The Bees

Paull, Laline

(Book - 2014)
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
The Bees
"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's website.
Publisher: New York, NY :, Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers,, [2014]
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ♭2014
ISBN: 0062331159
Characteristics: 340 pages ;,24 cm


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Feb 27, 2015
  • axeman rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I couldn't possibly describe this book in a few lines. If you are tired of reading the same old thing, you might want to try reading The Bees. It is a powerful, unique story that I won't forget any time soon.

Feb 06, 2015
  • samdog123 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This is a very different piece of fiction...whoever thought that an interesting book could be written about a bee hive--but here it is! Flora 717 is a sanitation worker but seems to possess unique qualities that get her noticed by the powers that be. It takes awhile to get used to the tight little community and all the rules....'accept, obey, and serve' is the mantra of every bee in the hive. Lots of fascinating facts--swarming over the winter to save on energy, the tireless foraging for pollen and nectar. Interesting battles with spiders and flies, enemies of bees, and of course, the dreaded wasps. Once you get used to the sense of overwhelming control and routine, you can applaud Flora as she changes throughout the story, despite the rigid controls of the hive. In the end, I really liked Flora and gained a new appreciation for bees, struggling against environmental factors that threaten their very existence.

Oct 07, 2014
  • Cynthia_N rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

The Bees is an odd but intriguing story. When I was little I loved reading nonfiction books about ants and bees and this book (while fiction) gave me back that wonder. It's hard to explain why I so enjoyed an adult book written from a bee's perspective but I absolutely did.

Sep 26, 2014
  • wmtlady rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I was enthralled by the book on 2 levels--that of the story line and that of information regarding these amazing insects. It is a "win/win" situation for everyone to read this book.

Sep 09, 2014
  • vmccreedy rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

Such an intriguing point of view that I couldn't stop reading at first, but then the story became repetitive and I had to say I lost interest half way through. But you do forget that you're reading about bees since the characters are well realized.

Sep 04, 2014
  • Toox rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I am not one to read books written from the perspective of an animal/insect (or any non-human). However, I was completely blown away by this book. This book has it all - politics, intrigue, mystery, tenderness, romance - and the fact that it was written from a non-human perspective actually added to the richness of the story-telling rather than detract from it. I read A LOT of books and not many of them leave a lasting impression. This book is definitely one I will remember for a long time to come. Read it!

Jul 13, 2014
  • beachcat2 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This the best book I've read in a long time ( and I read a lot of books)!

Jun 23, 2014
  • Michael Colford rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Laline Paull takes us into the life of a beehive in her extraordinary novel, The Bees. Flora is a singular hero, born to the lowest caste in the hive hierarchy, there is something special about her. It's something that's valued by some of her sisters, and feared by others.

As Flora moves about the hive, transcending her class, we learn all about how the colony operates, all the while thrilling to the search for food by foragers, the defense of the hive from predators like wasps and other fearsome threats, and navigating the internal politics set in motion to insure the hive's survival. Suspense, intrigue, romance, heroism, mystery, drama, humor... this one has it all.

Jun 14, 2014
  • KateHillier rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Interesting writing exercise sort of a book. Lots of thought here and very well articulated. Flora 717, a member of the lowest 'kin' of the Hive, is a little bit different. She ends up being well suited for several different jobs and as much as she is scorned and shunned for her apparently imperfections she is also valued for her courage and skills regardless. She learns perhaps a lot more than most other bees do in working with and mingling with other kins and in doing so that knowledge becomes more than a bit dangerous.

The writing is strong and repetitive, for all the right reasons, and there is a lot of showing rather than telling since our narrator is born knowing all these things and rites - we are just along for the ride. It's a very imaginative book overall, the end is a little obvious as it comes but it was still an overall enjoyable and original read.

May 07, 2014
  • JCLGreggW rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Some novels take you to different places you never dreamed existed - other novels take you to places you only thought you knew. Debut author Laline Paull’s THE BEES is an absorbing view of life in a beehive, but don’t dismiss this as a children’s book as this novel is much, much more. WATERSHIP DOWN it’s not. Born as a member of one of the lowest castes in the hive, worker bee Flora 717 gives the reader a grand tour of how bees live - moving from a sanitation worker to tending the young to being a member of the Queen’s entourage to becoming a forager, tasked with gathering pollen and defending the hive. As she discovers new abilities in herself, she uncovers a deep conspiracy that threatens to tear the hive apart. Flora, brought up with the hive mantra ACCEPT, OBEY, SERVE, has to use courage, pluck, and wits to save herself – and the hive.

Laline Paull does an amazing thing here, as you could read the book in any number of ways – an individualist rising up against a mass of blind conformity, or a dystopian-style adventure novel where one small voice struggles to save the world, or a novel where the reader learns about nature and its processes. It’s not perfect, as it’s a bit overlong, but you won’t mind, as you’ll stay up all night reading this completely refreshing, original novel. This is sure to become a book club favorite and will generate great discussion. Don’t miss out.

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May 25, 2014
  • stephaniedchase rated this: 4 stars out of 5.



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