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Literature / H.I.V.E. Series

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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. The series consists of nine books, plus a short World Book Day story. 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 it has expanded with 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.
  • Bloodline: Released May 2021. The students of H.I.V.E. face the challenges of their final year at the school, and Otto Malpense is forced to confront his own legacy as a new threat rises from the shadows of his past - clones from his own bloodline.

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:

  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: Raven's monomolecular-edged katanas.
  • Abusive Parents: Raven, She doesn’t know the Furans are her Aunt and Uncle until bloodline but the setup is functionally the same.
  • 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.
  • Archnemesis Dad: Both Otto and Wing have one. Technically, Wu Zhang would be this to Overlord as well.
  • Arc Words: "There always has to be a choice."
  • 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.
  • Babies Ever After: A weird example in the epilogue of Bloodline. After Otto's death, Wing and Shelby open a home for war orphans and name it after him. Their epilogue shows them protecting and raising a large gaggle of children.
  • Badass Longcoat: Raven wears one of these in Escape Velocity.
  • Bad Liar: Shelby and Franz.
  • Bait-and-Switch Tyrant: Nero is framed as the antagonist of book one, but after the protagonists change allegiance he's a good guy for the rest of the series.
  • 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.
  • Black Eyes of Crazy: %hose infected by the Animus sport these until the formula is improved.
  • Body Backup Drive: In Bloodline, H.I.V.E.mind prepares one for Otto, whose first body succumbs to radiation poisoning
  • Body Double: Inverted with Otto who kills his clone and masquerades as him after faking his own death.
  • Body Surf: Overlord's means of survival for the last twenty years or so. Also, how Otto survives Animus poisoning, radiation, and the eruption of the volcano due to a nuke.
  • Boxed Crook: Nero puts Cypher and Anastasia Furan in a box under the school.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Cheaters Never Prosper: basically the point of the series is that they do.
  • 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. And the aforementioned exhaustion is what ultimately kills her.
  • 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...
  • 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. It's also hinted in the epilogue that Nigel and Franz, the last two members of the young main cast, may eventually get together as well, although they don't seem to have figured it out yet.
  • Cloning Blues: Otto has these. And, given the ending of Deadlock, it looks like things are going to get much worse on this front.
  • 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.
  • Shelby subverts this trope. Wing claims that guns are a graceless thug's weapon. Shelby 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.
  • Do Unto Others Before They Do Unto Us: the Zero Hour protocol. "Do unto others" is also the G.L.O.V.E. motto.
  • Dramatic Drop: In Bloodline. In the final scene, Laura drops the glass she was holding when Otto, thought to be long dead, appears on her doorstep.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Everyone in Rio, apparently. Raven has a lot of fun with this.
    • Of the main characters, Otto is stated to be a horrible pilot and Laura a horrible driver.
  • Dual Wielding: Raven's katanas.
  • Elaborate University High: Justified in that the H.I.V.E. teaches students through high school and it appears the first few years of college, and most of them have enough knowledge in their field for a degree by their third year.
  • Enemy Within: Otto was designed to be a house for Overlord, and at one point Overlord and Otto are in the same body, fighting for control.
  • 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 children, 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 is Dougie. 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.
    • Bloodline only adds to this horrifyingly convoluted blood family. Anna is a genetic combination of Otto and a Sinistre witch, likely Lucy Dexter. Lucy's mother is the daughter of the Contessa, who is the daughter of the Shadow Queen Francesca Sinistre.
    • Between the two families, if we assume that Shelby and Laura are included, but exclude Otto and Anna's unborn siblings, that's a total of 25 people. It would be easier to name recurring characters who aren't in this group.
  • 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, 19,23, 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.
  • Faking the Dead: Everywhere. Raven does this practically every book up until some point. Also, Diabolous Darkdoom. And Otto, quite dramatically, in Deadlock.
  • Fast-Forward to Reunion: The series epilogue consists of four short stories about a main character's loved one coming home to them after some kind of long trip. Nero greets his daughter Natalya after a mission to assassinate some politician, Franz greets Nigel after the latter returns from an expedition to help find a location for the next school, and Wing greets Shelby at their orphanage after she goes on a trip to visit Laura, who has largely isolated herself from the rest of the cast following Otto's death. The final epilogue of the series recounts the reunion of Otto and Laura, who were separated in the climax of the story by his death in the destruction of the school a year prior.
  • 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.
  • Genius Sweet Tooth: Laura and Shelby have quite the thing for ice cream.
  • Good with Numbers: Otto can calculate the area of complex shapes like states by looking at them. Laura can recall forty pages or more of seemingly random digits after only seeing them once.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Raven has one running over her left cheek. Pietor Furan, apparently, has them everywhere. So does his sister.
  • Hopeless with Tech: Wing, Shelby, and Franz try their hand at hacking in Deadlock. Let's just say it doesn't work.
  • 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.
    • There's also an army of robotic assassins that are clearly designed to seem like ninjas in The Overlord Protocol.
  • 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. She frequently exploits this for her own benefit.
  • 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.
  • Official Couple Ordeal Syndrome: And freaking how with Otto and Laura. He starts to realize he likes her in book four, when she's captured by the Disciples, and decides to prioritize her safety over the final mission, which directly leads to him being captured and turned at the end of that book. In book five, he's been basically enslaved by HOPE, and Laura is forced to shoot him to keep him from killing her and Wing, mere minutes after he'd confessed his love to her. In book six, Otto is spiraling hard from the events of the last book, and is approached by False Soulmate Lucy Dexter, and they date for about a day and a half before she gets shot and dies in his arms. In book seven, Otto is still in love with Laura, but has been avoiding her because he's afraid proximity to him will get her killed. This avoidance causes him to miss that she's being blackmailed by Anastasia Furan, and she ends up betraying the school in an attempt to save her family. She is captured and taken to the Glasshouse at the end of that installment, and Otto leaves the island to go find her. Book eight chronicles his months-long search for her, during which time she's held in what's effectively a prison except with more emphasis on trying to drive the denizens mad. She ends up suffering Mind Rape at the hands of Otto's own clone, and is ostracized by the rest of the students for the part she played in what happened to him. Even Nero admits he failed to protect her and offers to let her go home, but she decides to stay anyway after a video call with her family. And finally, after that, she and Otto start dating. What a happy story.
  • 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".
  • Pyrrhic Victory: At the end of Bloodline, Otto's clones are wiped out and Anastasia Furan is dead. Also, almost all of the Megalodon's forces died, the entire Sinistre family line has been wiped out, H.I.V.E. itself is sunk into the sea, and both H.I.V.E.mind and Otto perished with it. The surviving characters make the best of it, but, yikes.
  • Rapid-Fire Typing: How Otto, Raven, and Pike discover Otto's technopathic abilities.
  • Recursive Ammo: Megladon's torpedoes do this. And it's awesome.
  • Running Gag: Several.
    • Franz's Intentional Engrish for Funny
    • Raven's repeated fake deaths
    • Shelby's mostly-offscreen kleptomania
    • In Bloodline, Shelby and Laura disagree over the existence of the word "pregnable" and use it several times after that, in increasingly absurd situations.
    • Also in Bloodline, after Franz becomes buff, all of the unclaimed girls suddenly want him, hell, the ending explicitly states that Even the Guys Want Him. Thus, throughout the book, Franz's many, many "study partners" are name dropped, to the point where Nigel and Laura are getting confused about who he is and isn't dating.
  • 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...
  • Sealed With A Hug: In the final paragraph of the series, Otto wakes up in a new body and goes to Scotland to find Laura a year after his death. Mary Brand watches her daughter desperately hug a stranger "with snow white hair."
  • 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.
  • Switching P.O.V.: with Otto, Laura, Raven, and Nero getting the most narration time, but everyone else getting at least some.
  • Time Skip: Between books two and three. Another seems to have occurred between 8 and 9, although it's less explicit.
  • Training from Hell: Raven's early life seems to have consisted entirely of this and escape attempts.
  • Two-Teacher School: Although there are more teachers who than usual for this tropenote  there are still far fewer than there ought to be for an organisation the size of H.I.V.E., even accounting for the fact that all the main characters are in Alpha stream and so there are a lot of classes that none of them are taking.
  • Uncertain Doom: At the end of the series, the fate of H.I.V.E.mind is unknown. While it is very likely that he died when the volcano erupted, it's also possible that he sent himself along with Otto to the Cradle, to be able to stay in Otto's implant. However, this is unlikely. As H.I.V.E.mind can only exist in either Otto's implant or his own data core, this would be subjecting Otto to a lifetime with him as a passenger. On top of that, H.I.V.E.mind knows that Otto wants nothing more than to be a normal human, and it is most likely that the instructions he sent to the Cradle were to make Otto a new body with no implant at all.
  • 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.
  • Was Just Leaving: In Aftershock, Shelby walks into a full-of-romantic-tension conversation Otto and Laura were sharing. This Moment Killer causes the two lovebirds to quickly withdraw from their almost kiss and Laura to awkwardly excuse herself with an "I was just leaving".note 
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The fate of H.I.V.E.mind is unknown at the end of the series, although given the situation, it's most likely that he died when the Island was nuked.
  • 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.
    • Bloodline takes this up to eleven, with almost every scene doing its best to fit as much snark as reasonably possible, probably as a Last Hurrah for the series.