The Business of Bees (Penny White Book 8)


Penny White is the alcoholic vicar of a monastery in the fantasy world of Lloegyr. St. Raphael’s is populated by every type of mythical being imaginable, from werewolves to snail sharks. Penny struggles with her addiction, and the dragons and gryphons are determined to wean her off the booze. But at night she sneaks downstairs to tap the barrels. Penny is then summoned by three gryphons from a parallel universe—the United States—with a request to help restore their lost honeybee population. 

This book is an imaginative blend of religion, addiction, and mythical beasts in a supernatural world. The story, however, is difficult to follow. It does not function well as a standalone. As it is the eighth book, an apparent wealth of backstory remains unknown to a reader not familiar with the series. Confusion mounts from the large chunks of dialogue between multiple characters with no tags—the reader is never quite sure who (or what) is speaking. This is compounded by the fact that all the dialogue appears in single rather than double quotes—grammatically correct for some countries, but unfamiliar to most American readers. Additionally, there is little to no white space to break up long passages of text or dialogue. A unicorn deacon, a dragon bishop, and vampire monks . . . even laced with humor, religion and fantasy do not mix any better than oil and water. Fantasy and science fiction fans seeking a truly unique adventure, however, may well enjoy the Penny White series if they begin with the first book and hang on for a wild ride.

FS Brown