Bienes Historie is the kind of book that slowly drags you in, and, before you know it, it’s gone from being a casual, entertaining, story to a plot where you need to know what’s happening next.
The book feels like it’s describing what is happening in everyday life. We’re not set up to witness something extraordinary, we’re just following along with the lives of the three characters this book jumps between: one from the past, one in the present, and one in the future.
A theme emerges in the three stories (I don’t think it would be spoiling too much to reveal that the overall theme is “Bees”), and suddenly, you’re witnessing three very different kinds of drama.
I had expected this book to be quite different. I remember talk from when it came out of it being an education in how the lives of bees work, and an informative book on the whole issue of bees disappearing. I did get those things, from the book, but they felt like they were part of the story, rather than being the driving force. Yes, there is an important message underpinning what’s going on in this book, but it very much reads as a story that’s built on the premise of those facts rather than a book that’s trying to convince you of them.
The stories feel human and real. There’s subtle emotion, and words left unsaid in a way that leaves a nice, ambiguous, tension in scenes that might otherwise have felt a little too theatrical. The characters also feel complicated and interesting.
Bienes Historie is a very good book. It’s not fast-paced, generally not very dramatic, and won’t keep you on the edge of your seat. But it will make you want to read on to see what happens with the characters, and it will leave you wanting more. Fortunately, it’s the first in a series of four!