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An excellent read that's detail has been carefully researched to pull together a story of love, honey, and bees. I think beekeepers will adore this and it's been written so well that non beekeepers will understand and enjoy the journey too! You could not have picked a better suited narrator.
I have wanted to read this book since I first heard about it. Now I've listened to it, I'm not sure what I originally expected, only that this wasn't it. The story of bee sanitation worker, Flora 717, reminded me of a fanatical religious cult run by bullies.
I found the narration grating at times, particularly when the narrator voiced the myriad of particularly unpleasant creatures that Flora encountered. I wonder whether the book would sound different if I had read it myself, if I would have enjoyed it more.
That said, it was engaging enough for me to listen to the whole 10 hours. At about the 6 hour mark it was touch and go, but I persevered to the end and am glad I did. I think this book suffered under the weight of my expectation more than anything else. Well, that, and I'm pretty sure (well, I hope) spiders don't sound like that.
Any additional comments?
I chose this book because I have always been fascinated by Bees since studying social insect colonies at University. So it was a great surprise and delight to find that an author had set a story in a beehive. The idea was a clever one and the author managed to weave a complicated, attention-grabbing, well-plotted dark tale with great skill and attention to details of the science/biology involved in bee colonies. But the story never read as a science-fiction tale. It was much more subtle than that. Once I started I couldn't put it down.
It reminded me very much of George Orwell's 'Animal Farm' in that it described a society of animals with political/social overtones from today's western world. The story is full of clever observations on how humans are affecting the natural world and the narrator is extremely effective.
This book would make a great read for adults and teens and could be used in schools or in families to discuss social problems and political allegory.
It really deserves wide recognition and prizes.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
What made the experience of listening to The Bees the most enjoyable?
The whole concept of the story taking place within a hive hooked me from the beginning. It was very well narrated, although I found the mispronounced (to an English ear) names of some of the flowers a little jarring.
What did you like best about this story?
Its unusual subject matter. I had an interest in bees before listening to this book, and it has increased! I can see the similarities mentioned between this and "Watership Down" and "The Handmaid's Tale", and would add "Perfume" by Patrick Susskind as another echo that I heard.
What about Orlagh Cassidy’s performance did you like?
A warm, feminine tone; ideal for the matriarchal society she was reading about.
Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
Any additional comments?
Whilst there were some weaker moments (it was never clear how in such a rigidly hierarchical society Flora was able to change roles so successfully), this was a wonderful work. I fear that the author may struggle to follow it up, but hope that she does.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
The premise of this book did sound pretty weird, but I have more than a passing interest in bees so thought I'd give it a go. Was sorry that I did. It was like reading teen lit. I had no idea bees were so bloody melodramatic. It didn't engage me at all and I was hanging out for the end.
Wouldn't recommend it to anyone.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful