I would like to thank the author for providing me a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Receiving such does not sway my thoughts in any way.
I enjoy science fiction, having read from authors such as Jack McDevitt, Beth Revis, etc. This book ranks right up there with those authors. I have to say that this book is in a neck to neck competition with Across the Universe by Ms. Revis. Spaceships, confusion, betrayal, hierarchy and kidnapping all wrapped up in this book and delivered to the reader in a way that I just couldn't put it down. I read from beginning to end, breaking myself away only when I had to.
The crew are all smarter than they appear at times and given that, sometimes they are also too smart for their own good. Rhiannon, who outsmarted the tests, is destined to be a Queen Commander. Her best friend and her friends boyfriend tested in a way that would take them from one another. Rhiannon, in a way was coerced into putting together a Hive that would keep them together, but would take the groups destined schooling away, and put them all in jeopardy.
Being the first book in a series and a scifi one at that, there is always the fear that too much of the book is going to be backstories and very little present time. Thankfully, that is not the story with this book. As the story progresses, you get the info you need at the moment, and it keeps on moving. When a situation arises, that requires further information from the past, the author provides just what you need, and lets it go at that. Not only does this allow the story to progress with a normal flow, it also doesn't distract you from the current storyline.
There is some unrealistic aspects to the story though. Basically going in blind and being able to maneuver and fly a spacecraft with no past experience and not taking half the side of a docking station off with it, or flying into other spacecraft was a bit unbelievable. I can understand getting the feel of it after all that, but not before. And the fact that being such a young Queen, with such a young crew, that more people didn't take notice was curious.
Once you get past the peculiarities, the story itself takes you for a ride. The conflicts between the crew. The Queen learning how to be just that and learning how to have her Hive confident in her. The engineering issues, the Devotes relationship with the Queen, the passenger that stirs up troubles and more just keep the reader focused and the page flipping commences.
A strong science fiction novel that will hold the interest of all scifi readers, young and old, and is guaranteed to make some non genre readers converts. I look forward to reading the next book in the series, Hive & Heist, and I look forward to reading other books from this author.