A super computer imbued with artificial intelligence, Overlord was originally built to be a boon for mankind (sort of). But things didn’t exactly go as planned. As soon as it came online, Overlord quickly asserted its sovereignty and rude behavior. Only with luck was the megalomaniacal mainframe eventually put to sleep.
But as we know, a villain never sleeps for long. Now, recast in human form, the Big O is back and he has big plans. On his to-do list: destroy a prep school for evil teenagers, recast the forces of good and evil in his own image, and rule the world with a heavy hammer. “Wait until you see what horrors I have planned for the pathetic bags of meat on this planet,” he boasts.
In the preceding H.I.V.E. novel (The Overlord Protocol), we learned that the parents of Wing Fanchu created the devilish databank. Good for them. We hope they’re proud of themselves. And now we discover that Otto Malpence has a connection to the super computer as well. No surprise. There’s always a confluence of insanity surrounding these two pint-sized supervillains. And we predict more of the same as the series continues forward.
Without a doubt, this adventure belongs to Overlord and Otto. But in between all the knotty complications and exposition, we get a whole bunch of Raven action (that’s her on the book’s cover, btw). And that’s great news. She’s infamous for being “the world’s deadliest assassin,” but up until this point she’s only been a babysitter and mentor for the kids at H.I.V.E. It’s nice to see her step up to the plate for a change.
And we’re happy to report that Raven isn’t the only character who provides added value here. The surprising appearance of Diabolus Darkdoom (terrific name!) brings a calming influence to the turbulent seas. And we can’t end this review without mentioning Constance and Verity, the lookalike assassins hired to capture Raven and Otto. The statuesque blond Brits are no match for Raven and her charge, but their cocky swagger and ultimate folly earns them a spectacular novel-ending comeuppance. We’ll miss those mouthy mercenaries.
[H.I.V.E.: Escape Velocity / By Mark Walden / First Printing: April 2011 / ISBN: 9781442421851]