The Bees: A Novel – Book Review

The Bees: A Novel by Laline Paull

Guest book review by Kimberly Hunter. A personal friend of mine, fellow writer, book lover, and my go to for proof reader. Kim is my inspiration behind my post College Girl 1995. We’ve been friends ever since.

As an avid reader of the fantasy genre, I’m no stranger to the extraordinary and wondrous worlds that live outside the boundaries of our current human reality.  The Bees:  A Novel is one of the most unique and beautiful books I have read in quite some time. This is not your average fantasy realm:  there are no swords or mages, no dragons or pixies.  Instead, it’s a simple story of a bee hive.  In particular, it’s the captivating story of Flora 717, a courageous worker bee who dares to defy the conventions within her world.

This is a book that challenges the mind, and offers an opportunity to consider life from the perspective of a single honey bee.  It’s a fascinating concept:  an exploration of the effects of the hive mind, and the consequences of a willingness to resist the “rules” for the greater good of a community.  Flora 717 is an engaging protagonist, secure in herself and in her convictions, though she doesn’t always realize this.  She loves her Queen with all of the devotion of a faithful servant to a higher power, and every one of her actions is performed with that as a driving force.

As with any great story, our feisty little bee has to overcome many obstacles which serve to make her stronger and more capable.  There are the priestesses which protect the queen and challenge Flora’s faith and perception of power.  There are the foragers, who are given permission to leave the hive and collect sustenance for the community; it is through these workers that Flora realizes she is worthy, and develops a sense of pride.  Let’s not forget the nursery workers, from whom Flora gains a deeper understanding of the circle of life.  And of course, lest you worry that there is a major plot element missing here, there is even a lesson in love.

As we follow Flora along the path of the humblest janitorial worker to being blessed by the grace of the revered Queen Bee herself, we can’t help but compare her life lessons in this microcosmic landscape to those of our own world history.  From fighting a totalitarian regime, to experiencing the grace of God, to a being champion of freedom and unity, and even conquering deadly enemies… our Flora 717 has experienced life to its fullest, and is a heroine worthy of our love and respect.

This is a novel that will stick with you.  Beautifully written, with excellent attention to detail and exceptionally imaginative, The Bees is a highly recommended purchase for your “to be read” pile.  And for any of you Kindle Unlimited subscribers, it’s available for free!  Readers of all genres will find something to love here, and will surely hold a part of the brave Flora 717 within them once the story ends.

the bees

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