Friday, May 3, 2019

Book Review: The Murmur of Bees

I am so late in some of these reviews so if you feel overwhelmed reading all of these, imagine how I feel trying to clear the stack off my desk!

The Murmur of Bees - Sofia Segovia

From the day old Nana Reja found a baby abandoned under a bridge, the life of a small Mexican village forever changed. Disfigured and covered in a blanket of bees, little Simonopio is for some locals the stuff of superstition, a child kissed by the devil. But he is welcomed by landowners Francisco and Beatriz Morales, who adopt him and care for him as if he were their own. As he grows up, Simonopio becomes a cause for wonder to the Morales family, because when the uncannily gifted child closes his eyes, he can see what no one else can—visions of all that’s yet to come, both beautiful and dangerous. Followed by his protective swarm of bees and living to deliver his adoptive family from threats—both human and those of nature—Simonopio’s purpose in Linares will, in time, be divined.

Set against the backdrop of the Mexican Revolution and the devastating influenza of 1918, The Murmur of Bees captures both the fate of a country in flux and the destiny of one family that has put their love, faith, and future in the unbelievable.

I have no idea where to even start on this book. I guess I'll tell you my copy clocked in at 529 pages and if you know me at all you know I have a fairly strict policy of no book over 300 pages. I normally don't have the attention span and 9 times out of 10 I feel like there's no reason for it, there are things that could/should be cut from it to make it a more reasonable sized book. Also, most of your average readers aren't going to go near a book in the 500 page range.


The Murmur of Bees is so beautifully written and I was so engrossed in the story that I couldn't stop reading, I just wanted more and more. The book was originally written in Spanish and later translated by Simon Bruni, and there were a couple of sentences I had to re-read a couple of times because it didn't read naturally, if that makes sense? Though I do have an ARC so things like that may have been cleaned up, so don't let that stop you. It's also worth mentioning that historical fiction isn't really my jam and this book does take place in 1918 so it's firmly in that genre but I was interested and engrossed all the way to the end. Interestingly it does happen during an influenza outbreak which is something that could easily happen now so it still felt current.

The book is about a baby, seemingly abandoned, and discovered by an old woman. Oddly, the baby is swarmed by bees so some people think he may be evil but he ends up being kind of a good luck charm for the family? Not really good luck but he kind of guides them to good things, if that makes sense. There is a supernatural/magical element throughout the book because of this boy, but this also is a book that gives you some moral and philosophical things to think about and I really enjoyed that.

The writing is beautiful and it's coming at you in different points of view but it's also almost conversational? It's like someone is sitting down with you to share a meal and tell you a story and that makes it an easy read even if it is long.

Overall? I'm giving this one 4 stars. It's a really terrific book and there's a pretty great climax where I got all the feels. By the end of the book I let go of a breath I didn't even know I was holding. Bravo.

A big thank you to the publisher, Amazon Crossing, and MB Communications for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

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