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Hive Monkey by Gareth L. Powell

book cover of Hive Monkey

This sequel to Ack-Ack Macaque was more or less exactly what I needed right now: a short, fun, easy read that made a nice break from the more difficult books I’ve been reading lately. It picks up where Ack-Ack Macaque left off, with Victoria Valois captaining the ship her uncle left her, Ack-Ack Macaque working for her but at a loose end, and Victoria’s dead husband Paul continuing his life-after-life, this time as a computer simulation who can be projected as a hologram.

The plot this time involves parallel universes and a creepy cult called the Gestalt, whose goal is to assimilate everyone in every parallel universe into the same hive mind. Again, it’s very reminiscent of Doctor Who, but Powell tamps down the ridiculousness just enough this time to emerge with a more believable, and thus more engaging, book. To be clear, a book with a grizzled and foul-mouthed warplane-flying talking monkey still does require a fair amount of suspension of disbelief, but at least the Prince of Wales was not a major character this time, and the villains’ motivations seemed more in the realm of what cult leaders really would do if they had access to the same technology.

On the surface I’ve given this book the same three stars as I gave Ack-Ack Macaque, but I feel like this time I’m rounding down, while with that one I rounded up. These are not the most deeply moving books I’ve ever read, but at least I had fun with this one.

Books in the Ack-Ack Macaque series

  1. Ack-Ack Macaque
  2. Hive Monkey (you are here)
  3. Macaque Attack

★★★

photo of Jessica Smith is a left-wing feminist who loves animals, books, gaming, and cooking; she’s also very interested in linguistics, history, technology and society.