The Bees by Laline Paull

I was given this book in work to review and to be honest, apart from seeing Mercedes’ review in her October Wrap Up, I didn’t know anything about it. I consequently read a few reviews after receiving it and it was pegged as a cross between The Handmaid’s Tale and The Hunger Games by several sites. I haven’t read Atwood’s novel but The Bees promised to be an unusual take on the dystopian genre and I completely agree.

With the characters all being bees and the story mostly taking place within the hive, it did take me a few chapters to get into it. I don’t know anything about bees and their nature so it was interesting to me learning about this kind of thing and I don’t think you really need to know anything about them to enjoy this book. After a while it seemed completely normal to be reading about the bees’ lives.

I really enjoyed the themes explored in this novel; despite the characters being bees, the main themes of the novel were entirely relateable such as motherhood, religion, the environment, a sense of home, instinct vs control, etc. I think there were interesting ideas explored in a way that was highly effective, making the reader feel closed in at points by the oppression of the society and the claustrophobia Flora 717 is feeling.

Overall I would highly recommend this book if you’re looking for something completely different! There were slow moments but on the whole this is a fast-paced read and a great piece of fiction that would appeal to a wide range of readers.

4 out of 5 stars!


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