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Review Tour: Queen & Commander and Hive & Heist by Janine A. Southard - Review + Giveaway

Hey guys! Welcome to Janine A. Southard's review tour of Queen & Commander and Hive & Heist, books 1 and 2 of the Hive Queen Saga. This is certainly a very different series than what I have read before and I must say, I like it a lot! And I hope you do too:) So without further ado, let's get started.

Janine A. Southard

Janine A. Southard writes and edits speculative fiction in between working on videogame projects. She’s attended more than the average number of universities, which she claims is a FEATURE. (“Oxford educated, but Californian at heart.”) She’s also lived and traveled in Europe, the United States, and Japan. Currently, she lives in Seattle with a husband (and a cat) and sings with a Celtic band.

Queen & Commander

**WINNER 2013 IPPY AWARD -- Silver Medal for Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror E-Book**

On a world where high school test scores determine your future, six students rebel. They’ll outrun society as fast as their questionably obtained spaceship will take them.

Rhiannon doesn’t technically cheat the Test. She’s smarter than the computers that administer it, and she uses that to her advantage. She emerges from Test Day with the most prestigious future career possible: Hive Queen.

Gwyn & Victor are madly in love, but their Test results will tear them apart. Good thing Rhiannon is Gwyn’s best friend. Rhiannon can fix this. Queens can do anything.

Gavin is the wild card. Raised off-planet, he can’t wait to leave again... and he’s heard of an empty ship in orbit. The Ceridwen’s Cauldron.

Both Luciano and Alan fit in the system. They don’t need to leave. Only their devotion to Rhiannon spurs them to join the Cauldron’s crew.

Spaceships. Blackmail. Anywhere but here.

Check it out at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

And here is my review of Queen & Commander.

My Rating


My Review

Queen & Commander was an alright read. When I first saw the blurb for the book, I just knew I had to read it. The first time I saw it, I forgot the name, which killed me because I spent ages trying to find the book but to no avail. However, one day I saw an email saying blog tour signups for this and Hive & Heist, the second book, was open. I may have freaked out a little heh. Still, after reading the book, while it was very good, I fear it may have been slightly short of the high standards in my head. It could be just me though.

The concept of the world, with Dyfed, its Hives is fascinating, albeit a little confusing. I would have appreciated a little bit more backstory about how all these worlds came about, rather than just trying to infer from the bits and snippets that I got. Why was space travel necessary? Why did it seem like everyone was living on space stations of some sort? But I must say, I’m thoroughly intrigued by how everything functions in society. The ideas behind the story is very interesting to read about.

As for the characters, they were interesting enough. It was nice seeing how 6 people came together as a whole Hive and got through some problems together. Though they had many issues, you see how they learn to live with each other. Though there is not much teamwork here, I do like how it’s realistic and not the instant bond that a lot of other teams seem to have.

I really respect Rhiannon. She is so smart and I don’t know, I like that she isn’t cocky about it. Its like, she  knows she’s good, but she also acknowledges that she has weaknesses and finds people to counter the weaknesses she has. I don’t know, I just really like her. She didn’t really want to go on the whole journey, but for Gwyn, she did it, and in so doing, I loved her dedication, even though at first it was a little reluctant.

One thing that I didn’t like a lot was the writing style. It was alright, but sometimes something just felt a little bit off, perhaps it seemed more like I was being told rather than showed. Still, this is my personal preference. Somehow, there always seemed to be a wall between the characters and me which prevented me from being fully engaged with the story.

Still, I really did enjoy the book and I really like reading about the characters. I just really want to see how things play out, whether they will eventually come together as a Hive or will it all just fall apart. I think this book has a very unique concept. I am curious though, why Hives, what made them that way? Who made them that way? Oh, I have many questions certainly, but I think I can wait patiently (somewhat, okay no I don’t think I can!) for the answers in the following books.

Disclaimer: I was provided with a free copy of this book for an honest review. All views expressed here are mine alone.

Hive & Heist

Queen Rhiannon and her Hive have found safety on John Wayne Station, but with no way to pay their docking fees or Victor’s medical bills, their debts are racking up quickly. Thankfully, Gavin gets a job with American Space Ranger M3L-15-A, who’s hot on the trail of dangerous criminals.

The teens move in with their Ranger benefactor, but when they revisit their ship to pick up personal belongings, they realize their Alcubierre tensor jet has been stolen!

If Rhiannon and her Hivemates ever hope to leave, they must find and steal back what’s theirs. But far from home and among strangers, who can they trust? Will they be stuck on John Wayne for the rest of their lives?

Check it out at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

And now, my review for Hive & Heist.

My Rating


My Review

Hive & Heist took place almost entirely on John Wayne station, and picks up rather soon after the end of Queen & Commander. I liked Hive & Heist a little more than Queen & Commander, perhaps because we got to see more of each individual character, some new characters were shown and there was way more action than in the first book.

Here, we see more of characters such as Gavin, Victor and Alex, and definitely Rhiannon. Here, Gwyn/Lois is still not talked about much and suddenly, Luciano seems to have disappeared off the face of the book for most of it. Still, I think I can understand why, I guess maybe its like a way of showing how he has gotten more isolated from the Hive? There is also a new character, Melissa. It took me a while to get used to her, but when I did, I found that I really liked her a lot. I think she will prove to be a great addition to the story, but in what capacity? You’ll have to read to find out ;)

There were some parts of the story that didn’t seem to have much link to anything. I guess it was stuff in the beginning and here and there that just felt like it was prolonging the story, instead of getting to the point.. The story was a little draggy at the beginning because it seemed like there was no direction. But around the middle of the book, the pace began to pick up and you could see why things were starting to happen or why they had already happened.

One thing that I really like in this series is that the characters are very deep. Even though the character development isn’t explicit, it does make sense and at the end of the book, you do actually realize how far the characters have come emotionally and as a Hive. I found the ending to be especially sweet. Also, the side characters really added some entertainment to the story. I don’t know, it was just really nice seeing their solidarity and how they were all loyal to each other.

I would have liked to see more of why Luciano changed his mind at the end though. I felt it wasn’t really explained well and I guess because he hardly appeared in this book, it would have been nice to see some of his thoughts about it. A lot of his scenes seemed to be cut short and there wasn’t much that I could gather from him. He’s still kinda annoying to me though haha. Victor was a true hero here. I think he really grew up from the needy, selfish boy we see in Queen & Commander. Here, he actually began to take responsibility for himself. Gavin stepped up to his position pretty well and it was really nice seeing how he started working well with Alex to do some pretty cool things. Especially good, given that they didn’t really like each other from the start. I love Alex, I’m not saying anything more about that haha. But he’s really cool and I feel he is the most mature out of all of them.

There is a subplot here involving other Queens, which I don’t want to say too much about, because I think it would be a spoiler. But through it, I think a little light is being shed on the whole Hive structure. I am certainly very interested to see how that plays out eventually! Alright so it might involve a little bit about science and biology which I am actually quite interested in haha. And I think it could actually be key to figuring out how Hives work!

All in all, Hive & Heist was pretty good. Though a little slow initially, when it got started, it became really good. I am looking forward to seeing more of their adventures in the future, though I’m still trying to find where all this ties into the grand scheme of things. I will definitely be reading the next few books. The concept is simply too intriguing to not continue.

Disclaimer: I was provided with a free copy of this book for an honest review. All views expressed here are mine alone.

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Great reviews! This sounds like a really interesting series and i love how character driven it sounds with a lot of depth/growth, even if you only notice afterwards.


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