Reading Level: Adult
Length: 416 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: July 6, 2010
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: Borrowed from Friend
Rating: 3/5 stars
“Of Bees and Mist is an engrossing fable that chronicles three generations of women under one family tree and places them in a mythical town where spirits and spells, witchcraft and demons, and prophets and clairvoyance are an everyday reality.
Meridia grows up in a lonely home until she falls in love with Daniel at age sixteen. Soon, they marry, and Meridia can finally escape to live with her charming husband’s family—unaware that they harbor dark mysteries of their own. As Meridia struggles to embrace her life as a young bride, she discovers long-kept secrets about her own past as well as shocking truths about her new family that push her love, courage, and sanity to the brink.
Erick Setiawan’s astonishing debut is a richly atmospheric and tumultuous ride of hope and heartbreak that is altogether touching, truthful, and memorable.”
A friend lent me this book to read. This is an interesting (if depressing) read. The book is well written and flows well. It’s kind of a fairy tale-esque story about a couple generations of women whose hatred of each other (and slight magical abilities) destroy the lives of those around them.
This book definitely has a heavy dash of magical realism, from that aspect the tone reminds a lot of the Waverly family books by Sarah Addison Allen. The Waverly Family books are much more beautifully written though. Additionally, while the Waverly Family books leave you feeling hopeful and magical, this book left me feeling downtrodden and depressed.
I enjoyed the first few chapters of the book. The haunted house with a chilly mother and father that Meridia grew up in was beautiful, fascinating, and very fairytale like. However after Meridia grows up and marries things go downhill quickly for the story. For the next two third’s of the book the story is all about Meridia and her mother-in-law, Eva, trying to make each other’s lives miserable. I mean seriously I get enough of this dealing with people in real life…I don’t need to read about it.
There are no good characters in this book; aside perhaps from Meridia’s son Noah. Every character in this book is selfish, short-sighted and easily mislead. The magical realism throughout does not create a sense of wonder but instead shows the irritation and evilness perpetuated by these characters. Seriously not something I want to read about.
Overall this book is well-written and flows nicely. It’s also an interesting blend of fairy tale like magical realism and a story about generations of hatred. However, I really didn’t enjoy it much. There is just so much hatred and selfishness throughout this story; it left me feeling depressed and sad. Honestly this is a story I could have done without ever reading.
The style and magical realism reminded me a bit of The Waverly Family novels by Addison (although those books are much more well written and have a much more positive and magical feel to them). If you did enjoy the style of this book I would recommend The Waverly Family novels as a better written and more uplifting alternatives.