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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
The Business of Bees by Chrys Cymri is the eighth book in the Penny White series. Everyone in Penny’s life seems to have come to an agreement about one thing: her drinking. She’s determined to prove to them wrong. Penny’s in for another surprise when three gryphons travel across the Atlantic to seek her help in dealing with hives of bees that have been stealing from their flowers and depleting their supplies. Penny’s job is to convince the bees to return to earth. Should be simple enough, right? Except, to do this she’ll need the help from the last person she expected to see again: Cornelius who is the only one that can translate for the bees. With Morey, Clyde, Jago, and Raven at her side, Penny sets sail with a crew of were-puffins. Unfortunately, things may go from bad to worse when Penny and her family have to face several weeks at sea and the consequences that arise if the bees don’t want to leave.
Penny White keeps getting better and better! Chrys Cymri has a gift for finding a new spark in each new adventure that takes Penny through new challenges with changes and surprises for her and her quirky family. The story continues to grow the core family while introducing new characters and locations for them to encounter along their journey. The majority of the book is spent on a ship with a crew of delightful characters and introduces a few new types of weres which include an Albatross captain, Puffin crew, and a delightful Penguin. A new location is also explored through Lloegyr’s version of America, which is where negotiations with the bees take place. Cymri tackles the importance of bees through a unique approach because earth’s bees have found new homes in Lloegyr where they’ve set up their own culture, beliefs, and society. As with the other beings, Cymri pushes for you to see the bees in a new way that will remind you of their importance. A new type of gryphon is also introduced with three new characters that set off the adventure and have an important role to play in the story.
The adventure ends with an unexpected change in the relationship for a couple of the characters moving forward. Cymri provides an amazing callback to The Nest of Nessies with a humorous and dramatic scene. The story also sees the return of Cornelius who shows a new side to him as he assists them on their journey to translate for the bees. He provides a source of comic relief amongst the feud between gryphons and bees, but Cyrmi also explores a new layer to the character that might make you see him a little differently. Penny White continues to shine as a series with each new installment stronger than the last. The Business of Bees has everything that makes Penny White such a delight to read with endearing characters, nerdy humor, clever writing, and an exciting adventure.