I had no preconceptions when starting to read this. I have next to no knowledge about bees, and their structure within a hive, apart from the fact that there’s a Queen and drones. I don’t know anything about Paull, either her personal background or what writing experience she had before this was published.
The lack of knowledge wasn’t a stumbling block to enjoying the story however, despite the fact that there are no human characters at all within the narrative. Paull invests the bees, and more particularly the primary character of Flora 717 with such passion, devotion, and courage, that I found myself empathising with her just as much as I would if she had been a human character.
Flora’s strength is both emotional, and physical, as she endeavours to protect what is most important to her. Her priorities shift steadily throughout the course of the novel, another very human trait, that it was easy to relate to. Seeing as each change, whether positive or negative, in your life will usually make you reevaluate what you truly value, and how much you are willing to risk to have it.
The power behind Paull’s writing, in what I later discovered was her debut, makes me anxious and excited about what she will do next.