Tomorrow’s Kin by Nancy Kress

Book Review

 


Tomorrow's Kin (Yesterday's Kin Trilogy, #1)Book Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian

Book Series: Yesterday’s Kin Trilogy #1

Released: 7/11/17 by Tor Books

Pages: 288 Price: $25.99 Hardcover

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

Tomorrow’s Kin is the first volume in and all new hard SF trilogy by Nancy Kress based on the Nebula Award-winning Yesterday’s Kin.

The aliens have arrived… they’ve landed their Embassy ship on a platform in New York Harbor, and will only speak with the United Nations. They say that their world is so different from Earth, in terms of gravity and atmosphere, that they cannot leave their ship. The population of Earth has erupted in fear and speculation.

One day Dr. Marianne Jenner, an obscure scientist working with the human genome, receives an invitation that she cannot refuse. The Secret Service arrives at her college to escort her to New York, for she has been invited, along with the Secretary General of the UN and a few other ambassadors, to visit the alien Embassy.

The truth is about to be revealed. Earth s most elite scientists have ten months to prevent a disaster and not everyone is willing to wait.

My Review:

I’ve read a couple of books by this author and thoroughly enjoyed both of them, in fact, the first book that I read was Yesterday’s Kin.  The book that this series is based upon or is a continuation of.  I thought the cover looked familiar when requesting it so I dug a little deeper and discovered the connection and became concerned for a moment that I was about to read the same book twice.  The page count was different so I decided to continue and see what was different.

I have to confess I did skip the first third of the book which felt like it was either the same as Yesterday’s Kin or close enough that I would probably be fine if I jumped to the new material.  The book was divided into three parts and starting in part two the story picks up where the first novella left off.  If you want to read what I thought of that first third of the story you can do so here, Yesterday’s Kin Review.

So what did I think of this revamped or continued story?  I think it was bloody brilliant!  In my review of the previous story, I held back one star, mentioning closure for two of the characters but perhaps it was more of I needed closure.  I wanted to know more, what happened next.  In this book, the author delivers, big time.  The second part of the book picks up a few years after the first part ends and we get to see the aftermath of what happened on Earth when the aliens left and the disaster struck. It wasn’t pretty, but I think it was pretty accurate in what the author envisioned.  Like The Martian, Ms. Kress uses real science to weave a captivating and thoughtful story about human nature and human’s place in the world.  There was so much I hadn’t thought of if a disaster like this struck.  What the ramifications would be not only to our environment but our way of life and even our evolution.  It was truly fascinating.

The book does feel fairly science accurate but it was never stuffy or boring.  The author never lectures but simply illuminates and uses science to give her story teeth.  Ms. Kress is truly a gifted story-teller and I loved this book.  I am excited that there are two more tales to come as I can not wait to see where she takes these characters next.

If you want a smart yet thrilling science fiction story that echoes current environmental, political, and cultural struggles we face today while throwing an interesting twist then this is a book you are going to want to pick up for yourself.  This story has it all!

 

My Rating: 5 Stars

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Book Review

 


Ready Player OneBook Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian, Audiobook

Book Series: N/A

Released: 8/16/11 by Crown Publishers

Pages: 374 Price: $26.00 Hardcover

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I borrowed a copy of this audiobook from my library

 

 

Book Synopsis:

In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the  OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

My Review:

Wow, I really enjoyed this book!  Totally surprised me because I ended up DNFing this author’s second book Armada.  That one I found just annoying and a bit boring with all the insider info geared towards gamers.  This book, on the other hand, was a delight and a fun nostalgic trip to all things pop culture from the 80’s, the decade I spent most of my pre-teen and teens in.

I totally agree with another reviewer in that Wil Wheaton made this book for me!  Listening to him narrate this story was such a trip, especially when the story referenced him and anything Trek.  Being that this story is about a group of players searching for the ultimate Easter Egg inside a game to have so much of the story is essentially one giant Easter Egg was amazing. At almost every turn there was some pop reference that made me smile.

But that isn’t all that Ready Player One is about, oh no, there is much more to be had in this tale.  There is also a great social commentary on where our society might be headed if we don’t change our ways.  We get a glimpse at what might await us if we don’t start taking climate change seriously or stop rampant corporate greed.  I also enjoyed the ideas about where technology might be headed that the author proposed.

The last leg of this story focused on a small band of misfits struggling to fit in, in this world.  Outcasts that live their lives mainly online and struggle with social interactions.  Not to mention a budding romance that was beyond sweet.  The characters, like in any epic tale, are true heroes out to fight for the greater good.

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this book.  I’m not sure I would have felt the same way if I had read it myself though.  Wil Wheaton’s inflection and talent as an actor added that something extra that bumped this story up an entire star for me.  So if you have the option I would definitely listen to this one.

My Rating: 5 Stars

The Space between the Stars by Anne Corlett

Book Review

 


The Space Between the StarsBook Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic 

Book Series: N/A

Released: 6/13/2017

Pages: 368 Price:$26.00 Hardcover

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

All Jamie Allenby ever wanted was space. Even though she wasn’t forced to emigrate from Earth, she willingly left the overpopulated, claustrophobic planet. And when a long relationship devolved into silence and suffocating sadness, she found work on a frontier world on the edges of civilization. Then the virus hit…

Now Jamie finds herself dreadfully alone, with all that’s left of the dead. Until a garbled message from Earth gives her hope that someone from her past might still be alive.

Soon Jamie finds other survivors, and their ragtag group will travel through the vast reaches of space, drawn to the promise of a new beginning on Earth. But their dream will pit them against those desperately clinging to the old ways. And Jamie’s own journey home will help her close the distance between who she has become and who she is meant to be…

My Review:

Not quite sure what I was expecting when I requested this book for review but it wasn’t this.  I’ve been on a science fiction kick for a few months now and thought this title sounded interesting. If you are looking for a hard-hitting science fiction thriller this is not the book for you.  If you want a book about the exploration of the human character than this one might be up your alley. This book is more about the human race than it about the solar system, oh sure, there is science involved but the heart of the story is more about internal and societal struggle than anything else.

While reading this book I often wondered just where the author was taking us. There was little set up as to how the human race ended up among the start.  We do get an explanation but not much of one.  Most of the flashbacks were introspective glimpses into the main character’s past.  Her personal struggle and how she ended up so far from home.  The plot quickly forms a small pack of refugees that are trying to make their way back to hopefully more populated parts of space and we eventually do find ourselves back on Earth.

I have to say I didn’t quite expect the book to end the way it did but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  It was an interesting journey for these characters and I quite enjoyed tagging along.  I loved how the author shined a light on all aspects of humanity in this book.  The good and the bad.  She made me think about how, much of the time, we are our own worst enemy.  I also tend to agree with her insinuation that even if most of the human race disappeared instantly there would still be those that thought they could tell everyone else what to do.

The author touches on many sensitive topics in this book from government, religion, class warfare, disabilities, and manages to blend them all together in an interesting and thought-provoking story that I thoroughly enjoyed.  This was simply a good book and I can’t wait to introduce it to others.

My Rating:5 Stars

After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall by Nancy Kress

Book Review

 


After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the FallBook Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic, Novella, Time Travel

Book Series: N/A

Released: 4/1/2012 by Tachyon Publications

Pages: 189  Price:$14.95 paperback

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I borrowed this book from my library.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

The year is 2035. After ecological disasters nearly destroyed the Earth, 26 survivors—the last of humanity—are trapped by an alien race in a sterile enclosure known as the Shell.

Fifteen-year-old Pete is one of the Six—children who were born deformed or sterile and raised in the Shell. As, one by one, the survivors grow sick and die, Pete and the Six struggle to put aside their anger at the alien Tesslies in order to find the means to rebuild the earth together. Their only hope lies within brief time-portals into the recent past, where they bring back children to replenish their disappearing gene pool.

Meanwhile, in 2013, brilliant mathematician Julie Kahn works with the FBI to solve a series of inexplicable kidnappings. Suddenly her predictive algorithms begin to reveal more than just criminal activity. As she begins to realize her role in the impending catastrophe, simultaneously affecting the Earth and the Shell, Julie closes in on the truth. She and Pete are converging in time upon the future of humanity—a future which might never unfold.

Weaving three consecutive time lines to unravel both the mystery of the Earth’s destruction and the key to its salvation, this taut post-apocalyptic thriller offers a topical plot with a satisfying twist.

My Review:

Such an interesting little book.  I recommended this to my library when I noticed we needed a fresh influx of science fiction and am so glad I did.  Upon closer inspection of my Goodreads account, I see that this is the second book I’ve read by this author.  Much of what I thought about her writing of the other story holds true for this one.  This is a smart thought-provoking science fiction story that captures your attention and keeps you turning the page.

The story unfolds in a way I don’t think I’ve encountered before.  We jump back and forth in time around a critical event in human history.  Obviously, something awful has happened to the human race and all that survive are locked inside this shell as someone or something is caring for them in an effort to save the human race from extinction.  As the story progresses we see that the survivors can jump back in time to get supplies and what is essentially new breeding stock.

Of course, it isn’t until the end where we learn what really happen to earth and humanity but the story did leave me with some questions unanswered.  The story was a race to figure out what happen and what will happen to the last timeline and the future of all of the human race.  The characters, while interesting, if not annoying from time to time, were not what kept me in this story.  The mystery and need to know why and how held me to the end.  Having finished it I’m glad I read it.  Not a terribly big surprise as to how it played out but I can see why it is an award-winning story.

My Rating: 4 Stars

The Golden City by John Twelve Hawks

Book Review

 


The Golden City (Fourth Realm, #3)Book Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia, Thriller, Fantasy

Book Series: Fourth Realm #3

Released: 9/8/09 by Doubleday Canada

Pages: 358 Price: $14.95 Paperback

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I borrowed a copy of this audiobook from my library.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

A riveting blend of high-tech thriller and fast-paced adventure. Packed with knife-edge tension, intriguing characters, and startling plot twists that will keep you turning the pages.

In the Fourth Realm trilogy, John Twelve Hawks introduces readers to a dangerous fantasy world inspired by modern technology that monitors our lives. The suspense series concludes in this powerful third novel,
following the entire cast of this mesmerizing world that exists in the shadows of our own. Maya, the Harlequin who has pledged to protect Gabriel with her life, will face a situation from which there is no escape. Nathan Boone, the cold and calculating executive of the Brethren, will face Michael, a man who has gone over the edge for power. Hollis, living in grief and becoming a Harlequin himself, will have to choose whether to stay with Gabriel as he embarks on a journey that may lead to his own death. Publishers Weekly hailed the series as “a saga that’s part A Wrinkle in Time, part The Matrix and part Kurosawa epic.”

My Review:

The first book in this series was amazing.  The second book less so but still good.  I’m afraid the third book ranks about the same as the second for my taste.  It isn’t that I didn’t like the last book it is simply that neither of the later books measured up to the first.  Do I regret committing so much time listening to them? Probably not.  Would I do it again? No.  That doesn’t mean I won’t check out other titles by this author, I have the feeling that I will find his non-fiction work fascinating.

This book picks up where the last one left off and I managed to listen to the second half of it in a marathon session this morning as I found myself with 7 hours left in my loan time to listen to 7 hours of book…. Nothing like procrastinating.  Anyway, I discovered a brilliant feature in the Overdrive app, changing the speed in which a book is played.  I ended up listening to those last 7 hours at 1.6 speed and finished three hours before the book was due.  Have to say I might be listening to more audiobooks this way as it gave my mind less time to wander while the story was read.  Because of said mind wandering I feel like I might have missed a lot of the first half of this book as I do not remember much of what happen…

The message that the author is trying to portray about our society is one that many of us need to hear.  I fear there is probably a fine line in this story as to what is real and what is fiction.  There was plenty of action as this book took place over a longer timeline than its two predecessors.  The end felt like the story was left hanging with a few unresolved plot threads.  There were some parts near the end that felt a bit forced in this book.  In the end, though, I was simply glad it was over and am not interested in pursuing this world further.  I’m glad I listened to it but I’m ready to move on.

Like another reviewer suggested definitely go and read the first book as it was brilliant, but as to the last two book…. If you have nothing better to do or listen to then sure why not.

My Rating: 3 Stars

The Dark River by John Twelve Hawks

Book Review

 


The Dark River (Fourth Realm, #2)Book Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Dystopian, Thriller

Book Series: Fourth Realm #2

Released: 7/10/2007 by Doubleday Canada

Pages: 368 Price: $16.00 Paperback

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I borrowed this as an audiobook through my library

 

 

Book Synopsis:

A brilliant follow-up to the New York Times bestseller, The Traveler, The Dark River follows the Harlequin, Maya, and the Traveler, Gabriel Corrigan, on their search for Gabriel’s lost father.

In his first novel, John Twelve Hawks introduced the world of two brothers, Gabriel and Michael Corrigan, who learned they were Travelers, a line of prophets through history who are able to travel into different realms of consciousness and existence, and Maya, a Harlequin who, like Harlequins before her, pledged to lay down her own life to protect any Traveler.

The Dark River opens following Maya and Gabriel’s narrow escape from his brother, Michael, and the group of powerful men who have been pursuing them. The landscape has shifted: Michael has become part of the group that wants to capture Gabriel, and thanks to advanced surveillance technology there are few places for them to hide. While he is recuperating and staying in the shadows in New York City, a shocking piece of information trickles back to Gabriel concerning his and Michael’s father. A Traveler who was believed to be dead for nearly twenty years, Gabriel hears, may still be alive and trapped somewhere across the globe. Gabriel, Maya, Hollis and Vicki must plan their escape from New York as well as their path to Gabriel’s father, who has the ability to revive the failing Traveler movement. But Michael and his group of Tabula mercenaries are equally motivated to find both Gabriel and their father–for both represent an obstacle to Michael’s unchallenged power.

The Dark River is a scintillating novel that, like The Traveler, is deeply and richly drawn, showcasing a superb and original voice.

My Review:

Took me a bit to get into the second book in the trilogy and I found myself with three days before my due date and most of the book unlistened to. Since someone was waiting for the book and renewing was not an option I found some activities for myself and sat down to listen to the book.  Perhaps a pretty strong indicator that I simply was not as into this book as I was the first.

It isn’t that I’m not interesting in seeing how this story plays out or that I find some of the government control themes this story brings up interesting, it simply feels like this story fell victim to second or middle book syndrome, for me.  I’m glad I stuck it out but much of this book felt slow at times and I was frustrated with some of the plotting.  The end did pick up a bit and I have already checked out the last book to see how everything plays out.

I am struggling a bit to write-up this review there just wasn’t a whole lot I was excited about. The bad guys show up for three main scenes and we jump all over the place in search for the boy’s father.  If not for the interesting twist at the end I might have left this book here, but I got hooked and we will see if things improve in the next book. I hope we get to explore more of the other realms a bit more than we have in book one and two.

My Rating: 3 Stars

2BR02B By Kurt Vonnegut

Book Review

 


2 B R 0 2 BBook Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian, Classic, Short Story

Book Series: N/A

Released: January 1962

Pages: 28  Price: 99 Cents E-book

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source:I borrowed this book from my library.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

B R 0 2 B by Kurt Vonnegut is a science fiction story that focuses on a society where individuals have an indefinite lifespan and the population of the United States is limited to forty million.

In order for a new birth to take place, someone else must die. The suspense builds as two parents wait for someone to dial 2 B R 0 2 B, which is the telephone number to dial for an assisted suicide with the Federal Bureau of Termination.

My Review:

Was looking for a new audiobook to listen to and came across this one that I added to my wish list sometime last year.  Couldn’t remember what it was about so I decided to pop over to Goodreads for a reminder.  Seeing that it was only 28 pages long I decided to borrow and read it this afternoon as I am currently not feeling well.  This was an interesting little story that I did not realize was written so long ago, the topic is still relevant to modern society after all.

Quite strange, a little dark, and a tad simplistic if you ask me.  Not quite sure if the author is trying to mock the extreme government control he saw coming or mock those that see the great danger of overpopulating the planet.  Then again he might have been nothing but sincere and wanted to warn people of what might come if the human race does not change our ways.  Some of the off-putting tones might simply be the fact that it was written in a different era….

Anyway, if you can’t tell I am unsure how I feel about this one, but that just might be because my stomach hurts.  It was interesting like I said, short so no matter your stance on topics like abortion, death, over-population you this story won’t be with you long. It will remind you what we are doing to our one and only planet though and what our freedom to over-reproduce might cost us in the end.  Dark read for a dark mood.

My Rating: 3 Stars

The Traveler by John Twelve Hawks

Book Review

 


The Traveler (Fourth Realm, #1)Book Genre: Science Fiction, Thriller, Dystopian, Fantasy, Audiobook

Book Series: Fourth Realm #1

Released: 7/18/2006 by Vintage

Pages:  464 Price: $15.95 Paperback

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I borrowed this audio book from my library.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

In London, Maya, a young woman trained to fight by her powerful father, uses the latest technology to elude detection when walking past the thousands of surveillance cameras that watch the city. In New York, a secret shadow organization uses a victim’s own GPS to hunt him down and kill him. In Los Angeles, Gabriel, a motorcycle messenger with a haunted past, takes pains to live “off the grid” – free of credit cards and government IDs. Welcome to the world of The Traveler – a world frighteningly like our own.In this compelling novel, Maya fights to save Gabriel, the only man who can stand against the forces that attempt to monitor and control society. From the back streets of Prague to the skyscrapers of Manhattan, The Travelerportrays an epic struggle between tyranny and freedom. Not since 1984 have readers witnessed a Big Brother so terrifying in its implications and in a story that so closely reflects our lives.

My Review:

With the populous, anti-establishment mood of the country, this book was a fitting for not only my current mood but the climate in which I find myself living in.  This work of fiction was written in 2006,  a couple of years before the great crash in the last years of the Bush Presidency and before Obama took office.  Having just woken up to the systematic corruption of both political parties so much of what this book talks about, albeit fictionally, rings true to the society we now find ourselves living in.  A world where we are controlled and manipulated all to wring the highest profit for those that control all branches of government with their donations.

Okay, all of that aside, this was a thrill ride of a story that felt like a cross between The Matrix, The Da Vinci Code, and a James Bond film.  You get rich characters, secret societies, conspiracy theories, action, and a little mysticism to boot. Spanning Europe and the United States we follow the main characters Maya, Gabriel, and Micheal as they are thrust into this secret world going on around them as they discover plots and corruption as they race to protect Gabriel and Micheal who might be the last Travelers in existence and seek vengeance for those that they have lost.

I’m glad I listened to this one for the introduction and ending interview with the author which I found just as interesting as the story itself.  Granted I think the ploy of writing this under a pen name is just that a ploy to attract attention, I have to say it worked on me.  It added to the mystery and cloak and dagger feel of this story.  Convincing me to take a moment and actually think about the themes talked about in this work of fiction and wonder what might actually apply to the world we now live in.  Sadly I think many of those themes are probably pretty applicable and it makes me want to fight the system.

Bottom line this was a good book with an entertaining story that might make you think a bit afterward.  Even if you don’t buy into the conspiracy theory aspect it is still a good listen, especially if you like books by Dan Brown or David Baldacci or even the dystopian genre with a bit of the supernatural thrown in.  I eagerly await the next title in this trilogy that I have put on hold with my library.  I can’t wait to see how this all plays out.

My Rating: 5 Stars

The Registry by Shannon Stoker

The Registry

Click to visit book’s Goodreads page.

Book # 1 of The Registry series: Published 5/28/13

I borrowed the audio version of this book from my library saving me $21.95(audio price)

Author’s Site

Book Synopsis:

The Registry saved the country from collapse. But stability has come at a price. In this patriotic new America, girls are raised to be brides, sold at auction to the highest bidder. Boys are raised to be soldiers, trained by the state to fight to their death.
Nearly eighteen, beautiful Mia Morrissey excitedly awaits the beginning of her auction year. But a warning from her married older sister raises dangerous thoughts. Now, instead of going up on the block, Mia is going to escape to Mexico—and the promise of freedom.
All Mia wants is to control her own destiny—a brave and daring choice that will transform her into an enemy of the state, pursued by powerful government agents, ruthless bounty hunters, and a cunning man determined to own her . . . a man who will stop at nothing to get her back.

My Review:

Okay, full disclosure time.  I picked this book to fulfill the book with bad reviews requirement for one of my reading challenges.  I had a hard time figuring out just what sort of book would fill this requirement, because most books have a fairly average rating on Goodreads (even this one), balanced between those that loved it and those that hated it.  I decided to just pick a book that the majority of the review were three stars or below, and this one had a majority of its reviews on the first page two or below.  The book was also available for download when I wanted to check out a new audio to listen to while doing yard work, so there you have it for why I decided to read The Registry.

So what did I think…  Well I didn’t hate it, but I can see why other people felt so strongly about it.  The story has some plot issues and is kinda weak at times.  The characters are one-dimensional and I had a tough time respecting the lead female at all.  The characters are extreme in their behaviors and personality and often lack motivation for their actions.  I agree with one other reviewer that the bad guy is almost a farce in how awful one character can be.  He ends up coming off unbelievable and odd.  He is missing that redeeming quality that bad-guys need to make them plausible.    Mia is seriously lacking of a brain, but I get that she was raised that way.  Still it would have been nice if she could have had a bit more personality.

There is a love triangle in the story that was poorly executed and the book would have been stronger without it.   The main love interest, Andrew, was the character I like the most.  Of all the characters I think he was probably the best written.  Still the chemistry between Mia and him just wasn’t there for me.

The best part of this book for me was the concept and the world in which it is set.  This is what earned the second star for my rating.  I loved this idea, just wish it was a bit better executed.  This world in this story was essentially built by Halliburton and is a right-winger evangelical’s wet dream of how society should be run.  Mandatory military for all boys, woman having no place or rights in society except as slaves to their husbands and baby machines.  Women being bought and sold online to fund the government. Massive censorship, intimidation of other countries, brainwashing, locked down boarders, and military policing of citizens.   I can see the rabid right taking notes and making plans from this story.  The only thing that didn’t fit was the positive portrayal of same-sex families, because we all know if the right-wing got control of this country and set it up like in this book they would be either deported or executed.  So kudos to the author for portraying them as normal loving families in this book.

Basically my opinion of this book is good idea, but needed more work before release.  I won’t be continuing on, but to those that loved it, yay for you.  I think the author has potential and just need a bit of experience.

My Rating: 2 Stars

The Bees by Laline Paull

The Bees

Links to Goodread’s page.

Stand Alone: Released 5/6/14

I borrowed an audio version of this book from my library saving me $ 59.99 (audio price)

Author Site

Book Synopsis:

The Handmaid’s Tale meets The Hunger Games in this brilliantly imagined debut set in an ancient culture where only the queen may breed and deformity means death.

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 an asset. 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 her way into 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 fertility—enemies abound, from the fearsome fertility police who enforce the strict social hierarchy to the high priestesses jealously wedded to power. Her deepest instincts to serve and sacrifice are now overshadowed by an even deeper desire, a fierce maternal love that will bring her into conflict with her conscience, her heart, her society—and lead her to unthinkable deeds.

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

My Review:

I spent much of the week planting my garden so I thought this book would be an appropriate selection to listen to while I worked.  The book was read by Orlagh Cassidy who did an excellent job of making each character sound distinctive and brought to life with their own personality.

The book itself was one that I toyed with reading for some time now.  I was intrigued by its premise, but never really excited to pick it up and start.  Once I saw it was available through the library in audio I decided to give it a try with my limited options offered to me at the time.  In the end I think the audio format was a good decision for this story for I think I might have not stuck it out with this one either.

The story is kind of strange and probably not everyone’s cup of tea as it is told from the perspective of a bee in an anthropomorphic society that, to me, must resemble what life would be like inside a cult.  We follow the heroine, Flora from birth to death as she works her way through this twisted bee society.  I’m not sure how much this is based upon real bee life, but this book definitely made me want to learn more about bees.

For the most part there was a bit of eye rolling on my part, but the story was interesting to see how this society functioned.  Besides the cult like aspect there is a strong dystopian element to the story and we also get to watch Flora challenge her place in this world and move through the ranks and shake things up a bit.

Much of the story was a bit on the boring side for me not being interested in motherhood and all, hence my probably DNF it if I had attempted the print version, but in audio format the narrator helped to keep my interest.  I did see the end coming about half-way through the book, but it was still one of my favorite parts of the story.  There was also a fairly satisfying scene for the feminist inside me when the hive dealt with the male bees close to the onset of winter.  Kinda gruesome but one of the better part in my opinion.  I found myself rooting for Flora, even though I didn’t think much of her for much of the book. The other character I also enjoyed the one male bee, I forget his name, that kept interacting with Flora throughout the story. I was quite happy for him in the end.

It was an interesting story, I’m still not real excited about it, but I’m glad I read it.  I would highly recommend it to anyone who wishes to know what it might be to live inside a cult.   A bit too much religion in the story for me, even if it was bee religion…  I did appreciate how the author brought to the forefront of how we humans are negatively affecting bees through our technology and destruction of the environment. Being the narrator was so interesting I would also recommend this one to those who enjoy listening to their books.

 

My Rating: 3 Stars