‘It wasn’t as great as it needed to be to tell the story’ – The Bees by Laline Paull

tblpI wasn’t quite sure what to make of this book when I started reading it. It starts with the birth of Flora, a sanitation worker bee number 717, joining the mass controlling hive mind, but there’s something different about her as well. She is picked out as an experiment to do different chores than her caste’s usual cleaning.

Flora tries her hand at a number of departments in the hive before being tossed back to sanitation but her gifts make her stand out no matter what she does. Then the big one arrives. She can lay eggs. She sets about trying to hide her ability as it means death. ‘Accept, serve and obey’ is the mantra that keeps the hive together, and this is what every bee must do to ensure she stays alive. The male bees are layabouts, waiting around to pick up potential queen bees, and the worker bees must pander to their every need.

This book sets out to do something very clever, but I don’t think it quite achieved it. It’s basically a story about a bee in a hive. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an original story, but I was hoping for a lot more based on the hype around the book. The writing struggled in places, it wasn’t as great as it needed to be to tell the story.

Any Cop?: It’s an easy read, different to what’s out there in the market at the moment and something to kill a wet afternoon with.


Claire Snook


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