THE BEES BY LALINE PAULL
FOURTH ESTATE (KINDLE), 2015
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
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.
Yet Flora has talents that are not typical of her kin. And while mutant bees are usually instantly destroyed, Flora is reassigned to feed the new-borns, before becoming a forager, collecting pollen on the wing. Then she finds her way into the Queen’s inner sanctum, where she discovers secrets both sublime and ominous.
Enemies roam everywhere, from the fearsome fertility police to the high priestesses who jealously guard the Hive Mind. But Flora cannot help but break the most sacred law of all, meaning her instinct to serve is overshadowed by a desire, as overwhelming as it is forbidden…
The old orchard stood besieged. To one side spread a vast, arable plain, a dullard’s patchwork of corn and soy reaching to the dark tree-line of the hills. To the other, a light-industrial estate stretched towards the town.
WHAT I THOUGHT
The Bees disappointed me. I really thought I was going to love this book. It sounded original, different and interesting. I love movies like Antz and A Bug’s Life and have read books with non-human characters before (e.g. The Last Family in England and Watership Down) so thought this would be right up my tree. Sadly it wasn’t. There are brilliant moments in the book where Flora is a great character and lots of interesting things are happening. However, there are also moments when I found myself bored or a bit irritated. The potential for greatness isn’t executed as well as it could have been. Unfortunately, The Bees didn’t completely work for me or tick all the boxes.