You have never read a book like this before.
There. I said it.
I have a slight fear of bees and wasps, if by slight I meant crippling and devastating. I’m the guy you see running, ducking and screaming away from the picnic table or paralyzed with fear beside a well trafficked flower. Nevertheless, I picked up The Bees by Laline Paull in hopes of conquering my fear in the name of great fiction (how great is that cover!). I was not disappointed.
The novel follows Flora 717, born a sanitation worker bee (one of the lowest stations in the hive) but infused with a sense of higher purpose and meaning. Flora takes the reader throughout the hive out into fields and into many dangerous situations. This is, of course, an oversimplification of the plot, but I don’t want to ruin anything. The best description I can give you is that this book is Watership Down (Richard Adams) but with bees and is incredibly well written. Flora, our heroine, battles terrifying wasps, takes on the hive’s strict social hierarchy and discovers some unbelievable secrets that sees her go from simple sanitation worker to something much, much more important.
I loved this book, not only because it is non-stop suspense but because it is so well researched, so descriptive and so detailed that it is unputdownable. If I can’t convince you, you might be able to trust the opinions of these 3 people who loved the book:
Margaret Atwood called it “A gripping Cinderella/Arthurian tale with lush Keatsian adjectives.”
Emma Donoghue says “The Bees is one wild ride. A sensual, visceral mini-epic about timeless rituals and modern environmental disaster.”
Madeline Miller writes “The Bees is an extraordinary feat of imagination, conjuring the life of a beehive in gripping, passionate, and brilliant detail.”
Couldn’t have said it better myself…but I’m still terrified of bees.
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