Title: The Bees
Author: Laline Paull
Genre: Adult Literary Fiction
Synopsis: Enter a whole new world, in this thrilling debut novel set entirely within a beehive. Born into the lowest class of her society, Flora 717 is a sanitation bee, only fit to clean her orchard hive. Living to accept, obey and serve, she is prepared to sacrifice everything for her beloved holy mother, the Queen.
The Bees is a book that you’re either going to be into or you will dislike. I was very afraid that I would fall into the dislike side but somehow I ended up really loving this tale of a lowly sanitation worker Flora 717. The words and the prose are candy-covered and edible – there is a sort of ‘Night Circus’ twinge to it but we focus on one character and her full life from her birth to her end. Flora 717 starts out her life being experimented on by the wiser Sage bees and she’s placed in the nursery to help with the babies, her devotion is absolute to her hive, her sisters and above all The Queen Mother.
We follow her as we go through her months of life, connecting with certain bees, as she has adventures like fighting a wasp’s nest to nearly dying at an electric pole. Through it all her love remains steady towards her kin and she’s devoted and loyal to the Queen. Paull uses the most wonderful descriptions of things like their daily devotion, the rapture they feel at the Queen’s love and their food of honey cakes and pollen bread.
I can only imagine the amount of research this book took as Paull humanizes the bees and their life cycle, introducing you to biological facts painted as “prophecies” and “ancient customs”. I very much enjoyed it and I might even say that since I combined the audio and the physical book my enjoyment grew even more as the narrator, Orlagh Cassidy was spectacular.
I recommend this if you enjoy a sort of adult fantasy dystopian-esque literary fiction.