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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Queen of Warrior Bees by Jean Gill is the first book in the Natural Forces series. The Forest is waking up. The Mages are preparing for war. Mielitta finds herself drawn into the middle. She’s suffered at the hands of two boys who haven’t given her a moment of peace. Now that they’re Mages, she won’t be able to stay out of their grasp forever. After a trip into the Forest bonds her to a swarm of bees, she changes in a way she never saw coming. She discovers new abilities that in some ways makes her more bee than a human, which allows her to change her form and to summon the swarm for aid. As the war between the two sides grows, Mielitta searches for a solution that will bring man and nature together before it’s too late.
The story has a rich tone that Jean Gill weaves through in a lovely metaphoric use of bees and stunningly vivid descriptions. Bees are at the basis of the plot and at the heart of Mielitta’s journey as they guide her to becoming a strong-willed and powerful woman. The ecological importance of bees is woven throughout as the struggle between the forest and the mages represents the conflict between man and nature. Gill delivers a powerful story through a passionate and genuine voice that explores the environment, womanhood, and freedom. Mielitta’s transition into adulthood is depicted by the rules of the Mages and every girl follows what’s been set by this longstanding tradition. The connection Mielitta has with the bees is one that profoundly changes her life as she saves their species while the bees give her a newfound strength and power that help her find her voice. The story follows Mielitta’s journey as she leaves behind her innocence for adulthood which she explores through the freedom of the Forest and as she becomes a woman that finds her voice and through her role as the queen of bees. Queen of Warrior Bees is a rich and stunning tale that weaves together a journey into womanhood, an environmental adventure, a struggle between man and nature, and a fight for independence through the discovery of a voice and freedom.