‘Spellbinding! If you liked ‘The Bees’ you’ll love this. A brilliantly imagined fantasy with a strong environmental message... Jean Gill writes with a beekeeper's clarity about hive structure, and of 'hive mind' with the heart and passion of a talented author and poet.’ Ashley Dyer
Epic eco-fantasy from the award-winning author of The Troubadours Quartet. One misfit girl and 50,000 bees. Together they must change the world.
As the Mages of the Citadel fight amongst themselves and prepare for war against the Forest, Mielitta, a despised servant, has her own battle to face. Bastien and Jannlou, the boys who terrorised her as a child, have grown into their status as Mages and she cannot escape them forever.
In desperation, she flees to the forbidden Forest and its dangerous attractions. Her scent angers thousands of bees and, although she survives their attack, she has changed.
A strange bee symbol glows on her thigh and her senses are altered. She learns that her connection with bees enables her to summon their aid and gives her the power to shift shape.
Plot: This immersive and atmospheric fantasy is focused on one girl's rebellion against confining social constraints as manifested through a profound and magical transformation. Gill's novel evokes traditional fairy tale elements, exploring forbidden realms, guarded secrets, and undiscovered powers, while weaving in subtle feminist and ecological threads.
Prose/Style: Gill's prose offers rich, bucolic imagery that results in highly visual and visceral storytelling.
Originality: While this novel integrates familiar elements of YA dystopian and fantasy genres, Gill's work stands apart through its strikingly inventive concept, distinctive sense of place, and masterful use of imagery.
Character Development: While initially terrorized by childhood tormentors, protagonist Mielitta discovers autonomy and power by forging a profound preternatural connection with the bees. Gill offers her characters dimension and dynamism, providing even villainous figures with internal complexity. The bees themselves collectively emerge as an enigmatic and sympathetic entity.
Date Submitted: August 13, 2019
With more backstabbing that the Roman Senate, more deceit than Game of Thrones and more paranoia than The Handmaid’s Tale, Queen of the Warrior Bees is a compelling story with life-like characters and a fast-moving plot.
Dazzles, varies and enchants... A great read, to be done in one sitting to find out what happens, then once again to fully savour the marvels of this book.
From the very first sentence, the reader is immersed in a world that is all-too believable. The Citadel is a place of subtle horror. There are no ravening monsters or demonic creatures here, but the sense of all-pervading wrongness is always present. It is all the more ominous because it is only the main character, Mielitta, who seems aware of it. To everyone else, The Citadel is a place of safety, where they are protected by the power of the Mages from the terrors that lurk outside its walls in the Forest – a place whose name they cannot even say after adulthood.