The world's most powerful villains have a problem. One of their own has gone rogue and is threatening global Armageddon, with himself at the head of a sinister new world order.
Meanwhile, Otto, Wing and other students from H.I.V.E. are en route to a training exercise in the Arctic as the ninety-three-percenter, owing to the proportion of students that make it back alive.
But before they arrive, events take over, and Otto, Wing and his most trusted villain-friends find themselves in the sights of the most dangerous man alive, with nowhere to run to.
My first exposure to the H.I.V.E. series was the short story Interception Point. It was included, alongside Joseph Delaney's The Spook Tale, in a £1 World Book Day publication. I have to admit that the story - although competently written - did not grab or involve me as much as I would have liked.
So, it was with a little apprehension that I began reading Dreadnought.
The opening was reminiscent of a Stephen King novel, it set the scene excellently and my fears seemed groundless. Then, after the prologue, we found ourselves at the Higher Institute of Villainous Education (H.I.V.E.) where we meet up again with the four young adults that are central to the story. For those not familiar with the series the four are: Otto Malpense, a criminal genius with a limitless mind, photographic memory and rare extra-sensory skills; Wing Fanchu, exceptionally skill in martial arts and numerous forms of self defence; Laura Brand, an expert with computers; Shelby Trinity, an all-American girl that is actually the world renowned jewel thief known as The Wraith.
I have to say that I felt that the chapters set within the Institute were the weakest in the book, and that it was when then Otto, Wing, Laura and Shelby left for the Arctic that things really got going. Mark Walden can certainly do action-packed adventure, and he does it very, very well.
Up until this point there had been something nagging at the back of my mind, something that I could not quite put my finger on. Then it came to me - there wasn't really anything villainous at all about either the H.I.V.E. or G.L.O.V.E. organisation. I then tried to work out exactly how Mark Walden could have made the kids and members of the organisations into real villains. The problem that he would have had is that in doing so he would be making them into terrorists and effectively glamorising terrorism; this is simply something that you cannot do. Parents and publishers would have been up in arms (if the book was ever published that is). So, I felt that although Walden came up with a fantastic and new angle for a young adult's adventure book, it was not one he could really explore in much depth. Instead he appears to have settled upon the safe option of organisational infighting, coupes d'état, and treachery, with the innocent citizens of the outside world left pretty much untouched.
The positives? Dreadnought is a gripping, action-packed and thoroughly enjoyable adventure that will appeal to both sexes. Mark Walden is a skilled author, the narrative showcases his excellent imagination and, most importantly of all, it is a lot of fun to read.
Negatives? There is little villainy on show (as mentioned above). Franz. Franz talks in supposedly comic bad English – it made me cringe and it didn't feel right in this day and age.
Fantasy Book Review would recommend Dreadnought, and the H.I.V.E. series itself, to young adults who love their James-Bond style adventure mixed in with a little Harry Potter.
About the author
Mark Walden spent ten years designing and producing video games for a living before the Higher Institute of Villainous Education crept into his mind, and he decided to become an author. The unlikely inspiration behind the top-secret school of villainy was, in fact, a Persian Blue cat named Otto. On noticing Otto's uncanny resemblance to the cat that Blofeld owned in the James Bond films, Mark began to wonder exactly how the world's evil genius's honed their skills and where the nefarious villains of tomorrow were trained ... and so H.I.V.E. was born.
Review by Floresiensis
2 positive reader review(s) for Dreadnought (H.I.V.E.)
Riley from Australia
Book Review: Dreadnought Written by: Riley Maring ‘ETA on target… ten seconds,’ ‘Enough!’ Drake snapped. ‘What is it to be? Surrender or massacre. The choice is yours.’ Dreadnought, a book from the H.I.V.E series, written by Mark Walden is a great read. The book is about a young boy named Otto who is from H.I.V.E or Higher Institute of Villainous Enterprises. He embarks on a journey through the life of a GLOVE member and has to save America. This book is one to pick up and put down only when you’re finished. I love this book because of the action, and the “save the world” it contains. GLOVE the world’s most powerful villainous powerhouse is leading with new inventions but the latest is the most lethal. Dreadnought, the spaceship covered by the dark rain clouds brings trouble to its door, named Drake. Otto must lead his team to the final cutthroat fight vs. Furan and Drake the most wanted. Can the blood bath be ended or will evil prevail over bad. The members of HIVE in the book are Otto an older boy who has the capability of a computer, Wing, Otto’s sideman, a very strong boy who has skills in the fighting section, Shelby is a leader who is a good thief, and Laura, another computer genius like Otto. She is better than Otto physically at it, but Otto has a mystical power taking over when he works at computers. Themes often come across on the dark side in the book. One of the main messages in Dreadnought, is how not good comes from the good. Otto works for HIVE a villainous organisation but he saves America for the good. It could be debatable whether this is good or bad. Overall HIVE and GLOVE aren’t really a crime organisation they are more of an organisation devoted to saving the world from crime. What we can learn from this book is how even the bad can turn good. Mark Walden has fantastically managed to capture teenage audiences into this young adult book. He manages to bring this book from a new angle, the angle of a criminal. He does this fabulously in order to draw in teenagers who like this kind of thing without the terrorism or actual crime. Also he manages to bring in fantasy for the fantasy lovers without over doing it for those who hate fantasy. Mark Walden is a brilliant author who has brought many readers from all likes and dislikes to read this one book. I would everyone to read this book as it is a non-stop thriller as I have never seen before. Some positives to this book is, the non-stop action, all characters are involved in action at one point. Also the suspense waiting around the corner is a real catcher. Finally also Jason Drake always seem like he has full control of the situation. The main characters do get hit themselves so the bad does happen. Some negatives include the fact that some characters are quite boring. Otherwise another thriller from Mark Walden. I would recommend this book for action lovers and the few fantasy supporters out there.
Grace from US
This book is filled with excitement and will keep you wanting to read more. This book will keep you up for hours past your bedtime and even though you might be sleepy you just have to find that extra strength in you to keep reading thourgh. This was one of my all time favorite books even if you don't like sci-fiction books this is an amazing book.
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