Friday 6 October 2017

Clare Reviews: Black Bird of the Gallows by Meg Kassel

Black Bird of the GallowsTitle: Black Bird of the Gallows
Author: Meg Kassel
Format: E-Arc
Source: Received via Netgalley
Pages: 300
Rating: 4.5/5
Blurb: A simple but forgotten truth: Where harbingers of death appear, the morgues will soon be full.Angie Dovage can tell there’s more to Reece Fernandez than just the tall, brooding athlete who has her classmates swooning, but she can’t imagine his presence signals a tragedy that will devastate her small town. When something supernatural tries to attack her, Angie is thrown into a battle between good and evil she never saw coming. Right in the center of it is Reece—and he’s not human.
What’s more, she knows something most don’t. That the secrets her town holds could kill them all. But that’s only half as dangerous as falling in love with a harbinger of death.

I was initially nervous about this book. Socially awkward girl meets mysterious new neighbour and supernatural shenanigans follow? Haven't I read that story before? But no. No I have not.

In a lot of ways I found this to be comforting and nostalgic. It does have the same sort of feel to it as many older YA books do - the Lux series springs to mind. For the first half of the book I was amazed that I was so enjoying a genre I thought I had lost interest in. But that is where Meg Kassel excels. The writing and the characters were so strong that I was immediately hooked and the familiar became charming rather than tiresome. Added to this however is the fact that this book is so very unique. I know, I just spent a lot of words on how familiar this feels. Yet somehow this is one of the most unique books I have read all year. Somewhere in the combination of very, very creepy plot line, strong and realistic heroine and adorable romance was a story so excellent I just know I'll be remembering it for years to come - and re-reading it plenty too.

The main character, Angie, was thoroughly wonderful. She was strong and flawed, funny and damaged and I wanted to befriend her so badly. She had leaped off the page and into my heart before I had finished reading the first page so obviously I was very invested in her getting a happy ending! The other characters were also strong although I would have liked to have seen more of them. The relationships were very intriguing - I adored the loving relationship Angie had with her Dad for example, and her close friendship group - but the book was so short and packed full of excitement that we didn't get as much of an opportunity to observe these relationships.

I am in two minds regarding the romance. On the one hand it felt very insta-love in places as well as retaining that oh-so-creepy element so prevalent in YA where a centuries old guy falls in love with a teenager (I just struggle to get past that I really do). But they were so cute. Their conversations and interactions made me melt and I had a goofy smile on my face for much of their soppier moments. The romance wont be for everyone, but it also doesn't dominate the plot so those less interested in the romance will still have plenty to be excited for!

THIS should be on your Halloween TBR and if it's not - why not??? The whole concept of harbingers and beekeepers was deliciously creepy and the execution had me alternating between horror and goosebumps - a bee buzzed around my head whilst I was reading this book and I was terrified!

Whilst this definitely feels like a classic YA supernatural romance/mystery there is plenty new and exciting to discover in the novel and characters you can so easily fall in love with. Plus bees. That live in a man's mouth. And make people violent. Just. Such a wonderful read and I definitely, definitely need more from Meg Kassel. Soon.

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  1. Okay, but, despite all of its flaws, I love the Lux series, so the fact that this sort of reminded you of that makes me SO EXCITED. Also, I did NOT expect this to have a "very, very creepy" plotline, so that just pushed it super-high on my TBR. Fantastic review! :D

    Veronika @ The Regal Critiques