The Bees by Laline Paull
Flora 717 emerges as a new sanitation worker in the hive, but she’s different. One of the first things about her is that she can talk, which most sanitation workers cannot, but she also produces flow, which feeds the baby bees. The pace of life in a hive is fast.
Flora 717 tries to follow the hive mind and be a good bee, but it’s clear she different. Flora is brave and helps defend the hive from a wasp and gets to meet the queen. The queen is everything Flora ever imagined, but there’s something wrong. There are rumors that something is wrong.
Things escalate when Flora lays an egg and sneaks it in the nursery, but it doesn’t last long. The fertility police find Flora’s egg. Flora rises once again in the hive and becomes a forager. Another egg happens and the spiders tell Flora that another one will come. The winter comes and the Sage bees that guard the queen continue to keep a tight hold on any news about the queen, but eventually the news comes out.
What I liked
I never thought a book about bees would be so interesting. The bees are more humanized than they actually are, of course. I don’t know the exact workings of a bee colony, but I do know that Laline got a lot of it correct. A beehive does have different types of bees that have specific jobs.
I can’t imagine that the structure of a beehive would change too much. So one bee rising up the ranks would seem a bit unlikely, but then again, I don’t know a whole lot about bees. The unlikeliness of the situation is part of what makes it so interesting though.
What I didn’t like
I can’t really say there was a lot I didn’t like. The book was quite interesting.
What do the bees get up to in there?
Do you think bees have their own society and societal problems?
If you were a bee, what type of bee do you think you’d be?