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Book Report: The God of the Hive

So, here’s the story. I discover, via bookstore browsing, that there is a new Mary Russell book, The God of the Hive. I don’t buy the thing in hardback, because (a) I prefer paperback books, and (2) what am I, made of money? Instead I keep an eye out at the library. The book turns up surprisingly quickly, and I nab it, and it’s at the top of my stack, and I open it up.

You know the technique where the book starts and something almost incomprehensibly action-packed is going on, and after five pages or so, we read that As she crouched, silently weeping, behind the still-smoldering wreckage, frantically checking for a pulse, for breath, for any sign that this limp body still contained her soul’s mate, her mind went back to the moment that started it all, with that most innocuous of sounds, a doorbell ringing. And then there’s a line of fancy asterisks and below that, it’s three months earlier and the doorbell is ringing. If I remember correctly, The Game uses that technique, so there was precedent within the series.

So when the first action-packed chapter ended and Laurie R. King showed no signs of writing back to show us how we got here, I was intrigued. I mean, I had enough to go on, I could piece together what had happened, and frankly I was much more interested on how Ms. Russell and her husband go on from that action-packed place than in how they got there. So I was happy about it. And I figured there was plenty of book left for flashbacks and explanations.

Only, the book went on, and there weren’t any flashbacks and explanations. And I started to really dread the bit where everything stopped and went back to the now totally unnecessary flashbacks and explanations. Probably about two-thirds of the way through the book, right? Just before the big set piece. Still not there. She won’t seriously stop in the middle of the set piece to do some sort of PTSD flashback and explain it that way, will she? That would be terrible.

And no, she didn’t. The whole book went by, and there was never any attempt to fill in anything but the barest bones of how they found themselves injured, on the lam, separated, responsible for an orphaned child, whatnot. It was awesome.

And then later I discover that all of that background stuff was in the previous novel, which I never heard about.


Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,


Well, at least she didn't overdo the backstory, as some authors do with series books. Even so.

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