THE HIVE  by Orson Scott Card

THE HIVE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Earth is getting clobbered by giant ants from space in this second part of the second prequel trilogy to the child-warrior Ender's Game series (The Swarm, 2016, etc.).

There's a self-inflicted element, however, in the damage caused by the Formic invaders. The International Fleet's officer corps is riddled with useless careerists, lackeys, cronies, and favored offspring. The IF high command refuses to share vital intelligence and grows ever more paranoid and ineffectual. It fails to grasp the Formics' Hive Queen's vast intelligence and tactical brilliance, instead sending an official denial that she even exists. Terrorist pirates operate freely in the solar system's outer reaches. And politically there's a bid to oust the relentless and capable Ukko Jukes as Hegemon. It's not all gloom and doom, though. Clever, ruthless, well-connected Col. Li details Special Forces' Mazer Rackham, along with Chinese child-warrior Bingwen and his Rat Army, with identifying the incompetent officers, which Li will then find subtle ways to eliminate. The Rat Army also notices certain asteroids that move mysteriously or vanish and deduces that the Hive Queen has some deep unknown purpose—including, it seems, taking human captives. Almost without exception, the characters are familiar from the previous installments and engaged in similar hair-raising tasks. Since we know from chronologically later installments of the grand architecture that Earth will, somehow, win, the main source of tension lies in exactly how the authors are going to pull these particular chestnuts from the fire. And a case can be made for the story as commentary on the current climate of militaristic nationalism.

Churns agreeably, if with minimal forward momentum.

Pub Date: June 11th, 2019
ISBN: 978-0-7653-7564-3
Page count: 400pp
Publisher: Tor
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 2019




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