Book Review: Of Bees and Mists

beesmistBy Erick Setiawan
Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: August 2009

What the book is about(from the publisher):

OF BEES AND MIST is part love story, part female-driven family saga, and part fantasy about three generations of women in two families living in a nameless town during a timeless era, where spirits and spells, witchcraft and demons, and prophets and clairvoyance abound. The novel centers on Meridia, a strong willed young woman who tries to escape her alienating childhood and mysterious parents by running away at sixteen to marry a tenderhearted young man. Little does she know that his family is harboring secrets of their own. The keeper of these secrets is the family’s matriarch, Eva, a conniving and vindictive woman, whose constant schemes set her family at odds with one another. As Meridia picks up on her new mother-in-law’s manipulative ways, she tries to bring the truth to the surface, challenging the family to question Eva’s integrity and testing her marriage to its limits.

What I thought:

I do not normally read this type of book. I don’t like spooky stories with imagery and fantasy and witches or goblins or evil spirits. So what possessed me to read this book? I like Barnes and Nobles’ First Look Book Club. They have a knack for picking really good new authors and this was one of them.

So what kept me reading all the way to the end? At the heart of the book it’s really a family drama with tons of conflict. In this case, two families brought together by a marriage. It’s also a wonderful story with strong characters. The characters are so strong that I had to keep reading to see if the nasty mother-in-law got what was coming to her in the end. The main character, Meridia, is lovable. The author made me want to be an advocate for her. I also liked the young man she meets although, for a while there, he was pretty dense. Besides great characters, there were lots of twists in the plot. Things happened that surprised me, in a good way.

If you see this book in the bookstore or on the library shelf, pick it up and look at the cover. There are all sorts of objects or symbols there. Lots of symbols in the book as well. So, even though this wasn’t my normal read, I’m glad I did. It was a new adventure for me. [Note to my granddaugter: This does not mean I am now interested in the Harry Potter books or the Twilight/Vampire things. Nana is still a chicken.]

About the author:

EricSEric Setiawan was born in Jakarta to Chinese parents, Setiawan grew up surrounded by gifted storytellers and became engrossed by the complex system of beliefs, superstitions, and folklore that encompassed both the Chinese and Indonesian cultures. At sixteen he moved to the United States, where he earned a degree in Computer Science at Stanford University. OF BEES AND MIST is rooted in Setiawan’s experiences and is an amalgamation of the cultural influences in his life. Setiawan currently resides in San Francisco, CA.

You can buy OF BEES AND MISTS at Amazon.

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11 Responses to Book Review: Of Bees and Mists

  1. Beth F says:

    This book and author are new to me. I like a family saga and I like fantasy… Perhaps I’ll give it a try.

  2. I have this also and I keep picking it up and putting it down! I haven’t been as pleased with the First Looks until the current one, Under the Unbroken Sky. But I suppose I’ll at least pick it up a few more times and try to start it!

  3. Kathy says:

    Great characters and a nasty mother-in-law? Sounds good to me!

  4. Nicole says:

    I’ve seen this cover before but didn’t know anything about the book or the author. It sounds like a juicy fairytale. I just have to decide whether to get it on audio or as a book.

  5. stacybuckeye says:

    This one is already on my list. And Nana really should try Harry Potter 🙂

  6. Cathy says:

    I read this during the B&N First Look. I did not enjoy it as much as others did. I’m glad you enjoyed it though. I am finding the current BNFL book much more to my liking.

  7. Michael says:

    Good to see another positive review of this book – I had first heard of it over at Jemima’s blog here.

  8. Belle says:

    This book sounds wonderful. I’m adding it to my list, for my next shopping spree. And maybe this is all gearing you up for Harry Potter! I always think it would be such fun to come fresh to the HP series and be able to read them from beginning to end 🙂

  9. Alyce says:

    I have seen this one on Shelf Awareness, and have to admit that I was turned off by the witchcraft and demons aspect. I may have to give this another look now, though. You make it sound very interesting.

  10. Jemima says:

    I love the little note to your granddaughter. It made me laugh. I am glad that you also enjoyed the book. I haven’t read Harry Potter or the Twilight books either but I liked Of Bees & Mist.

  11. I’m with Alyce – didn’t sound like my cup of tea, but your review makes me take a second look. And I’ll have to take a closer look at the cover, with its hidden pictures.

    I liked the HP books, but I haven’t read the Twilight books, and vampires aren’t really for me (but I did promise that I’d try one of the Sookie Stackhouse books)

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