Saturday, March 11, 2023

*Review* The Last Beekeeper by Julie Carrick Dalton


Genre: Dystopian Literary Fiction
Published: March 7, 2023
Pages: 379

It’s been more than a decade since the world has come undone, and Sasha Severn has returned to her childhood home with one goal in mind—find the mythic research her father, the infamous Last Beekeeper, hid before he was incarcerated. There, Sasha is confronted with a group of squatters who have claimed the quiet, idyllic farm as their own. While she initially feels threatened, the group soon becomes her newfound family, offering what she hasn't felt since her father was imprisoned: security and hope. Maybe it's time to forget the family secrets buried on the farm and focus on her future.

But just as she settles into her new life, Sasha witnesses the impossible. She sees a honey bee, presumed extinct. People who claim to see bees are ridiculed and silenced for reasons Sasha doesn't understand, but she can't shake the feeling that this impossible bee is connected to her father's missing research. Fighting to uncover the truth could shatter Sasha's fragile security and threaten the lives of her newfound family—or it could save them all.

Julie Carrick Dalton's 
The Last Beekeeper is a celebration of found family, an exploration of truth versus power, and the triumph of hope in the face of despair. It is a meditation on forgiveness and redemption and a reminder to cherish the beauty that still exists in this fragile world.

"But I'm going to miss sexing up plants with you all day."

I was peer pressured into requesting a copy of this book through Netgalley and the publisher was "kind" enough to approve that request. In their defense, they didn't know there was peer pressure at play. This is my honest review. 

Although this book is dystopian, it feels very realistic. It's not hard to imagine the world ending up like it's portrayed in this book with the track we are currently on. We are destroying our planet, and the species that provide behind the scenes help in feeding us. The story is told alternating between the story's present and the past from the perspective of Sasha, and takes place almost entirely on her family's farm. There are a lot of little mysteries within the story where Sasha is trying to figure things out, especially surrounding what happened when she was 11 before her father went to jail, that I think were supposed to make me want to keep reading, but eventually just annoyed me because I just wanted the answers already, although that's also how Sasha felt, so I guess I was pretty solidly in her shoes on that. 

This book did make me kind of want to become a prepper, and like learn how to can food and garden, because if our society collapses like it's portrayed in this book, I would be absolutely screwed. I do not have skills that would help me survive post-collapse, and this book makes those skills seem so normal, because Sasha has all of them, because her dad was a prepper. Because of his job he saw the writing on the wall and knew what was coming so he prepared and taught his daughter. This isn't a case where it felt weird that the main character happened to have all the skills they needed to survive. 

I wish I'd felt more invested in this story overall, but getting annoyed about not getting answers to the mysteries pulled me out of the story and made it more of a challenge to want to read. And for that reason, I'm rating this book 3.29 out of 5 stars. - Katie 

JULIE CARRICK DALTON is a New England journalist and farmer. Her debut novel WAITING FOR THE NIGHT SONG launched in January, 2021 as a CNN, USA Today, Newsweek, Parade, and Buzzfeed Most Anticipated 2021 Book, and was an Amazon Editor's Pick for Best Books of the Month. Her writing has appeared in The Boston Globe, BusinessWeek, The Hollywood Reporter, Electric Literature, The Chicago Review of Books, Orion Magazine, Lit Hub, and other publications. She contributes to DeadDarlings, The Writer Unboxed, and GrubStreet’s writer’s blogs. Her second novel, THE LAST BEEKEEPER, will be released in 2023.

Mom to four kids and two dogs, Julie also owns and operates a 100-acre farm. When she isn't writing or digging in the dirt, you can probably find her kayaking in New Hampshire or walking in the woods hunting for mushrooms.

1 comment:

  1. And I’m over here with this as my top book of 2023 (so far!) and for many of the reasons you were frustrated! 😂 At least it’s got above 3 stars. I’d feel (almost) bad if you gave it 2 or below. 🤷‍♀️