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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

HIGHER INSTITUTE OF VILLAINOUS EDUCATION Otto Malpense may only be thirteen years old, but so far he has managed to run the orphanage where he lives, and he has come up with a plan clever enough to trick the most powerful man in the country. He is the perfect candidate to become the world's next supervillain. That is why he ends up at H.I.V.E., handpicked to become a member of the incoming class. The students have been kidnapped and brought to a secluded island inside a seemingly active volcano, where the school has resided for decades. All the kids are elite; they are the most athletic, the most technically advanced, and the smartest in the country. Inside the cavernous marble rooms, floodlit hangars, and steel doors, the students are enrolled in Villainy Studies and Stealth and Evasion 101. But what Otto soon comes to realize is that this is a six-year program, and leaving is not an option. With the help of his new friends: an athletic martial-arts expert; a world-famous,…

Overall Book Review:

H.I.V.E (Higher Institute of Villainous Education) is a fun and easy book to read.  Written in a way that would be enjoyable reading for middle grade readers and young adults, this story is engaging with lots of action.  The characters are pre-teens with exceptional creativity and a talent for being naughty.  Instead of a school to train superheroes, this school trains the bad guys.  Not just common thugs though, this school has standards and “unauthorized violence” is not tolerated.  Only the brightest and most creative students get to go to this institute.  This book could be inspiring to kids who are talented in any number of ways but afraid it would be seen as nerdy.  The kids in this series own their talents and pursue them with passion. 

The pacing moves along well with a great ending.  The characters are thrown together but form a bond that takes their relationship to a new level.  They are there for each other through thick and thin.  The plot is suspenseful with a few unexpected twists that are fun and add to the dynamics of the story.  Book one makes the next seven in the series look promising!

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  2 religious exclamations; 4 mild obscenities. 

Violence/Gore:  100s of pre-teens & teens stunned with a “stun” gun and abducted (most with parental consent), multiple pages; man shot with stun gun and knocked out as an example to the kids; two bullies pick on two teen boys multiple times, boys fight back, some physical harm but nothing permanent, no blood, several pages; boy shot with a ray gun and immobilized; teen boy attacks a woman resulting in the boy getting a broken wrist; fictional plant turns murderous, eleven adults killed, a few teens and adults hurt, green plant blood mentioned, minor amount of human blood mentioned, many pages.

Sex/Nudity:  One boy has mental images of another boy naked, non-sexual, no details; a man moons an audience.

Mature Subject Matter:

Villains, kidnapping, ethics, orphans, bullies, death of parents, weapons, criminal activities alluded to: computer hacking, toppling governments, banking systems.

Alcohol / Drug Use:


Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

Reading a good adventure story has always been a vacation in the theater of my mind. When I’m stressed or just need to get away for a few minutes, I love the opportunity to climb into somebody else’s world. I didn’t enjoy reading until I was in the Air Force and building bombs in Korea; it was a wonderful distraction from the real world. (I tried bull riding, but it wasn’t exciting enough.)