The Bees – Laline Paull

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Triumphant.

This novel is dripping with sumptuous description, buzzing with believable characters, tense, thoughtful, wonderful, and all set inside a beehive. The protagonist is a bee, which may make you raise a quizzical eyebrow, but trust me. It works.

Flora 717, born a sanitation worker, is the lowest member of a strict totalitarian hierarchy that doesn’t allow for social mobility and uses the ever-present, haunting mantra, “Accept, Obey and Serve”. These bees are governed by the Sage Priestesses – essentially the “government” – but they all worship their Queen, who has become a kind of mystical deity. The society is so exquisitely formed that somehow you forget that all the characters are “just” bees, and instead become sucked into an almost dystopian civilisation.

Flora shouldn’t be noticed, yet somehow she proves herself to be an excellent Forager (a bee who goes out of the hive to search for nectar), and manages to rise up the ranks of society. She questions the authority of the formidable Sage Priestesses and the brutality of the law-enforcing bees, therefore making the novel not one just about  bees, but one that can be compared to the likes of The Handmaid’s Tale or Watership Down.

This is Laline Paull’s debut novel, and it has shot up to seize the top spot in my list of favourite dystopian narratives. I can’t wait to see what she does next, and I implore you to read it!

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About goldensnidget92

I am a 21-year-old English graduate from the UK, who's just started working in publishing . I have passion, ambition and Nutella deprivation. I write, I research, I dance (ballet, ballroom and latin), I read, I draw (poorly) I wear hats and I muse. A lot. My musings are generally disjointed and erratic, and probably don't make much sense. I am inflicting them on the world anyway, because I'm feeling selfish right now. And because maybe, just maybe, they'll spill out in a way that makes sense. Look out, World, Helena's just discovered the power of free speech!

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