It’s been a while since I read, and enjoyed a dystopian novel (-Sophie Gardner’s award winning Maggot Moon– well worth a read, and obviously 1984 by George Orwell). When one of our book group members put forward Laline Paull’s the Bees- I was equal parts apprehensive and intrigued. A dystopian beehive?! How bizarre.
The story is centred around the life of Flora 717- a sanitation bee who is programmed to ‘accept, obey and serve’ her Queen and Hive. I felt that her personality shone through the novel and I really did care what happened to her.
I actually really enjoyed the descriptions of the dynamics of the beehive; the sanitation bees, the fertility police, the foragers, the Priestesses, the drones, the Hive Mind… I didn’t expect to. Laline weaves a genuinely believable story (well, as believable as you can get with humanised bees, I guess) in a world laced with corruption and danger, where ultimately survival is the key. I don’t want to give too much away, but I was genuinely hooked until the very end. An interesting read.