The Bees by Laline Paull

Well, here’s a book that has generated a lot of buzz. Pun intended. I just couldn’t resist. 🙂  It’s been featured on NPR and chosen as one of LibraryReads May books.

Bees_PaullThat’s all well and good, and congrats to Ms. Paull, but I chose to read this book because of the odd premise. Y’all know I love odd books. My sister is always poking at me about some of the books I read. If it tickles my sense of the odd and the weird, then I’ll probably read it.  After all, that’s what induced me to read Christopher Moore’s Coyote Blue.  Since then, he’s become one of my favorite authors.  Especially when I’m in the mood for something off-the-wall.  Or out-of-the-box.  And what’s more out-of-the-box, metaphorically speaking, anyway, than a book set in a beehive?  And, even better, from the point of view of a bee?

So, The Bees

When Flora 717, one of the lowest of the low of The Hive, a mere Sanitation worker, emerges into the Arrivals Hall, it is immediately apparent that she is different.  And being different is a dangerous thing to be, as becomes immediately apparent.  She is larger than the others of her kin, and she is darker.  But our Flora gets lucky, or not, by catching the attention of Sister Sage, a priestess of the same kin-group as the Queen.  For, you see, Flora has a rare gift, not usually present in others of her caste, and, just as shocking, she can speak.  Thus begins Flora’s extraordinary journey which takes her places her kin-sisters never go, even into the holy presence of the Queen.

I hated Sister Sage and her kin, not to mention the fertility police, from the first chapter.  I kept hoping Flora would eat the bitch.  Or feed her to one of those creepy spiders.  And, maybe, tell those obnoxious drones what to do with their precious “dronewood”.  Nonetheless, I found the ultimate fate of all, including Flora 717 and her kin-sisters, to be very satisfying.

I really enjoyed my time in, and out of, The Hive.  The Bees is an enjoyable read, set in an unusual place, with wonderfully complex characters.  Even The Hive itself is a character of sorts.  The Hive Mind.  I will certainly look for Ms. Paull’s next novel.

Rating:  5 out of 5 stars.


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