Of Bees and Mist: A Novel Of Bees and Mist: A Novel by Erick Setiawan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I don’t usually read fantasy-oriented fiction. I picked this because it sounded interesting, and I was not disappointed. It is told both in the recent present and the past (there are streets, but no cars, etc.). There are natural elements that take on supernatural characteristics. There are hallucinations that are real for more than one person, but invisible and unknown to everyone else. It was a very engrossing read! I have seen other reviewers who didn’t like the fact that English is not the author’s first language, but for this book, I felt that actually helped. It made the word choices seem more careful and meaningful.
The characters were believeable, even with their elements of fantasy woven in. There are no witches or goblins, but there are aspects of personalities made into tangible things, like bees and fireflies, that are pretty imaginative and make the story more interesting. The story focuses on 3 women and how they interact with each other, and the scenarios in which they are forced to interact in are all situations that would arise in most families. I think that makes them easier to relate to and identify with once you add in the fantasy elements of the characters.
I liked that the author didn’t waste time describing every room the charcters walked into, and that sort of thing. I like reading “to-the-point” books, and this is very much like that! It’s not filled with words and phrases that add nothing but minute detail to the story. While that can be nice to help paint a picture, it doesn’t progress the story, and for me, there was sufficient detail to build a new world in my mind without bogging me down with trying to remember what color every bedroom was.
I didn’t give it 5 stars only because of the mists. It took me a while to get that part. Aside from that, I loved the book. While some things were spelled out for me that I didn’t need, I could see where others would appreciate it. There was one part in particular that I would have missed had it not been for the “here it is!” explanation. Overall, a great weekend read!
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