The Bees follows a bee named Flora 717. Flora is in the lowest caste of the hive being one of the sanitation workers. She immediately finds out she’s different from the other bees, in that she can produce food and feed the babies with “flow” (something that most other bees can’t do). Curiosity typically is punished in the hive but Flora’s courage and loyalty to the hive is rewarded. She experiences things that most bees never get to do–move fluidly between the different castes of bees–she becomes a forager (spending her days away from the hive and finding pollen), she works in sanitation, she feeds the newborns in the nursery and even gets audience with the queen. Her loyalty to the hive changes when she finds herself about to give birth. How will she keep it a secret from the queen? From the other bees?
Let’s get one thing straight. I love to read and I think I’m a pretty imaginative person, however, if you handed me a book and said, “Hey! Read this! All the characters are bees and I think you’ll love it!” I would probably laugh at you and not take your suggestion seriously…but it would’ve been my loss. I really liked this book and it’s easy to forget it’s about bees (oddly enough since most of it does take place in a hive). It has many qualities of dystopian literature–such as hidden secrets, different sects being treated differently/better, fervent worshippers of the queen, mind control and the one character who must rise above all of it to know the whole truth of the hive to break free of it. Ultimately, the reader actually learns more about the inner workings of bee hive than one would ever think he/she would want to know but honestly? I learned quite a bit while reading this book because after I would read something curious I found myself looking up specific facts about bees and hives and yes…this book is accurate!
If you’re looking for something different and you have some time, it’s a nice little book. I think it wrapped up a little quickly but ultimately, I was a satisfied reader. I will definitely keep my eye out for Ms. Paull’s next offering.