Author: Laline Paull
Publisher: Fourth Estate
Genres: Literary Fiction, Speculative
My first thought upon finishing The Bees was that bees are hella strange. I am not sure what I was expecting really but it was much more than what I got. The story follows this special bee Flora 717 who was born to be a lowly sanitation worker but finds that she can fulfil a lot more roles than that. The story reminded me bizarrely of Divergent as Flora doesn't really fit rigidly into any of the worker bee roles but kind of does them all. Why is Flora 717 so special... prepare to be wondering until the last 20 pages. It's quite gross in parts as well as being just utterly strange in others and the ending was crap.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.
But Flora is not like other bees. Despite her ugliness she has talents that are not typical of her kin. While mutant bees are usually instantly destroyed, Flora is removed from sanitation duty and is allowed to feed the newborns, before becoming a forager, collecting pollen on the wing. She also finds her way into the Queen’s inner sanctum, where she discovers secrets both sublime and ominous.
But enemies are everywhere, from the fearsome fertility police to the high priestesses who jealously guard the Hive Mind. And when Flora breaks the most sacred law of all her instinct to serve is overshadowed by an even deeper desire, a fierce love that will lead to the unthinkable . . .
I didn't really relate to anything in this book, I'm not really sure what the point of it was and I find it hard to even categorise it. I didn't really care about the hive or even the main character, to be honest I am shocked that I even finished it. The narrative is all over the place and it is very repetitive. I suppose the life of any kind of insect is repetitive but it doesn't really make a compelling story in my opinion. I didn't even feel like I learned that much about the behaviour of bees like I expected to from this book as I couldn't separate the pure fiction from the fiction based on fact.
The Bees felt like a hot mess and I can't say that I would recommend it to anyone.