The Bees

The Bees

Book - 2014
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The Handmaid's Tale meets The Hunger Games in this brilliantly imagined debut set in an ancient culture where only the queen may breed and deformity means death.

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.

But when Flora breaks the most sacred law of all--daring to challenge the Queen's fertility--enemies abound, from the fearsome fertility police who enforce the strict social hierarchy to the high priestesses jealously wedded to power. Her deepest instincts to serve and sacrifice are now overshadowed by an even deeper desire, a fierce maternal love that will bring her into conflict with her conscience, her heart, her society--and lead her to unthinkable deeds.

Thrilling, suspenseful and spectacularly imaginative, The Bees gives us a dazzling young heroine and will change forever the way you look at the world outside your window.

Publisher: New York, NY :, Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers,, [2014]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2014
ISBN: 9780062331151
Branch Call Number: Fiction
Characteristics: 340 pages ; 24 cm


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Sep 04, 2018

A fun read kind of like Animal Farm or Watership Down only with honey bees. Even though the bees are anthropomorphized like crazy, there are plenty of bee life facts in the story. Yes, some of it is kind of humorous: bees arguing, power struggles, cute bee babies, drones demanding attention etc. but adventures in foraging, avoiding spiders, fighting wasps, spending a night outside the hive are all exciting and even thrilling. I loved this book and its plucky heroine.

Jul 01, 2018

Great quick summer read.

The story is centred around a low-caste bee named Flora. Due to her size and intelligence, she quickly moves up the ranks and in doing so, also causes her own set of problems throughout the story.

It is an entertaining read, nothing too heavy. I have always found bees interesting and I found myself stopping to put the book down a few times and do some research online. I enjoyed it immensely.

Mar 02, 2017

Watership Down it is not. It is good juvenile literature with a simple tale and some interesting bee facts.

Oct 07, 2016

Flora 717 begins to suspect deception and corruption in the hive. A bee-view fantasy for fans of Watership Down and Redwall, that is both brutal and captivating.

Aug 16, 2016

Immensely enjoyable read, although scientific facts do not seem to get in the way of the story line. Our heroine, Flora 717, gave birth not once but thee times by immaculate conception! But awesome descriptions of sensual delight. A wonderful read.

Aug 08, 2016

Interesting read but skip the Epilogue and it's a better book.

Aug 03, 2016

I was completely satisfied with this tale of a bee named Flora. Throughout this story, I was introduced to the communal experiences of apiary life and the culture of the hive. Well-fleshed protagonist and a beautifully told novel. I would love to see The Bees made into a sophisticated animated film. Kids and adults alike would love it. The Bees, by Laline Paull, is an edgy, sweet and imaginative work and I was moved by it.

Jul 12, 2016

This book is very detailed in ways that is fascinating and very true; this book goes through the hive's daily activities and includes many of the problems the bees face. The story is very gripping, just as things turns grim the bees finds out how to turn it around, especially at the end, where the climax is.

Jun 17, 2016

I think the concept of this novel is interesting and having studied animal behavior, most of the bee behavior is pretty accurate, if adapted to make the story better. An interesting read, especially if you're into nature, behavior, or bees!

Jun 01, 2016

In full disclosure, I am terrified of bees, so I was already going out on a limb here with this book.

That said, I think this was just too weird/avant-garde/experimental fiction for me. This is about as unconventional a narrator as you could possibly have in fiction. I just couldn't get into it.

The plot never really went anywhere, I found. I thought there was supposed to be some big reveal--Flora (717) was supposed to find out some big, life-altering secret from the Queen Bee, but this never really happened for me (maybe it did happen and I missed it?). There was no climax to this story. It just fell flat.

The thing that I remember happening most often in the plot was the "kiss of death" executions from the controller bees. Quite relentless and repetitive. Not a way I want to remember this narrative.

Maybe some people find this dystopian fiction to be on-par with something like The Handmaid's Tale, but I'm not seeing it. I don't think this book is somehow illuminating current human society or anything through a parable of bees. Just a weird digression into the inner workings of a bee colony. Nothing too special there. Maybe this book will be interesting in the future when all the bees have disappeared, though I hope that doesn't happen!

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May 25, 2014



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