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on 17 December 2013
I would say liked it, it got me hooked. I can't place this in my top best reads ever but it's absolutely well worth a read! Mystical, dark, conjured up amazing images! Loved the heroine, loathed the evil mother in law! Buy it, read it, a bit bonkers!
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on 5 September 2017
Truly absorbing story! I have read this a few times and never cease to enjoy it and I buy it for my friends!
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on 18 April 2017
Loved this book for it's interweaving of mystery and reality.
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on 21 February 2012
To help someone thinking about buying this book (and to link with some other reviews) the first thing to say is the book is in the magic realism genre - mixing fantasy/magic naturally alongside everyday life. Once you start from that point, the wonders of the strange psychic fair, the bees, the mists, the ghosts in the mirror all make sense. My thoughts were 'Coraline' - but for grown-ups - very much sprang to mind when reading it.

The story revolves around the life of Meridia beginning with her childhood, progressing through her courtship and subsequent marriage into her adult life. The magic realism is woven around all the different characters and difficult relationships she encounters and that we can all relate to in life: Eva, the most evil and controlling mother-in-law you could possibly imagine (and what better way to describe those plagued by such people as to be tortured by constantly humming, stinging bees); Meridia's relationship with her parents - her mother loving and affectionate one moment then dissolving into a manic individual who clatters around her kitchen speaking an unfathomable language the next; her father - cold and distant, who regularly disappears and appears from the mists. The later relationship with her husband and sisters-in-law are beautifully laid out and shows how even the strongest individuals can be worn down by the constant picking from controlling, evil individuals (*the Bees have become a wonderful analogy to me of what these people do in life, and therefore how hard it is for their victims to stand up against them long-term!). The book also covers much darker abuses in life and the magic realism gives a wonderful vehicle to describe the people who inflict them.

This is a gothic melodrama where the tale is beautifully interwoven with magic. My only criticism would be that as all the beautifully laid out threads gradually came together for the climatic ending, the final piece was a bit 'Oh. Ok then'.
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VINE VOICEon 14 August 2009
`Of Bees and Mist takes two dysfunctional families and joins them by the marriage of Meridia and Daniel. It adds dark secrets from the past and a mother-in-law from hell (Eva). Elements from both fantasy and realism are thrown into the mix which is combined by the extraordinary story telling ability of debut author Erick Setiawan.

This is a novel that breaths new life into the `boy meets girl' plot. It is a `fairytale' where the Prince has to battle the dragon after he has married the Princess. Like a fairytale, it is set in a world that is recognizable, yet at the same time, alien. It is a magical story of love and family but any men out there should not be put off by that, I do not consider this to be a book written just for women, the story goes beyond that.

The narrative style appears to owe much to the oral tradition when the story teller would mesmerize his audience with fantastic tales. It is a story that merges his Indonesian and American experiences. From the first paragraph I could tell that `Of Bees and Mist' was going to be something special and I began to resent the everyday chores that took me away from it.

I could tell you the relevance of the title, but I won't, you need to discover that for yourselves. Suffice it to say that Bees and Mist do play a central role to the plot but in a surprising and magical way.

Setiawan is a talent to watch.
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on 4 June 2017
When the story begins with the birth of Meridia, it is all very exciting and mysterious. Meridia, the main protagonist as a child is lonely but she has resilience and my first impressions were that she would grow up to do great things so I was very disappointed that she does nothing more remarkable than get married and have a child at a very young age and that the main gist of the story is centered on her relationship with the mother in law from hell. As a child she is raised in this creepy haunted house and has weird dreams and visions so it always seemed that there was more to Meridia than meets the eye yet despite this, at the beginning she is a pushover and it takes her ages to stand up to Eva her mother in law. Daniel her husband is a pathetic weasel of a man - how many times does someone fall for the same lies over and over again? His indifference towards Raveanna is unjust who was merely standing up for her daughter. There are some minor twists in this story but nothing is ever really explained - for example the mists and the bees, they just appear. What the hell is that all about? Some of the characters are walking contradictions for example Elias is described as a quite sedate man who has his nose in books all the time and ignores his wife yet further into the book he is described as grabbing his son Daniel in a fit of anger when throughout the book he barely utters two words. Really? I can't see this myself. He also is aware of his wife's flaws and never stands up for his wife yet at one point he is so defensive he almost turns violent.
Nothing particularly exciting happens in the book, it plods along at a steady pace until the very end when Eva finally gets her comeuppance. A big disappointment overall.
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on 12 February 2010
Not at all sure what to make of this book with all the mysticysm mixed in around the story and characters.
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on 21 March 2011
I was drawn in by the book title, the cover and the 5 star review by 'Gabrielle O'-I had heard nothing about the book until it popped up in the 'People who bought what you have just bought also bought...' page on Amazon.
I was totally hooked from the first page and have read it at every possible opportunity. It not once bored me as it was so imaginative and inventive that it kept you marvelling at the fantastical world the fantastic characters lived in.
It was purely a magical joy to read and despite it being magical and set in an other worldly place the relationships between and the characteristics of the characters were so realistic. The book astounded me and I cannot wait to read more from this author. When I read the last line on the last page I let out an audible gasp of disappointment as I turned the page as I thought it carried on. The ending was fantastic but I would have loved to have settled down for another 405 pages. I have recommended this to everyone I know.
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on 30 September 2010
This book was in my Amazon recommendations, it looked interesting and thought I'd give it a go. I must admit, I found it very odd and to be perfectly frank I was very close to throwing the book aside. The mist, the bees, the strangeness of everything. But I perservered and suddenly I realised that I was completely and utterly sucked in. I read a lot of books, but being a Mum of three little children, my reading time is very limited. I literally could not put this book down. I loved and believed all the characters. I found myself actually crying sometimes!! There were on occasions that I had to check that this was a male author, considering his understanding of a womens' psyche, particularly after having a baby! It's been a long time since I've been so hooked. Even whilst I was making dinner I had the book propped up for me to read. I have been completely distracted. Thankfully, although sadly I have now finished it this morning. I can now turn my attention back to my family!!! When putting it down I stated to my one year old, "OK Matthew! Mummys back!!" It was a wonderful book. I usually buy books on Amazon and then sell them on, but this one will be staying on my shelf. A book all about magic, and boy, it really worked it's magic on me!!!
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on 18 October 2017
Magical and haunting! would make a fabulous film. Total escapism.
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