Anita's Haven

books, thoughts, stories, poetry, interviews, writing

JEAN GILL: QUEEN OF THE WARRIOR BEES, MY REVIEW

DIFFERENT, YET FAMILIAR AND CHALLENGING

It is so difficult to write fantasy for any age group, to create something that’s never been read before and yet something that has the elements a fantasy fan would relish. It is like with music – sometimes it seems as if everything’s been said already, because how many more new combinations of musical notes and rhythms can one create in centuries?

And then somebody makes it and creates something worthwhile, different yet familiar, and challenging to the mind and heart alike. Jean Gill did it with this unusual fantasy. I takes a while to grow on you and, when it takes hold, you appreciate the strong roots it has developed.

The author has managed to create two opposing new worlds, both dancing the thin line between what you’re told and what you feel you should believe, each with its own set of rules, each with its own heroes and villains, both constantly in a strange battle yet  interlaced and dependent on each other. One world is set to rules, ‘perfection’ (fantastic play on words here, because what IS perfection, right?), the other one a natural wilderness. And then a heroine who not only wants to mix the two but feels compelled to from her inner most core.

Mielitta’s inner most core is what will surprise you – her connection to the bees. (Had I read this book in my teenage years, I would have developed a keen interest in biology, trust me!) Usually heroes are provided with supernatural powers – in Mielitta, it is her natural powers that are unbelievable. The author manages to weave Mielitta’s growth and development from a bullied misfit to a natural force so carefully, never giving off to much in advance, so that you sometimes feel just as confused with it and just as full of questions as Mielitta herself. This is very clever, because this is a heroine who is in it for the long run, not just a one-book wonder. Her relationships with other characters are so intriguing, especially her adoptive father (that one impressed and shocked me so much) and her protégé Drianne (who better to take up a protégé than a bullied girl herself, only to discover that her protégé is in fact… no, no spoilers…).

It is difficult to write a review and not give out too many spoilers. So let me just mention that, as always with Jean Gill’s books, the readers will not be left wanting (except for a sequel), will not feel cheated or underestimated, will get a glimpse into different worlds and creatures, will fall in love with some and hate other characters, will feel vindicated when it is needed, will learn a lot about interesting things (the philosophy of archery, the intricate power play in the world of bees, to name just a few), will be kept guessing about some things (I love the what-ifs and maybes you are drawn into), will be treated to exquisite language use, and will thoroughly immerse themselves into the story.

Imagine me loving a fantasy book that had no dragon in it? An amazing achievement by the author, I must say. I would truly recommend this book. It will make you think about how we treat nature – not just the outer world but our inner one as well. Make your time count with clever stories.

THIS BOOK ON AMAZON https://www.amazon.com/Queen-Warrior-Bees-misfit-Natural-ebook/dp/B07PZ212M8

JEAN GILL’s WEBSITE https://jeangill.com/

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SO MUCH HAS HAPPENED AND YET…

Right? So much has happened since I last posted here… So much has happened. With you, with myself, with the world. Not all nice things, especially these last months, and yet – here we all are, still breathing, still creating, still ourselves (some more so than others).

The bad things WILL pass. They will. They always do. They make room for the good things, and then some other bad things, and some other wonderful things… it is life. Sometimes more difficult than other times, but always with a certain purpose. Do we know which purpose? Well, I don’t think I do, but if you do, feel free to share. (We might be better off not knowing though.)

I have chosen to be positive and optimistic. I have decided to battle negativity and pessimism. Why? So many reasons.

First of all, those of you who know me or have followed me a while ago, you know that about a year and a half ago I experienced a health issue which almost killed me, kept me nearly blind for almost a year, caused immense stress to my family and made me rethink and recreate my life. No, I have not changed my entire existence because my entire existence was not wrong to begin with. But I have not survived that to give up now.

Secondly, our kids are watching us and imitating or hating what we do and how we behave. If I want to see them grow up as persistent, proud, creative and kind people, then it is exactly what I must display – persistence, pride, creativity and kindness. No way am I going to be depressed, moping, negative, hysterical or irresponsible. At least never on purpose, as my daughter likes to say:).

Will this change me? Will this change other people? Will this change the world? Who knows! In my humble opinion, good people will remain good people, kindness will remain kindness, bigotry, sadly, will remain bigotry. For any of it to change, it requires a willingness to communicate, and this willingness may not have anything to do with crisis. It is a shift in consciousness. It is a decision. It is a choice. This is why I said I have chosen to be optimistic.

This moment in history will one day (soon, I hope) be exactly that – a moment in history.

Life has to go on. Let’s choose to make it a beautiful one!

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