Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Of Bees and Mist by Erick Setiawan

Few in town agreed on when the battle began. The matchmaker believed it started the morning after the wedding, when Eva took all of Meridia's gold and left her with thirteen meters of silk. The fortune-teller, backed by his crystal globe swore that Eva's eyes did not turn pitiless until Meridia drenched them in goose blood three months later. The midwife championed another theory: The feud started the day Meridia held her newborn son with such pride that Eva felt the need to humble her. But no matter how loudly the townspeople debated, the answer remained a mystery--and the two women themselves were to blame. Meridia said little, and Eva offered conflicting explanations, which confirmed the town's suspicion that neither of them could actually remember. [opening paragraph]

Of Bees and Mist
by Erick Setiawan
Simon & Schuster, 2009
Fiction, 416 pgs

From the author's website:
Of Bees and Mist is an engrossing fable that chronicles three generations of women under one family tree and places them in a mythical town where spirits and spells, witchcraft and demons, and prophets and clairvoyance are an everyday reality.

Meridia grows up in a lonely home until she falls in love with Daniel at age sixteen. Soon, they marry, and Meridia can finally escape to live with her charming husband’s family—unaware that they harbor dark mysteries of their own. As Meridia struggles to embrace her life as a young bride, she discovers long-kept secrets about her own past as well as shocking truths about her new family that push her love, courage, and sanity to the brink.

Erick Setiawan’s astonishing debut is a richly atmospheric and tumultuous ride of hope and heartbreak that is altogether touching, truthful, and memorable.

I love the title, Of Bees and Mist. It's lyrical and mysterious. And so it was with great eagerness that I looked forward to reading Erick Setiawan's novel. It's garnered much praise, both by critics and book bloggers. I was sure it was a book I would love to. Only I didn't. I wanted to. But like every reader, occasionally I come across a book that I am unable to connect with no matter how hard I try.

This isn't a review of the book, not really, because I did not finish it. So, it wouldn't be fair for me to write an actual review. I managed to read half of the book, and what I did read was well written, beautiful at times. And there were moments when I thought perhaps this was it, this was the moment I would be pulled in, but it never was. It finally reached the point where reading the book felt more like a chore. I pushed on, hoping my interest would grow, however it never happened. Finally, I made the tough decision to give up.

I hate giving up on books. I rarely do it, and therefore it is always with a certain amount of guilt that I do so, especially since this is a book I committed to reading for a book tour. I wish I could offer you more constructive reasons why this book didn't work for me, but the truth is that it isn't so easy to put into words. Not every book is a good match for every person. Sometimes the timing is all wrong. Whatever the reason, I was unable to connect with Of Bees and Mist.

Many people really liked this book and their opinions should not be discounted. I can think of many of you who this book might appeal to, in fact. Take a look at these reviews for a better taste of what's in store for you if you read Of Bees and Mist:

Book Chatter
Dolce Bellezza
In the Shadow of Mt. TBR
Joyfully Retired
Life by Candlelight
Life . . . with Books
Stephanie's Written World

You can learn more about Erick Setiawan and his book on the author's website. You can also find him on Facebook. I hope you will check out what others had to say on the TLC Book Tours route!

Many thanks to the TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to be a part of this book tour. Book for review provided by the publisher.

© 2010, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved.If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.


  1. I gave up on it as well. Like you, I found it a chore, and finally abandoned it in frustration.

  2. YOu weren't the only one Wendy. Although many bloggers did finish it, they weren't all that thrilled with the end product. I can see the appeal...I love the title and the cover, but I don't really need a book that is like a chore.

  3. Sorry to hear that you didn't like this one. I read it about a month ago, and thought that the domestic drama was the best part. I can certainly see that it wouldn't be a book for everyone. Thanks for the honesty in this review!

  4. Sorry this book didn't work for you. The book looks great, though...

  5. Bummer. I have this one on the shelf, so I plan to get to it. Someday.

  6. Bummer. I'm sorry this one didn't work for you but I am a great believe that sometimes it's just a timing issue. I have this on on my shelf and do look forward to it one of these days!

  7. I've seen mixed reviews for this one, so you're certainly not alone. I might give it a try.

  8. I'm sorry to hear you didn't enjoy this one, Wendy. I've read mixed reviews on this book so I'll have to think about whether or not to read it.

  9. sorry you didn't like this one. I can see that it's not for everyone.

    My review if you are interested:


  10. This one was getting so much buzz at one point and I was sorely tempted. But something made me never pick it up and you've just made me happy I didn't.

  11. I admire you for being able to not finish a book that you didn't connect with when you had a blog tour to do. I would have pressed on and been miserable. I think you managed to give a fair review despite that.

    I could see that this book might be a little divisive. It has a unique feel to it that won't be to everyone's tastes.

  12. I'm sorry this one didn't work for you but I appreciate that you really gave it a shot before putting it aside.

  13. Sorry this book didn't resonate with you. Book blogging would be BORING if we all liked the same book, right? :)

  14. Jenclair - It's good to know I wasn't alone. Most of the reviews I have read have been fairly positive and so the doubt began to creep in that it must be me.

    Sandy - I really wanted to like it--from the title to the cover and even the description, I thought I would. Oh well. I can't love everything I read.

    I'm just glad the TLC ladies were understand about my not being able to finish a tour book. I felt so guilty.

    Heather - I can definitely see the appeal of this book. I wish it had been for me.

    Alice - I hope you will enjoy it when you read it, Alice!

    Jill - You might like it still. It's worth a try, anyway!

    Iliana - It could very well be a timing issue. Some books I can tell you for sure that's what it was or wasn't. With this one, I'm not really sure which it was.

    Kathy - I'd love to know what you think if you do read it, Kathy!

  15. Melody - If you do decide to read it, Melody, I'd be interested to know what you think.

    Amy - Thanks for your link, Amy! I added it to my post about the book. :-)

    Lisa - I am at least glad I tried, but it's definitely not a book for everyone.

    Jenners - Not to go on was a difficult decision to make given it was a tour book. I pushed on farther than I might have as I tried to decide what to do. Trish was great about it though when I asked her what I should do. She completely understood and supported my decision not to finish it.

    Heather J. - I am sorry too, but I am glad I at least gave it a try.

    Stephanie - So true! We can't all enjoy the same books.


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