Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Bees by Laline Paull

by:  Laline Paull
published by:  Ecco
publish date:  May 6, 2014

Flora 717 is a sanitation worker, a member of the lowest caste in her orchard hive where work and sacrifice are the highest virtues and worship of the beloved Queen the only religion. But Flora is not like other bees. With circumstances threatening the hive's survival, her curiosity is regarded as a dangerous flaw but her courage and strength are an asset. She is allowed to feed the newborns in the royal nursery and then to become a forager, flying alone and free to collect pollen. She also finds her way into the Queen's inner sanctum, where she discovers mysteries about the hive that are both profound and ominous.

I found this book to be fairly disturbing.  Firstly, it made me really wary of bees in general.  They're supposed to be smart, what if they really are functioning on a level like in this book?  That would just freak me right out.  Secondly, the parallels that this book drew between the behavior of bees and the behaviors of human cults was eye opening.  Whether or not that was the intent, it definitely did that for me.

Flora is a brutish, ugly sanitation bee, but something is seen in her that sets her apart from her sanitation workers.  Not only can Flora talk, but she can also make nectar, so she is sent to work in the nursery.  Her size and strength eventually gets her a job collecting pollen.  This puts her in the outside world, learning of other hives and the dangers of predators and changing of seasons.  She also learns of the secrets of her own hive and how deadly they just might be for her.

The Bees was a bizarre look into the world of bees and perhaps our own human world.  I would recommend this book to readers that like a good conspiracy theory.  The Bees is an interesting debut from Laline Paull, I'm curious to see where she goes from here.

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