Title: Silver May Tarnish
Author: Andre Norton and Lyn McConchie
Synopsis: Noble Boy looses castle. Peasant Girl looses family. Girl can talk to magic bees. Boy and Girl chased by bad guys; “warrior” bees save them. Boy and girl hook up and form new settlement (with bees). Huzzah.
As soon as I read the back cover blurb, I knew I had to read this book:
“With a dedicated band of loyal companions and the help of Goddess-blessed warrior bees, they will fight to the last to stake their claim for freedom and a new life.”
I mean, Warrior Bees! Cool! The book was, however…ok. I am apparently the curmudgeonly type, since I didn’t think much of the book. Everyone else at Amazon loved it. Read into this what you will.
One of the things that really annoys me in a science fiction or fantasy book is using very formal, stilted language to give you the sense that you are in a different place or time. I’m sorry, but a good writer can give you the sense of altered reality without sounding like King Henry and his wench at the Kansas Ren Faire.
One small entomological nit to pick–if you are going to use magic bees as a central plot point in your book, at least take the time to learn a little bee biology. The “Warrior” bees are all male, and are described as:
“Warriors many times the size of a normal bee….behind they bore stingers over an inch long.”
Now, even if they are magical bees, they are still male–and since the bee sting is a modified ovipositor–well, one can only conclude that we perhaps have transgendered bees, or at least bees that have been to Sweden for an operation.
So, not a terrible book; just disappointing that it wasn’t a very good one either.