Book Review: Panther in the Hive by Olivia Cole

panther in the hiveBook Title: Panther in the Hive

Author: Olivia Cole

Genre: Sci-Fi

Book Description: Panther in the Hive is at once an unforgettable coming-of-age story and a captivating vision of an unsettling future. Tasha Lockett, orphan, oddball, and former fashion addict, is alone in a Chicago overrun with citizens-turned-weapons, the result of the cybertronic disaster that brought the country to its knees four days ago. When Tasha receives a letter from her estranged sister warning her of the catastrophe and urging her to travel to the South Side where there is rumored to be a safe zone, Tasha must face what the world has become. With only her precious Prada backpack and a sturdy kitchen knife, she embarks on an epic journey through the wasteland Chicago has become, forming alliances and discovering that although the world may be in pieces, she might still become whole. Readers who enjoy the likes of Margaret Atwood and Octavia Butler will enjoy this coming of age adventure in a not-quite unrealistic setting. Readers have called Panther in the Hive “the intersection of I Am Legend and The Devil Wears Prada.”

My Review

You HAVE to read this book! I’m so glad I stumbled across it while reading a Huffington Post article. I typically don’t read Sci-Fi. Like ever. But I’ve heard from a few of my fellow writer friends that they don’t read books in the genre they write in because they don’t want their work to be influenced.  So I thought, why not take a leap of faith and read a Sci-Fi book?

Best. Decision. Ever.

This story gripped me from the first page and held my attention until the very last word. That’s saying a lot because the book is 472 pages long. Don’t let that intimidate you, because there’s so much action the pages turn themselves. You’d think that with a bunch of zombie like shenanigans, there wouldn’t be much room for depth. You’d be wrong. Cole manages to delve into the topics of socialism, racial stereotypes, elitism, and propaganda.  All while showing the evolution of her protagonist, Tasha, from a superficial label whore to a confident woman finally comfortable in the skin she was born in.

You’ll root for Tasha. You’ll question your own superficiality. You’ll think about investing in a really good kitchen knife set. Chick Lit meets Sci-Fi and they have a genius baby: Panther in the Hive. Read it. You won’t regret it.

Buy “Panther in the Hive” via Amazon here!

Have you ever read a book that surprised you? How often do you read a book outside of your typical genre? Do you agree with the advice to avoid reading books in your genre when writing?


9 thoughts on “Book Review: Panther in the Hive by Olivia Cole

  1. Now I’m coming at it from the other side — I cut my teeth on sci fi and determined this summer to read anything BUT sci fi for the very same reasons you mention! But… thanks to you I want to read this so bad! Waaaa, I can’t resist! 😉


    • LOL, I know the feeling. Don’t worry, summer is officially over this coming weekend. Then you can read sci fi again until your heart’s content! Reading outside of my normal genre was fun, and I think I learned a few things. Especially about moving a story along with action.


  2. OK so I couldn’t wait til this weekend — finished it in 4 days! 😀 (My day job kept getting in the way or it might have taken less…) So having read it I can say you *completely nailed* the appeal of this book in your review. Tasha is a vividly drawn character that makes you feel like you’re developing along with her. Also some great turns of phrase; for example, the depiction of the contagious humor in Z’s voice, her “talk that tickles”. Agreed that it’s a great study of moving action along; I don’t think I noticed many lags or awkward transitions. So, thanks again, and hey since my non-fiction moratorium is over, I’m ready for suggestions anytime! 😉


    • Yay, I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Yes, Cole delivered with this one. Tasha became real to me, flaws and all, and I loved watching her evolve over the course of the book. That “talk that tickles” was a phenomenal phrase that stayed with me as well. Now we just have to wait for a sequel!


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