3.5 stars really from me. I enjoyed this much more than I usually enjoy my 3 star reads and I read the bulk of it in just two days. I never really considered quitting, and I do sometimes have that thought for my 3 star reads.
The Hive is a book about the dangers of social media taken to the extreme. Sometime in the not so distant future it is decided that people should be held accountable for absolutely everything they do online. When a person turns 13, they are given a social media identity that belongs only to them. Everything they say can be liked or condemned. If you receive enough condemn votes, you become subject to Hive justice.
Once that happens, people are alerted to the perpetrator’s presence via phone notifications, along with a picture of the perpetrator and the level of justice the Hive is allowed to inflict (1-5). The people who endorse the Hive form a mob and hunt down the condemned. At level 1 the punishment is small, but surely humiliating, at level 5 punishment is more severe and the humiliation less likely to fade away quietly.
It’s an interesting concept, and the mobs we see in this book are pretty terrifying. Mobs quickly escalate out of control and even people who normally make sound choices can get sucked in.
There were some technical issues with The Hive that I was able to look past, but I can see being an issue for other readers. For starters – the protagonist, despite how smart she is (or how smart we are told she is), she makes a lot of dumb choices. The antagonists are all painfully obvious to the reader while Cassie remains totally oblivious. Some of the situations and their subsequent resolutions are just a little too convenient to be believable in terms of the plot, and a lot Cassie’s abilities as a hacker seem really far fetched.
But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy it, and in fact, once Cassie finds herself in hot water, I was up late reading this book until I couldn’t hold my eyes open any longer. I just had to see where the book was going next, and it kept me pretty sucked in until the end.
The characters are all pretty fun, if a little flat. Although Cassie, the MC, is fairly unlikeable (and the thing she says that gets her in trouble is horrible– cringe inducing really). She spends a lot of the early pages disliking everyone and everything, generally being as tiresome as moody teenagers can be. I don’t know that she becomes any more likable as the book goes on, but she does at least become tolerable.
The book includes, at the end of some chapters, different posts (what I want to say here is Tweets, but technically in the book they’re from a platform called BLINQ) from some of the characters in the book as well as posts from non-characters. I really enjoyed the addition of them and thought they added a lot to feeling what was going on in the wider world, as well as upping the ante for Cassie, who we know will be subject to their justice.
Aside from the earlier issues I mentioned, the ending seems a little anticlimactic. Throughout the book the action and the intrigue are building and building, and then the resolution is so mind boggling simple that it ended up feeling unbelievable.
Regardless, I did enjoy it and read through it all pretty quickly. If you like the concept at all I think this book is well worth picking up. Thank you to the publisher for providing an ARC for review.