Friday, January 20, 2012

Review: Of Bees and Mist by Erick Setiawan

Today, we welcome a guest reviewer, my good friend Sara! And maybe, just maybe, if you guys are a huge fan of her review, we can convince her to do more guest posts on The Ink Puddle. :)
The week before Christmas has always been a hectic week for me. From finishing up finals, to packing up my stuff and heading back home to spend Christmas with my family, I rarely have time to read, let alone finding a new book to read. Which is why I was super surprised to find myself with some extra time on my hands this year. The Wednesday before Christmas I spent doing some Extreme Shopping. I’m talking shoe stores, clothing stores, discount stores, back to the shoe store and finally sitting down in Barnes and Nobles for two hours trying to decide on the perfect book to buy. It didn’t happen. I kept going back and forth between books, never really finding one that I thought was the perfect one. So, I’m ashamed to say, I quit. I gave up on finding the perfect book, and I resigned myself to the fact that I would be reading an old book. When I walked towards the back of T.J. Maxx that day, I was most importantly looking for the bathroom. As I passed the clearance rack, something caught my eye. It was a book, deeply discounted, that looked kind of interesting. I stopped and picked it up, and decided it was fate. This was the book for me. 

Of Bees and Mist by Erick Setiawan is not a traditional fantasy novel. It is a love story, a domestic drama set in a very mythical town. Raised in a sepulchral house where ghosts dwell in mirrors, Meridia grows up lonely and miserable. But at age sixteen, she has a chance at happiness when she falls in love with Daniel-a caring and naive young man. Soon they marry, and Meridia can finally escape to live with her husband's family, unaware that they harbor dark secrets of their own. There is a grave hidden in the garden, there are two sisters groomed from birth to despise each other, and there is Eva-the formidable matriarch and the wickedest mother-in-law imaginable-whose grievances swarm the air in an army of bees. As Meridia struggles to keep her life and marriage together, she discovers long-buried secrets about her own past as well as shocking truths about her new family that inexorably push her love, courage, and sanity to the brink. 

Of Bees and Mist is an engrossing fable that chronicles three generations of women under one family tree over a period of thirty years-their galvanic love and passion, their shifting alliances, their superstitions and complex domestic politics-and places them in a mythical town where spirits and spells, witchcraft and demons, and prophets and clairvoyance are an everyday reality. Erick Setiawan's astonishing debut is a richly atmospheric and tumultuous ride of hope and heartbreak that is altogether touching, truthful, and entirely memorable.

I rate this book a

This book was one of those books that I just couldn’t put down. What started as a book to spend a week reading, turned into a book that I read in a few hours. Every time I got to a point where I could stop, I told myself “one more chapter.” This book took me through all of my emotions. There were points where I found myself crying, mad, happy, excited and then back around to crying. There were moments I was proud of Meridia, upset with Meridia and tired of reading about Meridia. This book is probably one of my favorite books, and I was left wanting a sequel as soon as I turned the last page. Definitely worth the money!


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