Much as I enjoy Laurie R. King’s work in general, I find she has a frustrating tendency to introduce intriguing premises or relationships and then simply ignore them. Whether this is because she is uncertain how to proceed or simply uninterested in her own ideas is unclear, but in any case the tendency is unfortunately evident in The God of the Hive. The events of the previous installment, The Language of Bees, introduced several new characters with a wealth of dramatic potential. I had hoped to see King make use of some of that potential in this sequel; instead we get more new characters and the vague, unconvincing schemes of a half-baked and entirely uninteresting villain. Meanwhile our principal characters spend almost the whole novel split up, the plot allowing them only the briefest interactions, while the primary and most interesting new character from the previous installment hardly appears at all.
This novel is still enjoyable listening, at least for fans of the series – King is a skilled (mostly) and intelligent writer, and Jenny Sterlin’s narration of King’s careful language is always a pleasure – but for me it was ultimately unsatisfying. I hear that yet another Russell/Holmes installment is in the works – I will look forward to that next book and continue to hope (despite the weight of evidence to the contrary) that King will reward our emotional investment in her characters by following through on the intriguing new developments she has introduced
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