The Bees

The Bees

Book - 2014 | First edition
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A member of the lowest caste in her orchard hive, Flora 717, due to her courage and strength, finds her way into the Queen's inner sanctum where she discovers secrets about the hive that cause her to challenge authority and perform unthinkable acts.
Publisher: New York :, Ecco,, [2014]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2014
ISBN: 9780062331151
Branch Call Number: F PAU
Characteristics: 340 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm

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23305016881787ccc
Oct 07, 2020

This book takes a fascinating view of of the delightful helper of all plants, the buzzy bees. They are always buzzing around, people praise the bees for their hard work, but shriek when a bee land on them. The book follows the unique bee Fiona, her journey as her ranks get higher and higher, takes on different jobs throughout her hive, and her dedication to her duty, her miserable maternal journey.
I have read plenty of science fiction, where the main character awes at a different planets of a far-far away place, but the world of the bees are effectively more estrange and alien. How the bees communicate with their smell and they could transfer memory and experience like an physical object, how they are born with duty in mind, and they have a scene of electricity. It really make the readers think about all the different live forms sharing our world, our planet, or even our garden's blueberries.

JCLCharlesH Sep 04, 2020

Engrossing, bizarre, educational, and heartfelt; this novel was all of that and more. Focusing on the life-cycle of a colony of bees may seem odd for a fiction book, but Flora 717 (our protagonist) will win you over with her heart and her devotion to the hive. Laline Paull weaves a beautifully complex description of the workings of a hive and bee society that captured my imagination from the first chapter.

n
NMostacada
Aug 03, 2020

This was such a weird and good read; totally not the thing I normally go for but it was worth it. Flora 717 is a sanitation bee which means it’s her job to clean, however, she different than the other sanitation bees because she is able to speak. She then becomes a nursery bee in which she tends to bee larvae, then becomes a forager and has adventures out in the world collecting pollen and nectar. Her one true love in life is her Queen Bee in which there is a Holy Mother prayer in which all the bees from the hive feel the love from their Queen Bee. This book skillfully brings up dystopia, bee biology, deforestation and pesticides, religion, and social hierarchy. I highly suggest this for adventurous readers.

forbesrachel Oct 30, 2019

In a world both foreign and recognizable, Flora 717 is born. As a sanitation bee, little is expected of her. She will clean and remove the dead, and like all bees she is expected to "Accept, obey, and serve." But something is different about Flora. First recognized because of her speech and thoughts, she is given a job in the nursery. Then a forager and more; acting as a guide to all aspects of bee life. She serves and learns and also questions enough to act both for herself and her hive. But then she lays an egg, the highest act of treason. Flora feels conflicted and yet she can't help but continue.
Paull's story is partly rooted in research of actual bees, and partly in the dystopian genre. The way the Sage probe the minds, the "immune" system, and even the effect of the Queen's devotion draws inspiration from both. Paull skilfully treads neutral ground when it comes to the ethical nature of such a system. We feel the injustice at the lose of one of thousands of unnamed bees, but then marvel at the mechanisms in place that ensure their survival. The system may be cruel, but it is one that even the independent Flora recognizes as necessary. Maybe it is because bees seem so distant from humans that we can examine a "dystopian" society through a more academic, and less value-based lens.
Still, the heart of this story is a sole bee. The sympathetic Flora will make you look at these creatures with new respect and empathy. Even with such an anthropomorphic representative, it still makes you realize that theirs is surely a life of struggles and triumphs too. Praise to the Queen. Praise to the sister workers. And finally, praise to this mind-opening book by one truly imaginative author.

LPL_LeahN Oct 06, 2019

The heroic tale of Flora 717, a lowly worker in an orchard hive, blends a transportive narrative with fascinating lessons in the biology of the bee, their complex social hierarchy, hive mind, etc. As well as how we're killing them all with deforestation and overuse of pesticides. Full of adventure and a poignancy that I know will stick with me a long time.

r
ryner
May 06, 2019

Flora 717 is a newly-hatched honeybee within an orchard hive. Born into the sanitation worker class, but noteworthy among her lowly colleagues due to a mutation enabling her to speak, she is noticed by a priestess who introduces Flora to a number of other possible tasks and castes within the hive. Eventually settling into foraging, she comes to the realization that there is truly something unusual about her when, to her horrified surprise, she suddenly lays an egg!

I'm so impressed by Paull's notion to write an adult novel from the point of view of an insect. It's unlike anything I've read previously, and I was mesmerized, completing the book in just two days. There is lots of food for thought within, from fascinating information regarding the life cycle and social organization of bees themselves, to concerns about pesticides and the environment. You may well forget it's a work of fiction.

r
robinandrews10
Feb 11, 2019

Such a moving, relevant, fascinating perspective on sacrifice and motherhood. I came across this book shortly before becoming a mother myself and this book has become very special to me. What an excellent novel.

l
lpreston214
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.

j
jplante825
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.

d
Dub
Mar 02, 2017

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

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stephaniedchase
May 25, 2014

“ACCEPT, OBEY, SERVE.”

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