The Higher Institute of Villainous Education (H.I.V.E)
This is a middle grade book that caught my attention in the bookstore years ago. Then I noticed the first book I purchased was actually book 2 in the series, so I had to wait and get book 1. After years, I have actually read book 1 in the series and can post about it here.
From Goodreads: "Otto Malpense may only be thirteen years old, but so far he has managed to run the orphanage where he lives, and he has come up with a plan clever enough to trick the most powerful man in the country. He is the perfect candidate to become the world's next supervillain.
That is why he ends up at H.I.V.E., handpicked to become a member of the incoming class.... But what Otto soon comes to realize is that this is a six-year program, and leaving is not an option.
With the help of his new friends: an athletic martial-arts expert; a world-famous, beautiful diamond thief; and a spunky computer genius -- the only other people who seem to want to leave -- can Otto achieve what has never been done before and break out of H.I.V.E.?"
An interesting book in general. I will admit that it might have helped a little to catch book one first, because there is a little less affect to the whole "will they escape" question if you know how much about the rest of the series. So, looking over the future books on Goodreads didn't help that factor either. But let's talk about the book and I might add a few fun images. Trying out a different format for some of the book reviews. May contain minor spoilers to the first half of the book, but I won't mention what happens later on.
Main character is an orphan boy named Otto Malpense. Last name picked, I'm guessing, for obvious reasons. At the start of the novel we get him and another boy, Wing who later becomes the roommate and friend, waking up to a strange discovery. The introduction to the academy comes first, which I wasn't sure about because the back of the book discussed how Otto was this big man of his orphanage but we got that information shown to us a little later on in the tale. They discover they have been kidnapped/hand-selected to join an elite school for villains. *cue evil music*
The school has much to offer with its evil classes, high tech facilities and computer mind overseeing everything (known as H.I.V.E. Mind). Even a class exists for the handy role of "henchmen" though those in that role don't seem fond of the new class of villains. Many instructors which all show personal strengths in villainous activities show up during the novel too. Despite all this, Otto wants no part. So, he plans to do the unthinkable and escape.
However, he doesn't know someone else has an interest in his education. It is a man known only as Number One:
"Hey, Number Two got promoted! Wonder what happened to Dr. Evil." Yeah, I couldn't help myself. Sorry Mr. Walden but thanks to Austin Powers franchise, this was all I could think about every time we get a scene where Number One in his shadowy presence showed up or when Dr. Nero (the head of the school who reported to Number One) even thought about him. But back to the book in question.
Teaming up with a few classmates, all of whom have their own special villainous skills, Otto plans to escape H.I.V.E. and return to his life. And once it got to the escape, things did escalate. The beginning, I will admit, was hard for me to get through. I got a tad bored and the whole awesome kid character running orphanage was only interesting when we got to the act he did to get attention from the villain school. But once we get to the escape attempt, things pick up and it becomes a book that is hard to put down because there is action and stuff going on where you want to know what will happen next. It's not my favorite middle grade book but I may give book 2 a read in the future. Might even send the books to my younger cousins if they would like to read, though I'll probably recommend a couple others first.
Who would like this one? Recommendation for which readers? I think anyone who is looking for a middle grade, boy action-y book with a bit of humor, this would be a good option to try out. The novelty aspect of the school for villains is fun and I can see how there is potential for quite a long series though I don't recommend looking up information on the other books beforehand. Just pick up book one and start from there. Have fun reading.