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The Bees

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3.69  ·  Rating details ·  26,472 ratings  ·  4,378 reviews
The Handmaid's Tale meets The Hunger Games in this brilliantly imagined debut.

Born into the lowest class of her society, Flora 717 is a sanitation bee, only fit to clean her orchard hive. Living to accept, obey and serve, she is prepared to sacrifice everything for her beloved holy mother, the Queen. Yet Flora has talents that are not typical of her kin. And while mutant
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Hardcover, 340 pages
Published May 6th 2014 by Ecco
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Popular Answered Questions
Lesley The characters are bees! Its not marketed as YA but I think teenagers would enjoy it a lot.
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Ma. Alejandra Padilla Hi Lola, also late, but just in case you have not seen come across the author's GR interview [Debut Author Snapshot: Laline Paull -May, 2014], she…moreHi Lola, also late, but just in case you have not seen come across the author's GR interview [Debut Author Snapshot: Laline Paull -May, 2014], she specifically addresses this strange "pregnancy". The whole interview is very interesting. I am copying here the relevant part.
Enjoy, Alejandra

-- GR: What are some of the weird and wonderful facts you've learned about bees during your research? Any favorite bits of trivia?

--LP: "..... but the spark that really set me off was learning about the one in 10,000 sterile female workers, who for no known reason will spontaneously form an egg in her body and begin to lay. And then finding out there are squads of sister bees who search the hive to destroy these eggs and kill her when they find her. Those two pieces of biological fact lit the blue touch paper for fiction. "




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3.69  · 
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Will Byrnes
The Bees is a powerful tale of what life might look like to a hive member. This is not your kids’ Bug’s Life, but a very grown-up, compelling drama that includes both sweetness and considerable sting. There are several elements that might make one think of Game of Thrones Drones. Corruption on high, battles of succession, sinister enemies, both in the hive and outside. Not only must all men die but winter is coming, twice. There is also a lot of religious reference here. This sits atop a marvelo ...more
Delee
People who know me even just a little- know how much I love Watership Down...so when I saw THE BEES on one of my friends GRs profile and read some reviews, one review in particular caught my attention- "Watership Down with Beeeeees" it said. I didn't have to read any further than that...

 photo 226316fe-d9b5-459c-8737-d342da203461_zps50167f1e.jpg

For Flora 717- it is almost over for her as soon as her little life begins. She is not like the others in her hive- she is bigger and darker than the other bees- and being different is never allowed- Deformity i
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Trudi

Bees are exceptional creatures. Their hive characterized by drama and high stakes, intelligence and a sophisticated organization that is a marvel to study and behold. For all its beauty and the tantalizing production of golden, luxurious honey, the bee life comes at a high price -- an existence propped up by slavery and the hive mind. There shall be only one Queen and no original thought. Accept. Obey. Serve. It's Orwell's 1984 in the flesh, Thought police and Big Brother included. Deformity mea
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Alejandro
To Bee or not to Bee...

Did your fate and role in life should be ruled by your birth heritage?

Is it advisable to question your religious beliefs?

Nowadays those are odd questions since we are living in an era where you are not longer "classified" due your ethnics and even you can choose not believing the religion of your own family.

However, this is not the case for the entire world.

Even in the 21st Century, it's clear that while there are many countries enjoying freedom to express your opinion, s
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Emma Blackery
Jan 28, 2015 rated it it was ok
Thoroughly disappointed with this book. I was recommended this by a Waterstone's employee - and the story looked to be unique and captivating. Sadly, within a few pages, I realised that Laline Paull's writing lacked clarity, and hardly anything about the hive in which the book was set was easy to envision.

I also agree with other critics of this book - this is not merely about bees, but seems to be a poor metaphor of humanity. The bees have many kins, clearly trying to represent the classes withi
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Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

The best thing to come out of reading this book is finding the following:



The Bees is really about a beehive – where the bees have been anthropomorphized and talk and shit. Amazing that that bit of info seems to be a spoiler for some. Heck, that was the whole reason I wanted to read it - an unusual premise is a quick sell for me. What wasn’t a quick sell? The story of Flora 717 (a/k/a the horniest bee in the hive) and her unyielding de
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Andrew
Mar 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
I really would have rather given this book three and a half stars. Four seems a tad too strong. It was very readable, interestingly novel, but thematically confusing. I felt like I was supposed to be drawing parallels deeper than "Hey, those bees fail to adjust their social structures in the face of adversity, just like us!"
Ultimately stupid complaint: I was continually confused by seemingly fluctuating level of anthropomorphism. Often it seemed that these were simply normal bees with their expe
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☘Misericordia☘ ~ The Serendipity Aegis ~  ⚡ϟ⚡ϟ⚡⛈ ✺❂❤❣
Synchronicity on honey turns out to give an insanely great read. Watership Down crossed with 1984, Forrest Gump, The Red Book and the Memoirs of a Geisha.

Q:
“Accept, Obey, and Serve.”
Q:
“Deformity is evil. Deformity is not permitted.” (c)
Q:
...kindly recall that variation is not the same as deformity. (с)
Q:
“You danced well. You have served your hive.” Lily 500 smiled at Flora. Praise end your days.Praise end your days, Flora thought back to her, and the words were sweet.
Q:
She wrapped herself
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Book Riot Community
If you had told me last year that I would fall head over heels in love with a dystopian novel about bees, I would have said you were off your rocker, but gosh darn it, that’s exactly what happened! I spent a lovely couple weeks getting caught up in the amazingly intricate world of honey bees, and I loved every second of it! The story follows Flora 717, a lowly sanitation worker bee who surprisingly finds herself drawn into the inner circle of the queen bee, where she discovers a surprising numbe ...more
Stephanie *Very Stable Genius*
May 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
I enjoyed The Bees.

Flora 717 is a bad girl. She's born different than the rest of the Floras. She's bigger, darker, smarter and more talented than the rest of her clan, and this is dangerous. She even breeds and everybody knows only the Queen may breed.

This is an odd little book that fascinated me with a bunch of bee facts, and it was very interesting...

Then I came across this video that I watched more than a few times and it brought this book to mind. It holds pretty much all you need to know
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Alice
Jun 22, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
DNF on page 121/304 39% (22/06/14 to 23/06/14)

There are no spoiler tags, so read at your own peril!
1.5 “Oh, spare me- he was just a great flying wad of sperm.” stars.
Flora 717 is a sanitation bee, born to clean, born to serve. But she was born hideous and large, nothing like the other Flora's. None of the other Flora's can speak, but she can, and she wants more.

Flora 717 is far different than the other Flora sanitation workers, she can speak, she's far too large and she's a rule-breaker. But Si
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Carol
May 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, sci-fi, read-2015
If you are a fan of Watership Down you will most likely enjoy this remarkable and highly imaginative story of the life of bees as they Accept, Obey, and Serve their Queen. With communication through dance in the hive and courage and strength, Flora 717 overcomes the challenging forces of rain, wasps, crows and the dreaded "visitation" that threaten her existence.....and forbidden secret.

While I did enjoy this interesting and informative story (with memorable prologue and epilogue) it didn't blow

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Maciek
It's a bit like The Handmaid's Tale, but in a beehive!

The Bees follows the existence of Flora 717, from the moment where she emerges as a conscious being - one of the Floras, sanitation worker bees, who are among the lowest classes of bees in the Hive. Most of her kin are mute and treated as inferior by other bees, but 717 is no ordinary Flora: it is soon discovered that she can not only speak, but also produce Flow - an important nourishing substance which is feed to the larvae. But there is mo
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Gergana
Dec 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
You might like this book if:
1. You enjoy Watership Down
2. You are curious about bees and their way of life
3. You want to read something bizarre and different
4. You are looking for a book with an original dystopian society (not another Hunger Games/Divergent copycat)

The Bees is a surprisingly 1. original, 2. action-packed and 3. emotional! For the first half of the book, I kept asking myself - why do I keep reading this? It's the weirdest, most bizarre thing I've ever had my hands on and it doe
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Zoeytron
Apr 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: public-library
A lowly sanitation worker bee flies to new heights as we follow a year in the life of a beehive. Everything for the hive, the bees are attuned to each other, chanting, humming and thrumming. Living by the rigid hive rules of Accept, Obey, Serve, even when it hurts. The Hive Mind. The Myriad, consisting of all those who would hurt bees - spiders, wasps, crows. The horror of too much rain, or smoke accompanied by thievery. Very different, I found it to be exceptional.
Julie Christine
Lavish and unique, The Bees is a study in world-building. Laline Paull has taken a dissertation’s worth of dry facts about apian culture and transformed them into a dripping, droning, vibrating multi-caste tale of a beehive.

I nearly set aside this anthropomorphic dystopian thriller early on, because, well, it’s an anthropomorphic dystopian thriller. I did Animal Farm as a sophomore in high school; I wasn’t keen on revisiting those salad days. But Laline Paull’s gorgeous writing, and my immediat
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Robin
Jan 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic.

I wasn't sure I wanted to read this as I tend to shy away from anything written from the point-of-view of anything from the animal kingdom, but once I got into this I could not put it down. Flora is an amazingly well-created character and life in the hive is absolutely riveting, and I found myself caring about Flora and her kin more than I thought possible. I now want to watch the documentary "More Than Honey" to learn about these fascinating creatures. I will never look at honey in t
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Jo Ann
Apr 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing


Accept * Obey * Serve

Author Laline Paull has taken the world of the Honey Bee and turned it into a top notch scifi-fantasy novel. As a lover of dystopian stories this tale appealed quite strongly too me. Imagine a society run entirely by women. Paull brilliantly tells the story of Flora 717 a female worker bee born into the lowest caste of her society a sanitation cleaner, but something is different about Flora. She will prove to the rest of the hive her courage and resolve to save her people
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Cherie
Jan 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
An amazing imagination and a wonderful, wonderful story!

If you ever wondered what life may be like inside of a hive of honey bees, this one is for you. Their life and death and cycle of wealth and loss are all here for everyone to discover.

Did you ever wonder what a bee sees or what she thinks as she goes about her daily life?

Flora has been blown off course on her way home from a foraging run. It is late and she has been chased by a crow. She has found a hole in a tree and is hiding. The crow
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abby
Oct 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, dystopia
Accept. Obey. Serve.

Flora 717 is born to the lowliest class of bees in the hive-- the sanitation bee. But it becomes clear from her hatching that this Flora has unexpected abilities. Sanitation bees keep to themselves and don't talk, skirting around the edges of the hive as they clear away the messes left behind by superior bees. It's how it's always been done. The compliant are destroyed. Immediately. However, low pollen yields have made for desperate times. Instead of being killed, Flora is al
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Jojo
Sep 03, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bleh
Well, what a tremendously disappointing read this was! This book was deemed a close comparison to "The Handmaid's Tale." It wasn't. Not even a tiny bit. Unfortunately this book wasn't even in the same league as "The Handmaid's Tale."
Sadly for me, it was evident, that within reading the first few chapters, that this was going to be a flat read. The writing was tiresome, and failed to intrigue or captivate me. I was lead to believe this book was something fresh, and due to it being centered aroun
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Ashley
NB: I received an advanced reader’s copy of this book from the Goodreads First Reads program, but that has not affected the content of my review.

IIIIIIIIIIIII . . . have no idea how to rate this book*. I have no idea how to talk about this book. I have no idea how to think about this book. I mean, on the one hand, I’m so glad something like this — so weird and weird and just weird — can be published. But on the other hand, I have no frame of reference for really talking about it? Other than mayb
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Alice-Elizabeth (marriedtobooks)
If you are looking for a read that will surprise you, then The Bees is the book that you need to pick up! The premise of the story told from the perspective of a bee was so interesting and most of the time, enjoyable to read. Flora 717 is a bee who works as a sanitation bee but throughout the novel, moves through multiple roles. In their kingdom, the only bee that can lay eggs is the Queen Bee. But Flora 717 wants to have a bee of her own. She struggles to hide her inner feelings, as she and her ...more
Laura
May 13, 2015 rated it it was ok


This book was TURBO DISAPPOINTING.

It had been billed as a cross between The Handmaid’s Tale and The Hunger Games. From now on, I’m going to ignore any book whose marketing people explicitly compare it to The Hunger Games, because it’s not the first time - or even the first time this year - that I’ve been let down by what can only be described as this EVIL PLOY.

So what were the problems with this book?

For a kick off, it’s ACTUALLY ABOUT REAL BEES. Not metaphorical bees. Actual bees. My friend an
...more
Jess (Primrose)
May 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
As an amateur beekeeper, I was so interested to read this book. And overall, I really liked it! The foundation of the book centers around the Hive Mind. It is truly one of the most fascinating parts of beekeeping for me. The author takes liberties in the personalization of the bees and proposing feelings such as love, anger, control, power, etc. but it did make for a good story. The descriptions of the disorientation caused by cell phone towers, the effects of pesticides to the bees, and intrus ...more
Wanda
"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 pollen. She also finds ...more
Eilonwy
Jan 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Eilonwy by: Gergana
Maybe 4-1/2 stars.

This was a really amazing, very different book. I know I keep promising reviews to come and then falling behind on actually posting them :-(, but I do need to organize my thoughts about this.

The short review is: This is a pretty unique story, super vivid and imaginative. If you want to read something highly unusual and original, give this a try. I think this is going to stick with me for a long time.
smetchie
This book is stunning. It's magic! I can't remember the last time a story drew me in this tightly and refused to let me go. The writing is intoxicating and elegant. Regal and glowing, like the golden honey at it's center. The bees are mystifying, nearly erotic, but pure and bright. The hive is an intimate sanctuary of scent and holy devotion to the Queen. She is the Holy Mother and her blinding love incites bliss and rapture among her obedient disciples. Her children are strong, and tireless. Wh ...more
Tatiana
Apr 02, 2014 rated it liked it
Recommended to Tatiana by: Margaret Atwood
3.5 stars

Evidently, bees are fascinating creatures, they really are! Who knew? And as far as their representation in this "dystopia," it is mostly factual. But although I enjoyed learning about bees, I am not sure I actually cared to read a fictional novel about them (too often my mind wondered during all the nectar gathering scenes). Maybe I needed the same story told, with the same dystopian setting, only with human characters and slightly adjusted?

Anyway, it's definitely worth checking out.
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490 followers
I write books, I've written plays and screenplays and plan to do so again (in fact I'm working on the theatrical adaptation of The Bees)

I work best secluded in nature or in the midst of a crowd of strangers.

Introvert with the perfect job.
“You have wings and courage and a brain. Do not annoy me by asking permission." Lily 500 in The Bees” 20 likes
“Then kindly recall that variation is not the same as deformity.” 18 likes
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