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A modern-day young woman somehow gets trapped on an alien planet, transformed into an amalgam of human and something more. With no way home and all the survival skills of an average upper-middle-class shut-in, how will she possibly survive let alone find a way home? Turns out, she needs to learn how to help herself... figuratively and very, very literally.
Evelyn, meet Evelyn. You're going to do great things together.
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Hive Minds give good hugs is the story of Evelyn, who finds herself YOINKED to a distant planet, and modified.
Sadly, when being asked "What do you wish to have?", she still thought everything was mostly normal, and made an entirely earth-appropriate, new-planet inappropriate wish.
Character score: The characters are rich and vibrant, written in thundamoo's excellent style. The characters and personalization carry this story hard, and everyone is a delightful treat to interact with.
Grammar: A team of beta readers bonks thundamoo whenever she makes mistakes, which results in virtually no grammatical errors slipping though. I'm not going to say no errors slip through, because I just KNOW someone will find one and point it out, but - I haven't seen one.
Style: A+. Thundamoo's one of the best writers, and her voice and style carry through in a strong, entertaining way.
Story: Fairly standard so far. There's nothing super special, nor is there any weirdness going on. Just a solid, strong story of a woman who's become half-bug, in a world where everything's trying to grab a fast snack. You know, fairly standard stuff.
All in all, HMGGH is an excellent novel, with the biggest problem being the abbreviation. It sounds like someone's consipated or something.
Mango front: 0/10. Unless she's deliberately left them all for Elaine. Then 1/10
I started reading this because of the premise - I'm a sucker for both isekai stories and hive minds, so I thought this story would be a perfect fit. And in many ways, this is a great story - it is technically well-written, with few grammer and spelling mistakes. Also, the characters a believable human beings, which is a missing trait in many hive mind stories here.
Unfortunately, that's where the problems start. The MC, while believable, is very annoying - she doesn't have a personality as much as an interlocking set of mental disorders. However, the real nail in the coffin is that as the story goes on, it becomes less and less about isekai and hive minds (the things I started reading the story for) and more and more about lecturing the audience about the author's view of the world, and how if they disagree with her they're horrible people.
This problem becomes worse when we see the Earth side of things. Whereas before I could dismiss the lecture as just being a character study, all the Earth-side interactions make it clear this is an author-based, rather than character-based lecture. The Earth side also compounds the problem of straying away from the parts that made the story interesting, as there is less hive mind and no isekai there. Unfortunately, as of chapter 41, the author seems more interested with the Earth side of the story than the isekai bit.
I'm giving this story 2.5 stars for how well-written it is, despite how much it annoyed me. I may come back to it later and be able to enjoy it for what it is, but for now I can't bring myself to read any more of it.
I think I only had 2 serious problems with this - otherwise neat - story. They caused me quite a bit of grief when I was reading it (and I admit those are pretty subjective reasons for grief). Here they are:
1. This story was not what I initially expected of it to be. My initial expectations were based on annotation and list of tags. I expected that it'd turn to be something light-hearted in core, with aesthetics of stories about self-propagating adaptable biohorrors that I have experienced before: "Alien" franchise, or "StarCraft" franchise or "Lings" (novel from RoyalRoad) or "I don't want to be the Hive Queen" (novel from RoyalRoad).
2. Some cultural incompatibility happens from time to time when I see something that my mind percieves as short-sighted propaganda. It's mighty weird to see bashing of things that you were born and raised to believe good, upright, worthy and saw them working well and then read about how evil and dystopian they are. :P
Reason (2) is not something I would explore in this review - because it's one person's subjective opinion and beliefs against another person's opinion. I'm not here to preach. It's also loo little of a chance that you'd have same problems as me - because for that you'd have to be raised and mature in country and cultural and ethical space that was destroyed three or four decades ago :P
But I'll explore reason (1) in more details - I think this might be of use to person reading this review: with expectations set better, you'd enjoy story more.
So, first thing first, tag "Comedy". If you expect for story to be fluffy and light-hearted... no, for the love of all that is fluffy and cute, no. To me it felt grimdark. And heartwrenching.
Many isekai stories have MC as everyman - average person in stable position in life.
MC of this story is not.
As you discover in starting three chapters (and with more details later), MC - Evelyn a student aspiring to become biologist - before getting isekaied - was not ok. Not ok at all. She had serious mental problems, with keywords: medication, loneliness, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, denial, edging of split personality. And this lonely girl who desires to have friends and be loved - has only one real-life friend - Samantha - who fears and dislikes Eve's character-defining hobby and passion (bugs and arachnids).
Eve is written in a very, very believable manner that just made me want to sit in a corner of room and cry.
And then imagine this vulnerable person, civilian, not survivalist, child of first-world country, who is lonely, dropped suddenly into wilderness with no human creature to interact with. Loneliness intensifies.
Then wildlife tries to murder her and injures her.
It turns into nightmare even with her abilities, immunity to diseases and slow but useful regeneration.
It's terrifyinng and heartwrenching how she wraps herself in denial, creates imaginary friend. Dunno - it like watching Forest Gump all over again.
There are some snarky jokes here and there to lift up morale, but overall situation is not funny at all. You don't laugh on something like this - you cry.
And with Eve growing more into her body and situation she becomes more resilent, yet more cracked.
Is there any magic in this story? So far there are only three unexplained and possibly magical elements:
1. telepathy between Hive members that allows to transfer information between brains of Hive at ridiculous speeds, and wetware for this amazing mechanism is housed into only two compact antennae which can be inhereted by Eve's children.
2. The way MC works as biolab with ability to control processes in herself, her children, analyse and emulate devoured organisms.
3. How Evelyn was transfered into this wilderness in the first place.
Is this story about epic military battles? No, it's about gritty survival horror of one person, and a few chapters later - of a party of few persons.
Are children of Eve mindless marionettes used to be controlled remotely? No, mentally, they are clones of Eve. Important element of this story is Cloning Blues and cyberpunkish questions about ship of Theseus.
Author admitted in author's notes that she feels that Hive minds can be much more than what is usually depicted in other fictions. She explores her ideas and those are interesting to follow.
When story becomes interesting? I feel that around chapter 10 or chapter 20. It's slow burner, but I like result of when it get's going and complexity of situation becomes "complex enough".
Is this story creative? Yes, many elements of story are very unique.
What did I like about story? Design of creatures and bioms. While it takes quite a few chapters for author to show more than three species, when momentum starts going it becomes really interesting - evolutionary paths of this world are fun, unique and distinctive. And it feels like author has some coherent and believable system to generate these interesting creatures.
I liked how Eve designs responses to counter problems that she's facing.
I liked her bantering between all Evies.
I loved fluffy scene where ETB leans to fly and purrs like aircraft ))
I lived how Eve's hive is basically a small RPG party of characters who are pretty diverse in abilities, sensory organs and sizes. It reminds me of charm of old games like Shadow Caster, Diablo and Hexen.
Style score: style of MC's inner dialog and descripting what happens around her is pretty decent and lively.
Story score: it's interesting to explore, it's enjoyable (except for 2 reasons I've mentioned at the start of review)
Grammar score: English is not my native language - so I'm not the most reliable judge on that aspect. But to me grammar felt perfect.
Character score: believable characters with believable motivation. It's just that I don't feel that I like some of them as persons due to their beliefs; and so far it's just were not enough of interactible characters.
The story started well, but in the middle it changed into a narrative point of view of the author( with a very narrow view of the world).
In addition, the characters have very flat personalities, with no clear personality development. They are stuck in their vision of the world due to the author's failure to look at cultural , species and etc.
The grammar is good and I have nothing to complain about, it is quite easy for non-native speakers to understand.
To the style only thing I would fault is that there was often a change of time of the story(a form of flashback/dream) , which makes it a little difficult to understand the story.
(I write this review having read up to the Patreon chapter 10)
Overall: Close you eyes and imagine... Cinnamon Bun meets Vigor Mortis. A simulataneously adorable and slightly horrifying story about a very nice girl who has no plans to use her hivemind powers for evil. Bonus points, the abbreviation, HMGGH, is even the sound made by people who are hugged too hard!
Style: The style is great—It's written in first person and present tense and the prose consistently reflects the MC's personality and state of mind. Thundamoo's prose is consistently top tier both here and in Vigor Mortis, easily contending for best on RR.
Character: Where this story truly shines, even if there's literally one sapient character so far. Evelyn just oozes adorkablility. She loves bugs and plays the zerg in Starcraft because they're cute. She invents voices and personalities for her pets. She's precious and deserves all the hugs.
Grammar: A few occasional typos missed by the beta readers aside, perfectly good. I haven't seen any typos that weren't caught by beta readers (by definition :P) and while I'm sure they exist, there aren't many.
Story: This was originally a quest so the story is very exploratory and character driven. It's a survive-and-hopefully-thrive type story of a girl discovering that she's a bug hivemind and trying to survive while avoiding becoming one of the many evil bug hiveminds in science fiction.
To the front page with you! We'll take trending tomorrow with our combined powers!
We'll see who wins this review battle! [ Squints in the direction of Selkie].
As with Thundamoo's previous book, this one is written in a similar style of interest - first person observation and present tense, allowing the readers to dive into the mind of the main character and hero. Hive Minds Give Good Hugs starts with the main character Evelyn petting her spider pet and heading to sleep, only to wake up to a mysterious voice asking her questions and then to wake up yet again as a hive queen.
It's a good idea to start a book with a character who was just born - budding authors take notes, this is how it's done.
As with Vigor Mortis, the thematic catch is: an adorable cute girl who loves bugs mixed with horror sprinkled with a whimsical adventure.
Grammar and spelling are quite nice, no issues there.
Also, you can find more chapters on Thundamoo's patreon. Support our budding RR indie author and throw money at her now so that she can live long and prosper and give her more reviews!
Overall: Many hugs for Thundamoo for starting yet another masterpiece!
From the title to when you start reading it seems like it's going to be a lighthearted story, Spoiler its not. This is grimdark and not the kind I enjoy. This is a story about mental illness and having no social skills.
The protagonist quickly goes from socially awkward and strange to insane within a week. In just a week without being able to talk to anyone she goes insane.
After finding out she killed an alien with human like intelligence she cracks completely. I pushed through 13 more chapters after war is hell (when she finds out she killed a human like alien) and In every single chapter she is on the edge of another breakdown or is having one.
I don't blame her for going insane after all she has been through. Being transported to another planet, Being placed in another body, Laying eggs, Becoming a hive mind, Having new alien instincts, dieing, finding out she killed a person. even before all that she was having mental problems.
The author wrote her realistically. It just would have been nice to know that the story was going to take such a dark turn.
Before Chapter 17 War is Hell I enjoyed it and recommend reading up to there.
The beginning's great, I love it, but there's a certain point where a lot of the charm just.... evaporates. Instead of adorably terrified/terrifying the mc just kinda becomes terrifyingly insane in a sad way, and the only major side character at this point outside of the interludes has "It's not a phase mom!" as a legit character trait. There's also a lot of pointless religion-basing of primitive cultures through that character. Not sure if that's intentional or not. I want to still love it, but it's not the same story as the first few chapters.
Review written on chapter 29, Avoiding Disaster.
This is a great story, but MC made it less enjoyable for me.
I love the concept, the world building, the pace, but her personality is annoying me.
Between her ADHD, her overreactions, and her being socially inept, the story is interrupted frequently by whole paragraphs rambling about one thing or the other, or spent apologizing to alien moles.
I would have enjoyed a more laid back, analyzing MC, maybe older.
I perfectly understand that some people will relate to this kind of MC, it's just not for me.
I'll keep reading though, because it is otherwise interesting.
So, forced into introspection by a sci-fi novel. Hmm, be wary my fellow escapists as this book lures you in with false appearances of risk free imagination, and then forces your face into the spinning grindstone of the horror of the real world.
Very well written, and avoids the self-aggrandizing satisfaction or smugness of believing or claiming it is the "right" answer. In this case I feel the answer the protagonist finds is simply the "least worst answer".
The beginning of this book is very deus ex machina, as is the end but I don't know a feeble attempt to set up the scenario would actually add anything. Outside of those suspensions of disbelief the story is very internally consistent and does not demand from the reader any sudden leaps of faith, nor does it stray into technobabble. The characters are very human, quite believable, and easy to empathize with. The two narratives intertwine well and contrast wonderfully, playing an individual who has no power watching the struggles of one who has power trying to deal with the woes of the world, to the same individual who now has that power and must exercise it or not.
The writing is well done, grammar and style easy to read and conveys the different viewpoints very well.