Book Review: Rogue by A.J. Betts

Rogue – Book 2 in The Vault series…

About the Book:

‘There was no going back; there was no choice, anymore. I’d chosen out and this was it: hot-cold, dry-wet, bright-dark and lonely.’

Hayley has gone rogue.

She’s left everything she’s ever known – her friends, her bees, her whole world – because her curiosity was too big to fit within the walls of her underwater home.

But what is this new world she’s come to? Has Hayley finally found somewhere she can belong?

Or will she have to keep running?

The thrilling conclusion to Hive from award-winning, internationally bestselling author A. J. Betts.

My Thoughts:

Last year I read Hive, the first novel by A.J. Betts in her two part dystopian YA series about a community who live in a hexagonal world. At the end of Hive, Hayley, our protagonist, was aided in her escape from the only world she’d ever known and propelled out into the ocean. At the time of reading Hive, I expressed the opinion that I wished this story was one bigger novel instead of two smaller ones released a year apart. Now after having read Rogue, I stand by this opinion. I really do think sometimes that publishers do YA novelists a disservice by always releasing in series form. Hive itself wasn’t a very long novel, and despite really enjoying it at the time, I just didn’t remember enough of the specifics to fully enjoy Rogue.

The world Hayley discovers is an altered Australia, 100 years in the future. Global warming has indeed changed the surface of the earth, and as you might expect, there are more islands. Betts provides an eerie vision that is typical on some levels but innovative on others. As Hayley grapples with surviving up above, she spends some time contemplating life that is still going on down below.

‘Even if it was a mistake that had kept three hundred people in an underwater vault, at least it had been a fortunate one. They’d lived happily and safely, unaffected by the famines and storms and wars that had plagued this world above.
A greater mistake now would be to tell them the truth. It would be too cruel to show them the atlas and point out their smallness. It would trivialise everything they’ve done and believed in.’

I didn’t mind Rogue but it didn’t have me as enthralled as Hive. Hayley’s sheltered naivety offers at times an overly simplistic outlook and I found the ending somewhat rushed and oddly timed, with little preceding warning of the ultimate outcome. An easy ‘happily ever after’ out, if that makes sense. It’s in this that the novel rears its YA head, reminding me why I prefer fiction for adults. One thing I did really like about this story is the absence of romance driving the narrative. Hayley is a strong character who is relying on her wits and inner strength to get her through the challenges that are thrown in her path, and for this, I highly commend the series as a whole. It also places a great emphasis on friendship and trusting others to help you through the hard times. If you read Hive, you’ll want to follow it up with this one, even if it’s just to find out why Hayley’s world was originally constructed. But it’s not a novel that can be read as a standalone so if you’re new to this series, I recommend you pick up Hive first.


Thanks is extended to Pan Macmillan Australia for providing me with a copy of Rogue for review.

Visit my review of Hive here.

About the Author:

A.J. Betts is an Australian author, speaker, teacher and cyclist and has a PhD on the topic of wonder, in life and in reading.
She has written four novels for young adults. Her third novel, Zac & Mia, won the 2012 Text Prize, the 2014 SCBWI Crystal Kite Award, and the 2014 Ethel Turner prize for young adults at the New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards, was shortlisted for the 2014 Queensland Literary Award and is available in 14 countries. It was adapted for American television. Her fourth novel, Hive, was shortlisted for the 2019 Indie Book Awards and a notable book in the Children’s Book Council of Australia awards.
A.J. is originally from Queensland but has lived in Perth since 2004.

Published by Pan Macmillan Australia
Released on 25 June 2019

9 thoughts on “Book Review: Rogue by A.J. Betts

  1. Well reviewed! I have to agree with you on this common feature of YA books, they do tend to stretch them into a series, when they could be compounded into one book. I received this one yesterday, I’ll be reviewing it for Beauty and Lace Book Club this month. I read Hive last year which will be helpful in approaching Rogue.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s disappointing Theresa, I might try and reread or reskim Hive, but I agree, breaking up books isn’t always a good way to go, and it was a short book. I will probably read Rogue next week, so I guess I’ll see what I think then.

    Liked by 1 person

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