Literature: H.I.V.E. Series

H.I.V.E., which stands for the Higher Institute of Villainous Education, is a Villain Protagonist series by Mark Walden about, as the title suggests, a school for villains. It currently has eight released books (plus a short World Book Day story) but, due to No Export for You, the last six of the eight volumes have only been released recently in America. The author, Mark Walden, seems to enjoy his fanbase, and has a blog, a small forum, and a separate email account for fans. Online, there is little evidence to show the books' popularity, but H.I.V.E.'s forum is bursting with enthusiastic members.

There were four main characters of H.I.V.E., but as Lots And Lots Of Characters started to take hold, about twelve protagonists and antagonists share roughly equal amounts of narration time. The original four heroes are Otto, the main character; Wing, Otto's Chinese best friend; Laura, the Scottish computer hacker; and Shelby, the American lock-picking genius. Book four introduced Lucy, mind-controlling granddaughter of a character killed in book 3. In the secondary character section(all of whom have now joined the main tier), we have Nigel, son of famous deceased supervillain Diabolus Darkdoom, Number One's replacement when he goes all crazy and dies, who is very good with plant life and biology; and Franz, the German son of an owner of a chocolate factory. He's very good with finance and also serves as the team sniper. Later on, Tom and Penny, Otto's old accomplices from the orphanage, join the group. Then, in Deadlock, Tom dies, leaving Penny distanced from the group.

A notable addition is H.I.V.E.mind, a benevolent AI who assists in running the school. He is friends with a few of the student protagonist, and acts more like the children than their teachers. In the later books, the characters Nero, headmaster of H.I.V.E.; and his assistant Raven, Nero's Russian bodyguard/head of security/confidante; along with a couple of other teachers, are added closer to the list of main characters.

The enemies of the main characters are described in greater detail in the later books as well, with approximately equal portions of each book being narrated by heroes and villains.

The books currently released are:

  • H.I.V.E.: Otto Malpense is kidnapped and taken to a school for villains. Here he meets five other new students and some of them make an escape attempt together. It doesn't work. The headmaster, Dr Nero, knew what they were up to the whole time. They're just about to be punished for it when something large, green and carnivorous interrupts. And it's not the Hulk.
  • The Overlord Protocol: Otto and Wing are let out of the school for a short time, and Wing gets killed by a rogue member of the GLOVE ruling council. Otto and Raven then embark on a quest to find the bad guys' hideout and make righteous awesomeness ensue. The rogue member of the council was Wing's father, who faked his death because he hadn't signed the papers for Wing to attend H.I.V.E.- they were forged. He knew someone wanted his son.
  • Escape Velocity: After an 18-month timeskip from the last book, Otto has been practicing his newfound ability to communicate with machines and computers. Meanwhile, Nero meets with an old villainous friend and soon finds out that Number One is plotting to reform Overlord, a homicidal AI, and Nero gets himself kidnapped. Someone takes over the school, and someone else takes over a major world power. Serves as a turning point in the series, as Otto's past, which has been the big question for the last three books, is revealed.
  • Interception Point (World Book Day book): Released March 2009. The four main characters from book one are sent on a mission to get back an important piece of GLOVE technology, which is being transported on an automated train. Things go terribly wrong, as per usual. Anyone who hates spiders would relate. Although technically unnecessary and only 59 pages, it is highly recommended to not skip this installment.
  • Dreadnought: Released September 2009. The main characters take Lucy, a newbie who has been put into their year, under their wing. They are about to go on a school expedition to the Arctic circle, but, naturally, they meet trouble on the way. Darkdoom Sr. gets captured by a rogue G.L.O.V.E. member, and chaos ensues. First true cliffhanger of series is found here.
  • Rogue: Released May 2010. Otto has been brainwashed and turned into an assassin for the other side. Computer glitches at H.I.V.E. signal the return of H.I.V.E.MIND, but he warns that Overlord has also survived inside Otto's head.
  • Zero Hour: Released September 2010. Overlord uses the Animus fluid to take over a US military facility and H.I.V.E. itself in an attempt to capture Otto. Also, some of the main characters begin dating. Widely regarded as the series' best installment.
  • Aftershock: Released June 2011. A new intake of students arrive at H.I.V.E. and two join the main group. Yet another survival exercise is interrupted by the bad guys. 33 members of their class are executed, and the rest are taken to the Glasshouse, a Russian training camp. Only four Alphas make it back, and it isn't the four you'd expect. Second soul-crushing cliffhanger here.
  • Deadlock: Released June 2013. Raven and Otto attempt to bring down the Disciples and find the Glasshouse, where the H.I.V.E. students captured in the last book have been taken to undergo Training from Hell. A rescue attempt follows.

Now with its own character sheet. Please put character-related tropes there.

Not to be confused with the novel Hive by Tim Curran, the video game Scurge: Hive, or the Sci Fi Channel film The Hive.

These books provide examples of:

  • Academy of Evil: The titular institute.
  • Action Girl: Raven, along with Shelby, Constance, and Verity.
  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: Raven's monomolecular-edged katanas.
  • Abusive Parents: Raven. Although Furan is not her actual father, the setup is pretty much the same.
  • Adult Fear: Cypher's motivation in the Overlord Protocol. His son, Wing, was taken to boarding school without his permission.
  • Adults Are Useless: Averted. About half of each book is narrated by adults who are useful, with the other half being narrated by kids who are also useful.
  • Aerith and Bob: Maria/Lucia Sinistre, Diabolus Darkdoom, Overlord..... Laura Brand, Tom Ransom, Penny Richards.
  • Affably Evil: Most of the main cast.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Subverted and played straight with Overlord, the evil Kill All Humans AI, and his "brother" H.I.V.E.mind, the sympathetic ally of our protagonists.
  • Anyone Can Die: Let's count 'em. Escape Velocity: the Contessa. Rogue: Trent. Zero Hour: Chief Lewis and Lucy. Aftershock: just about the whole Alpha stream, sans main characters. Deadlock: Tom and Otto's clone, Zero.
  • Arc Words: "There always has to be a choice."
  • Awesome McCoolname
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Otto can read entire textbooks and solve problems that would take the most skilled mathematicians weeks in the time it takes you to be amazed by this fact. It helps that he has a computer in his head.
  • Badass Longcoat: Raven wears one of these in Escape Velocity.
  • Bald of Evil: Trent (and not even in a good way).
  • Bald of Awesome: Nigel Darkdoom and his father, Diabolus Darkdoom. To quote Nero: "Why is it always the bald ones?"
  • The Baroness: Raven.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: The Disciples
  • Big Eater: Franz, unsurprisingly.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The series is full of them in one form or another. Two of the most notable take place in Dreadnought ( Otto ends up captured by Trent) and Zero Hour (G.L.O.V.E. is disbanded and Lucy's dead and buried beneath 200 tons of nuclear slag).
    • Aftershock continues the trend. The majority of this year's Alpha stream is killed or captured and taken to a hellish Disciple training camp. Among the captured are Nigel, who was recently shot, and Laura, who betrayed H.I.V.E. to save her family's lives. Otto takes the fall for helping Laura steal information from H.I.V.E. and is expelled, leaving Wing, Shelby, and Franz the only Alpha stream students remaining in the year.
  • Blondes Are Evil: Constance and Verity. Shelby could probably count too, although she's more Affably Evil.
  • Broken Faceplate: Played with; while Ghost wears one, and it does get shattered (by Nero with a flare gun no less) it happens a long time before her actual death. Also, Cypher wears one in Overlord Protocol, which is broken towards the end of the book, revealing that Cypher is really Wing's father, Mao Fanchu, and one of the men Nero worked with in creating Overlord. However, Cypher doesn't die until Rogue.
  • Caper Crew: the roles change from book to book as characters come and go, but the basic structure runs a bit like this:
    • The Mastermind: Nero.
    • The Partner in Crime: Diabolus.
    • The Backer: Number One.
    • The Hacker/ The Gadget Guy: Otto and Laura switch off or work together on both.
    • The Coordinator: Laura or Raven, depending on the mission.
    • The Conman: Lucy
    • The Distraction: Tom
    • The Burglar: Shelby.
    • The Pickpocket: Penny
    • The Driver: Raven or Wing, once Wing knows how to drive.
    • The Muscle: Wing
    • The Acquisitioner: Pike
    • And that's not even everyone in the main cast.
  • Cast Herd
  • Cerebus Syndrome: The first book, while hinting at the greater overriding arc, was basically about the kids trying to escape the school, and was fairly lighthearted. The second book was notably darker, with higher stakes. And from there...well, check out Bittersweet Ending above. Although the books have kept the humor, for the most part, until the end of Aftershock.
    • Deadlock reverses the trend. The ending is a lot lighter than previous books. The bad guys all die, the good guys get their friends back (or at least most of them) and Otto and Laura finally start properly dating.
  • The Chessmaster: Most of the main cast.
  • Child Soldier: When the going gets tough, Nero calls on his Alphas.
    • This is pretty much the entire point of the Glasshouse.
  • Colonel Badass: Colonel Francisco.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: The jumpsuits of the different streams. Black is worn by the Alpha stream (the leaders), blue is given to the Henchman stream, white indicates the Technical stream, and gray jumpsuits are for the Political/Financial stream.
  • Compelling Voice: The Contessa has this but there are some drawbacks. The longer she uses it, the more the Contessa becomes physically and mentally exhausted. In Dreadnought, it's revealed to be a generational gift—her granddaughter, Lucy, has it too.
  • Continuity Nod: In Rogue, Otto says something unheard to Laura. This becomes a major plot point in Aftershock. Also, Aftershock sees the return of Tom and Penny, two minor characters from the very first book.
  • Cool Airship: The Dreadnought. An airship that's self-defense is to make a huge storm? Yeah.
  • Cool Boat: You wouldn't want to meet the Megalodon alone in a dark bathtub...
  • Cool Sword: Raven's katanas.
  • Corrupt the Cutie: attempted by Anastasia on Raven, Laura, and Penny. It only works on the last one.
  • Cosmopolitan Council: the Ruling Council has representatives from each continent.
  • Coupled Couples: Out of the four kids who team up in book one, all of them have interest in another member of the quartet at some point.
  • Cloning Blues: Otto has these. And, given the ending of Deadlock, it looks like things are going to get much worse of this front.
  • Dark Action Girl: Raven.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Raven.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Raven, Otto, Nero... to be honest, anyone with a sense of humour becomes one at some point.
  • Deus Exit Machina: Only very briefly in most cases, but Wing will sometimes be knocked unconscious or, in the case of the whole of Book Two, entirely removed from the action to stop his badassery from just winning everything for them.
    • Same goes for Raven.
  • Disc One Final Boss: Number One (being controlled by Overlord).
  • Doesn't Like Guns: Wing.
    • Laura subverts this trope. Wing claims that guns are a graceless thug's weapon. Laura replies that she'd rather be a graceless thug than dead.
    • Even with a gun that has the option to stun instead of kill, Wing is still not too happy.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Everyone in Rio, apparently. Raven has a lot of fun with this.
  • Dual Wielding: Raven's katanas.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: The only way we know who the "good guys" are—for example, Dr. Nero disproves of Cypher's plans because there is unnecessary violence.
  • Everyone Is Related: Just about everyone is one of two families that have a distinct possibility of being linked:
    • Xiu Mei is the wife of Wu Zhang and the mother of Wing, as well as the programmer ("mother") of Overlord. In addition to referring to Xiu Mei as his mother, Overlord refers to H.I.V.E.mind as his brother because they share a code base, and vice versa. H.I.V.E.mind's programmer/"father" is Professor Theodore Pike. Overlord has fourteen known sons, including Zero, the twelve other clones introduced in book eight, and Otto. Otto was raised by Mrs. McCreedy along with Tom and Penny. Otto seems on track to marry Laura, whose parents are Mary and Andrew Brand, and whose younger brother, Dougie, will likely be an Alpha as well once he is older. Shelby is also a likely candidate to enter the family via Wing.
    • Nathaniel "The Architect" Nero and his wife, whose name remains unknown, are the parents of Maximilian Nero. Nero was at some point married or at least very romantically close to Elena, who was the sister of Peitor and Anastasia Furan. Raven, born around the time Elena died, was described by Nero as "hauntingly familiar" upon their meeting, a phrase always used to describe someone whose relative is a known member of the cast.
    • Additionally, after book one, most important characters introduced tend to be related to a character who is already in the cast, including Diabolus Darkdoom, Xiu Mei, Cypher, Lucy Dexter, Number One himself, and Anastasia and Peitor Furan.
  • Evil Inc.: GLOVE, the Global League Of Villainous Enterprises.
  • Evil Overlord List: To be expected, seeing as the premise of the series is supervillains. Rules obeyed include 20, 27, 32, 33, 45, 56, 57, 58, and 65. Rules broken at any point in the series include 1, 2 (lampshaded by Otto), 6, 9, 10, 13, 15, 17 (Number One, I'm looking at you), 18 again, I'm looking at you Number One, 23, 36, 46, 52, 59, 67, 73, 78, 84, and 96.
  • Evil Versus Evil: The main characters constantly go after the villain, while they prefer to be the behind-the-scenes Chessmaster.
    • Evil Versus Oblivion: The cut and thrust of the series is that GLOVE may be evil, but they're not "destroy Earth and everyone on it" evil. Like the bad guys are.
  • Extranormal Institute: H.I.V.E.
  • Facial Recognition Software: Overwatch.
  • Faking the Dead: Everywhere. Raven does this practically every book up until some point. Also, Diabolous Darkdoom. And Otto, quite dramatically, in Deadlock.
  • Funny Foreigner: Oh, Franz. You and your Intentional Engrish for Funny.
  • Fun with Acronyms: G.L.O.V.E., the Global League Of Villainous Enterprises, and, of course, H.I.V.E., the Higher Institute of Villainous Education. This can bring Fridge Logic when you consider that G.L.O.V.E. makes use of its "of", while H.I.V.E. does not. Just to make it a word, I suppose. H.O.P.E. is another organization. They explicitly picked their name to spell this word.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Raven has one running over her left cheek. Pietor Furan, apparently, has them everywhere. So does his sister.
  • Grand Theft Me: Number One's plan for Otto.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: Raven, and, technically, Verity and Constance, but they're more Knight Templar than anything else. That and the fact that they are just far less awesome in comparison to Natalya.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Laura and Wing versus Otto. Laura wins.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Raven's original swords; they get upgraded into Absurdly-Sharp Blades of Glowing Purple Doom in The Overlord Protocol.
  • Killed Off for Real: While a Not Quite Dead might have been the norm in earlier books, given how dark the series has been getting of late, it looks like Lucy is staying buried. (Mind you, given that many of the fans are of the opinion that the First Law of Resurrection is considerably helped along by emailing the author a picture of a pointy stick, it may not be long be they start digging.)
  • Knight Templar: Sebastian Trent and HOPE.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: eventually.
  • Love Is In The Water: Franz thinks this is happening in Zero Hour: "I am thinking that there is being something in the water".
  • Mad Scientist: Professor Pike (could also be combined with Absent-Minded Professor).
  • Man-Eating Plant: Violet.
  • Mecha-Mooks: Cypher's army.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Dr. Nero, Contessa Sinestre, Raven, Diabolus Darkdoom.
  • NGO: H.O.P.E.,, which is also an N.G.O. Superpower.
  • Ninja: Otto calls Wing one in Escape Velocity. Actually, pretty much everyone calls Wing a ninja at some point. And Raven.
  • No One Could Survive That: Raven lives on this trope, most notably when she was shot by Trent off the top of the Millenium Wheel, plunging gods know how many feet into the Thames.
  • No One Gets Left Behind: in books six and eight, ridiculous lengths are gone to to ensure everyone gets back who is alive.
  • Not Quite Dead: Verity, Wing, Otto, Diabolus Darkdoom. Raven is supposedly dead at least once a book. Lampshaded in Escape Velocity:
    Shelby: That's it. From now on, no one's dead until I read the autopsy report.
  • Nuclear Weapons Taboo: Sooooooooo inverted—just look at the finales of Dreadnought and Zero Hour.
  • Odd Friendship: Laura and Shelby, and Franz and Nigel.
  • Off With Her Head: Ghost suffers this at the hands of Raven with some alacrity. As Shelby said soon after, "remind me to never piss her off again".
  • Older Than They Look: Dr. Nero.
  • The Onmicient Council Of Vagueness: the Ruling Council.
  • The Order: G.L.O.V.E.
  • Out-Gambitted: The main four find that Dr. Nero has done this to an incredible extent in the first book.
  • Photographic Memory: Otto, to an extreme. The computer in his head helps.
  • Preatorian Guard: the Phalanx.
  • Professional Killer: Raven.
  • Psycho Serum: The Animus.
  • Recursive Ammo: Megladon's torpedoes do this. And it's awesome.
  • Russian Girl Suffers Most: Raven: Shot in the thigh, dropped off the Millennium Wheel into the Thames (and probably half-drowned in the process), knocked unconscious with an electric floor mop, foot-long spike through her shoulder, shot at again, kicked, beaten and generally abused by a military psycho...
  • Shout-Out: In Dreadnought, the students are noted to have a book entitled No, I Expect You to Die. Later, when Otto comments that "Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit," Wing replies, "I thought it was funny pictures of kittens from the internet." Otto quickly agrees.
    • To be honest, the series started on the whole premise of taking villain stereotypes and exploring them further, so, consequently, the books are littered with (usually subtle) nods to the villains of real world fiction.
  • Sink-or-Swim Mentor: While Nero generally tries to keep students out of the real danger, he seems to have no problem with sending newly-arrived students who are joining the upper years on the same dangerous survival exercises as their well-trained classmates.
  • Sixth Ranger: Lucy arrives in Dreadnought. After her death in Zero Hour, Aftershock sees the arrival of Tom and Penny. After Deadlock, it's just Penny, and she's not too happy with the rest of the group.
  • Snark-to-Snark Combat: All characters do it and do it well.
  • Spy Catsuit: Raven's infiltration get-up.
  • Switching P.O.V.: with Otto, Laura, Raven, and Nero getting the most narration time, but everyone else getting at least some.
  • The Syndicate: G.L.O.V.E.
  • Time Passes Montage: One occurs in book one.
  • Time Skip: Between books two and three.
  • Training from Hell: Raven's early life seems to have consisted entirely of this and escape attempts.
  • True Companions: Otto, Laura, Wing, Shelby, Franz, Nigel, Lucy, and Raven.
  • Villain Protagonist: Most of the cast.
  • Villain Team-Up: the whole point of G.L.O.V.E.- some member organizations produce technology, others produce trained agents, others find and investigate people. The Disciples also do this.
  • World of Snark: Especially evident in the scene where the students are all riding together in a stolen car in Zero Hour. Everyone makes fun of everyone until everyone starts bragging about who is funnier than everyone else...and that's just the first two pages.

Alternative Title(s):

HIVE Series