Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Book 29- Of Bees and Mist

Erick Setiawan's debut novel Of Bees and Mist has love lost and then found, fortune tellers, magic mists, ghosts, seers, and lots of unexplained oddities in a mythical land, not unlike a small town somewhere near you.

Meridia is a little girl who is raised in a house with mists and ghosts, a hateful father and a confused mother. She plays with the ghosts and chases the mists and is raised my nannies. She attends school but has no friends. Then one day, when a festival comes to town, she meets the man of her dreams. For a girl who's been raised in a home with no lover and an inordinate amount of hate, she loves Daniel, and soon marries the charming and beguiling young man.

She moves from the homes of her family, hoping to leave behind the mists and the ghosts, into the home of Daniel's family. At once she is taken with her new mother-in-law, Eva, and two sisters, eager to please and desperately wanting to experience a total family. But her mother-in-law is a new sort of evil, full of lying and conniving, bring on bees when the vitriol spews from her mouth.

Meridia needs to become strong, and does, to stand up to her mother-in-law and to find her own way in the world. And she does find that she can make friends and be a mother, that she has a head for business and she can run a household, and stand against the evil Eva, and the supernatural that surrounds her.

This novel spans over 30 years and the magic flows through the nameless town where Meridia lives, revealing all sorts of secrets. It's like a modern day ghost story with fiction and fantasy blended together.

I rather enjoyed this novel. I've never really been one to read fantasy so I wasn't sure what to expect from the genre. I had been told that is was like a modern day ghost story, which I didn't find to be true at all. I liked just going with the flow of the story. Setiawan writes with rich, colorful words, and boundless energy. I could feel the retain of Meridia and the personalities of the mists. I was impressed with the entire story and the twists and turns. And as I always seem to notice and enjoy, a strong and likable female character in Meridia.

This was a pleasure to read, lush in imagery, making it a veritable feast of a novel.