I have read a few debut novels this year and Erick Setiawan's may be the best of them all. Of Bees and Mist is set in an unknown place with a fantastical reality that is scary and powerful but ultimately just.
After growing up in a home where her parents animosity toward each other literally makes her nearly invisible, Meridia finally comes into her own outside her home and falls in love. Little does she know that Daniel's family has their own palpable magic -- that of misery and oppression. As Meridia tries to keep her own new family together, she must learn to overpower the magic and also learn the secrets of the past. I can't say much more without this becoming too complex or giving anything away so just believe me that this is a well-formed reality.
This novel has a unique concept of emotion being channeled magically into tangible manifestations -- swarms of bees, impenetrable clouds, a yard of sentient flowers. It took a little bit of time to understand and embrace this alternate world but, once in it, it was easy to follow. There are so many different types of relationships explored in this novel -- parent/child, spouses, in-laws, siblings and even friendships. All of these things make Meridia who she is but also give her insight into who she wants to become. She is a strong and smart character that makes difficult decisions. I really enjoyed this book for being inventive and unique and fairly satisfying in the resolutions of its many story lines.
This novel releases next week on August 4th.
Wondering what my emotions would manifest as,
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