Review: The God of the Hive by Laurie R. King

26 Apr

God of the Hive CoverMy rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summary from Laurie R. King’s website:

Russell and Holmes have worked together to solve the most perplexing of cases. Now, The God of the Hive picks up where The Language of Bees left off: with the duo and those they are protecting scattered to the winds, Scotland Yard after them from one side and a shadowy faction of the government from the other—in rickety airplanes above Scotland and on boats in the North Sea; in hidden rooms above London shops and rustic woodland cabins. Chased by those who want them dead, chasing answers to deadly mysteries, the consequences of what they find will circle the globe, and involve a man with a curious identity and a dangerous past. With the God of London’s hive watching them, it will take more than deduction if they ever want to see each other alive again.

With this book, I feel that the series has reached a turning point. Laurie R. King has grown as a writer, Mary Russell has grown as a character, and the books have become something bigger than they were before.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the earlier books. The first three in particular are my absolute favorites. I was sorry when the books moved away from Russell’s personal journey (while still having a great story to tell, of course), and rejoiced when they returned to that territory with Locked Rooms. I do regret that it really isn’t consistent with Russell’s character for all the following books to concentrate on this.

However, if this book is representative of where the books are going, I’m not going to notice that I’m missing anything.

The God of the Hive is much grander in scale then the earlier books, in spite of covering much less geography then some of its predecessors. I loved the exploration of Mycroft, both as an individual and as a part of the government. I hesitate to say that the focus of this book is political in nature, but I think that it is.  It’s the kind of politics involved in how the world works, how power flows,  and how small actions can snowball into bigger consequences.

The book is still character driven, and I found Robert Goodman (the  Green Man of the working title of the book) to be one of the most interesting I have read in the series (after Russell and Holmes, of course). The effect of the events  that occurred in The Language of Bees as well as The God of the Hive on Russell and Holmes isn’t neglected either.

I was concerned about the role the child Estelle would play, but she was handled well.

The book effectively wraps up the threads dangling at the end of The Language of Bees (and has a much more satisfying ending).  I think much of my discomfort at The Language of Bees had to do with the nature of the transition of the series.

I strongly recommend this book to those that have been following the series. If you haven’t, I’d suggest reading at least the previous book, The Language of Bees.  Better yet, star with the first book of the series, The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, and then decide if you want to continue to make your way through each book, or if you want to skip forward to these two most recent books.

To find out more, head to Laurie R. King’s The God of The Hive page.

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher through LibraryThing’s Early Reviewer program.  They are now my BFFs.  I will be downloading the audio as soon as it is available at (hopefully today), and buying a hardcover when LRK comes to a local independent bookstore.  Does that convince you I love these books?


Posted by on April 26, 2010 in books, reviews


Tags: , , , ,

12 responses to “Review: The God of the Hive by Laurie R. King

  1. Lisa

    April 27, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    I haven’t seen this series before–well, at least I wasn’t aware, if I’ve heard of the other books, that they were part of a series. I’ll have to check them out!

  2. Susan Helene Gottfried

    April 28, 2010 at 11:26 am

    I know Laurie King’s name but don’t think I’ve read anything she’s written (yet). Interesting take on the series.

    I wanted to say thanks for helping me brainstorm books today at The Meet and Greet, as well. I appreciate it!

  3. Rebecca

    April 29, 2010 at 10:24 am

    sounds like an interesting book.

  4. Suzette Saxton

    May 2, 2010 at 9:16 am

    Love your blog! I’ve added a link to it on my blog, on a page dedicated to book reviewers. I’ll soon blog about the importance of people like you.

    Thanks for doing what you do!

  5. CLM

    May 3, 2010 at 4:45 am

    I’ve always meant to read this series! Thanks for the reminder.

  6. Katy

    May 9, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    I’ve been hearing great things about the series, so I ordered the first one. 🙂 Looking forward to it!

  7. Pat Floyd

    June 1, 2010 at 11:03 am

    I really like and agree with your assessment of GOD OF THE HIVE. Over at Laurie King’s virtual book club discussion, Vicki referred to this site and your review. Those who are beginning the Russell series have a real treat ahead. New (and veteran) readers are always welcome to join discussions on VBC.

  8. Brian

    June 3, 2010 at 8:58 am

    I’m getting ready to start this one very soon, just need to finish up the last one. I can’t wait.

  9. Verna

    July 8, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    Unfortunately, I am not pleased with Mary Russell’s character in this latest novel. Am I the only one that is annoyed by the fact that she is “Penelope Pitstop” and in constant peril — while at the same time, almost a superhero in her ability to deal with said peril?
    I really liked the early novels but ol’ Mary is getting a bit over the top…


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