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The Bees: A Novel | [Laline Paull]

The Bees: A Novel

Flora 717 is a sanitation worker, a member of the lowest caste in her orchard hive, where work and sacrifice are the highest virtues and worship of the beloved Queen the only religion. But Flora is not like other bees. With circumstances threatening the hive's survival, her curiosity is regarded as a dangerous flaw, but her courage and strength are assets. She is allowed to feed the newborns in the royal nursery and then to become a forager, flying alone and free to collect nectar and pollen.
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Publisher's Summary

Flora 717 is a sanitation worker, a member of the lowest caste in her orchard hive, where work and sacrifice are the highest virtues and worship of the beloved Queen the only religion. But Flora is not like other bees. With circumstances threatening the hive's survival, her curiosity is regarded as a dangerous flaw, but her courage and strength are assets. She is allowed to feed the newborns in the royal nursery and then to become a forager, flying alone and free to collect nectar and pollen. A feat of bravery grants her access to the Queen's inner sanctum, where she discovers mysteries about the hive that are both profound and ominous.

But when Flora breaks the most sacred law of all - daring to challenge the Queen's preeminence - enemies abound, from the fearsome fertility police who enforce the hive's strict social hierarchy to the high priestesses jealously wedded to power. Her deepest instincts to serve and sacrifice are now overshadowed by a greater power: A fierce maternal love that will bring her into conflict with her conscience, her heart, and her society - and lead her to perform unthinkable deeds.

Thrilling, suspenseful, and spectacularly imaginative, The Bees and its dazzling young heroine will forever change the way you look at the world outside your window.

©2014 Laline Paull (P)2014 HarperCollins Publishers

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (157 )
5 star
 (57)
4 star
 (49)
3 star
 (24)
2 star
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1 star
 (7)
Overall
3.8 (145 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.1 (146 )
5 star
 (70)
4 star
 (44)
3 star
 (19)
2 star
 (7)
1 star
 (6)
Performance
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  •  
    Katrina Cottage Grove, OR, United States 05-11-14
    Katrina Cottage Grove, OR, United States 05-11-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A very unique story"
    What did you love best about The Bees?

    As a beekeeper, a story from the bees perspective was interesting. It describes the intricate society of bees as human. I loved it. It tells of the perils bees face and why they are disappearing.


    What other book might you compare The Bees to and why?

    It is like Animal Farm. Some bees are more powerful or important.


    What about Orlagh Cassidy’s performance did you like?

    She is a great story teller. She varies her performance well for different characters.


    Who was the most memorable character of The Bees and why?

    Flora 717. A brave bee who retains her individuality within a tightly controlled society.


    Any additional comments?

    Every beekeeper should read or listen to this book.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. F. Guthrie Bangor, Maine 05-30-14
    C. F. Guthrie Bangor, Maine 05-30-14 Member Since 2014

    Professor of Religion and Ethics

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Best novel about bees ever!"
    What made the experience of listening to The Bees the most enjoyable?

    A quirky but well-crafted novel and an excellent reading.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Only Flora, the main character, really stood out as a character. Others were types.


    Any additional comments?

    A very clever book. The author knows the world of bees inside and out. If you can overcome the oddness of the anthropomorphism of bees this book has interesting lessons to tell about individualism vs. collectivism, hierarchy, religion, and even the epistemology. It reminded me of Nagel's now-classic essay on what it's like to be a bat. The reader is forced to consider what it might be like to be a bee, albeit one which is a little like a Disney princess -- respectful and yearning to break free from social constraints in order to find her true place in the world.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    gary sherr 07-16-14
    gary sherr 07-16-14 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "Loved it!"
    What made the experience of listening to The Bees the most enjoyable?

    I was interested in so many levels. As a nature lover, the caste system of a bee hive was fascinating and their ability to communicate was brought to life by the author. It's also a story of a royal court with the secrets and privileges that come with it. If you like Hunger Games, you'll like this too, because the lead character, Flora 717 questions the social system that is rigged and flawed.


    What about Orlagh Cassidy’s performance did you like?

    She was fantastic! Her narrative skills brought to life the many characters (bees and other insects) that were in the story (male, female, noble, worker, wasp, spider etc).


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J Greenville, SC, United States 06-10-14
    J Greenville, SC, United States 06-10-14 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Meh."
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    If it had more drama or been less predictable. I listened to it twice but not intentionally... My mind kept wandering to other, more interesting things (like watching a fly crawl up a wall) and I would have to rewind a bit and listen again


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    The narrator chose the same voice for different bees, and sometimes it was hard to discern who was speaking. One time she used a unique voice for the main character (Fl;ora 717) and didn't go back and edit a change. Unthinkable.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Not so much. It wasn't horrible, it just tried too hard to force normal bee activity into human attributes and feelings, and it didn't work. It seemed to be well researched... as the offspring of a beekeeper, I recognized many of the activities described, but it just proved that though they may sound interesting, to live them as a bee is pretty boring.


    Any additional comments?

    To compare this to Watership Down is an insult to Richard Adams and the legion of fans who treasure that work. This wasn't even a shadow of that.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joel M. Headdings Alaska 06-08-14
    Joel M. Headdings Alaska 06-08-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    ratings
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    "It was weird. In a good way."
    Would you listen to The Bees again? Why?

    Yes. It forced me to have a different perspective while listening to the book.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    Most Interesting: An animal being the main character was new to me, but I enjoyed it and I personally love the fact that 90% of the book takes place in the hive. It shows the scale of life and that even in small secluded places, life is happening. Which was perfectly wrapped into the story by the begging and ending scenes.

    Least Interesting: I am not a beekeeper, nor do I claim to have knowledge abounding on bees, so it wasn't always easy to follow some of the terms used in the book. Although now I do feel able to say I know a minuscule amount about bees.


    What does Orlagh Cassidy bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    She was a good narrator. I am picky on narration voices and she did a good job. So if you're picky like me, I think you'll like her.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    The Hunger Games: Bees
    Game of Thrones: Bees
    (Just because I'd make a killing in the box office)


    Any additional comments?

    Read it. I enjoyed it. And because I enjoyed it. That means you will.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    kayla 05-19-14
    kayla 05-19-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Cliche, generic and unmemorable"
    What disappointed you about The Bees?

    Doesn't provoke thought or new ideas. Its childish and simplistic in its plot. I had high expectations, I was deeply dissapointed, waiting for a turning point which did not happen. I took the reviews of other listeners but feel mislead. This book is a decent listen. I could drift in and out of the story without missing critical information.


    What aspect of Orlagh Cassidy’s performance would you have changed?

    I disliked how the reader (Orlagh Cassidy) changed voices for the characters. Her reading of characters voices was similar to nails on a chalk board. If you like a very matriarchal reader, one of whom reminds one of their grandmother or mother reading at bedtime, she might interest you.


    Any additional comments?

    all and all- its ok. If you like a mindless, lifetime movie-esque drama this would be a good choice, as in performance and in plot it did nothing to differentiate itself from the masses.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lucy St. Petersburg, Russia 08-18-14
    Lucy St. Petersburg, Russia 08-18-14 Member Since 2013

    I love to read. On average I read and/or listen to more than 100 books a year. Audible has been a fantastic addition to my life. Love it!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Worth buzzing about"

    This was lovely. A subtle look at humanity, life, power structures, feminism, and family. Sticks with you for a long time. Well worth a listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    christopher colgan 08-10-14 Member Since 2014
    ratings
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    2
    2
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    Story
    "Totally unrealistic"
    What did you love best about The Bees?

    Yeah it is fiction which I usually hate. But the characters are cool bees and not stupid boring humans


    What did you like best about this story?

    Pretty much like how it was an unusual perspective


    What does Orlagh Cassidy bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I do not know I cannot read that's why I got the audio version


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yeah and did BAM


    Any additional comments?

    Good for long car rides I was totally sucked into to jive mind for about 12 hours until my battery ran out

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sandy CLACKAMAS, OR, United States 06-29-14
    Sandy CLACKAMAS, OR, United States 06-29-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Different"
    Would you recommend The Bees to your friends? Why or why not?

    It was recommended to me and no I would not. It's an ok story and I suppose it does bring awareness of the bee's plight, but it's not a gripper.


    What about Orlagh Cassidy’s performance did you like?

    She changes voices nicely.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ashton Mishima-gun, Japan 06-29-14
    Ashton Mishima-gun, Japan 06-29-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "bees make honey they don't do it for money"

    A well executed idea. It felt a little bit too linear and I would have liked some side stories. Definitely changed the way I think about honey. Great narrator.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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