their ‘hive.’ Hayley is a beekeeper and spends her time tending to them and ensuring the bees don’t cause too many disruption to the work of others, until one day she finds herself somewhere she shouldn’t be and notices a drip. It’s an impossibility and a curiosity and leads her on a path to discovery that will upend her understanding of her world.

It’s kind of hard to pinpoint exactly the genre of Hive, and dystopian really hedges bets against a future understanding that’s never explicitly revealed in this book, but is instead implied. There was something utterly beautiful and claustrophobic about Hayley’s world – people are born, assigned roles and expected to play them to the letter without deviation for the good of the community. For the longest time we don’t have a solid understanding of where or when these people exist, purely because Hayley herself doesn’t know, although she’s always felt like there was something more to know and it’s this curiosity that really propels the story forward.

I liked Hayley – she’s both innocent and strong in her own way, rebelling against what she’s been told to be. She understands, and really doesn’t understand, her world at the same time and so she finds herself in situations that compromise her within her community.

And that community? Wow.

It would be easy to go into detail about the way the elders in the community don’t encourage autonomous thought or the way teenage girls are prepared for ‘marriage’ to give birth to the next generation on a strict schedule to the way knowledge is withheld from the majority of the population via religious belief. As we get drip-fed tiny clues about the community itself understanding comes with it which in turn raises more questions making this a truly thought-provoking book.

The ending, too, was great. I’m glad I had the second book to go straight on to, because it ends on a real cliffhanger, where we’re unsure of Hayley’s safety or what will happen to her next but instead of being grating, it was exciting and made me curious.

I’m very glad I had the opportunity to read such a wonderful #loveozya book.

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