Black Bird of the Gallows (Black Bird of the Gallows Series #1)

Black Bird of the Gallows (Black Bird of the Gallows Series #1)

by Meg Kassel

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781633758155
Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC
Publication date: 09/05/2017
Series: Black Bird of the Gallows Series , #1
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 300
Sales rank: 1,244
File size: 884 KB
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Meg Kassel is an author of paranormal and speculative books for young adults. A New Jersey native, Meg graduated from Parson's School of Design and worked as a graphic designer before becoming a writer. She now lives in Maine with her husband and daughter and is busy at work on her next novel. She is the 2016 RWA Golden Heart© winner in YA. Her debut novel, Black Bird of the Gallows, releases fall of 2017.

Read an Excerpt


the boy and the bees

Somewhere in this house is a set of binoculars. I wish I could say I want them for nosebleed seats at a concert. Or for bird-watching. Either of those activities would be more respectable than what I'm doing this morning, which is peering out the window, trying to check out the new neighbors. Trying, because the crows perched in the cold, bare trees separating our houses are impeding my snooping efforts.

An adult female voice filters through the woods, directing the location of a leather sofa, asking to please be very careful with that painting. Through the screen of birds, I glimpse a woman directing a battalion of brawny movers. Even from a distance, she makes an impression, with long black hair and buff cashmere, but I completely forget about her the instant a boy with a backpack comes outside. He's tall, about my age, and moves with a smooth, confident stride. From a distance, he's seriously cute, and I suspect the view is even better up close. Nice shoulders. Something vaguely familiar about the tilt of his head.

I shift for a better view and watch the woman give the boy a quick hug. He kisses her cheek and then starts down the driveway, out of sight. Not for long, I hope. Maybe he's walking to the bus stop where I am headed shortly. Curiosity sends a flutter through my belly. What's he like? Is he nice, or will I be stuck living next door to a jerk? You couldn't tell these things by watching a boy walk. They only come out when he opens his mouth and words come out. Cute or not, I'll be reserving judgment on New Boy. I finish off my glass of orange juice and turn at the sound of footsteps.

"Morning, Angie." My dad strides into the kitchen, followed closely by our dog, Roger. Dad is decked out for their morning run in designer sweatpants and one of his tight running shirts in a retina-piercing shade of highlighter yellow. Still, he manages to look dapper and sophisticated, even first thing in the morning and, well, in that shirt. Roger's eyes are glued to my dad, as if the powers of his dog mind will make Dad pick up the leash faster. "What are you doing?" Dad asks.

"Watching the new neighbors move in," I reply. "Where are the binoculars?" Dad joins me at the window. "In my bottom desk drawer."

Eh. I'm not running upstairs for them. Especially now that the boy's gone.

He shifts, tries to angle for a better view. "Binoculars won't do you any good with all those crows in the way."

"I know it," I mutter. "So who are these people, anyway?"

"Fernandez, I think their name is," Dad says. "I ran into the realtor a few days ago. She gave me the lowdown of the sale." He scratches his freshly shaved cheek and squints harder. "The lady is from Spain. Bunch of kids. No Mr. Fernandez," he adds. "Probably a good thing, considering what happened with Mr. Ortley. Sick bastard."

What happened with Mr. Ortley is still a matter of distress to the neighborhood and our entire small, southwestern Pennsylvania town. It's not every day a man returns home from a business trip and kills his family and then himself.

Although they kept to themselves, the Ortleys were our next-door neighbors, and we saw it all when the police arrived and the bodies were removed. The local news media didn't linger on the incident — just a rich businessman who snapped. But the sprawling, Tudor-style home seems to hold on to the grisly events that happened there. At least a dozen hopeful realtors had planted signs in front of the house over the past year and a half as weeds grew up around the three-car garage. Even priced rock-bottom cheap, no one wanted to live in that house. Potential buyers looked but left quickly. Some wouldn't even go inside.

I don't believe in ghosts or hauntings or any of that, but even I have to agree that the house makes me twitchy. It's as if some creepy melancholy had soaked into the bones of it, making it unnerving to be near. But maybe that would change with new owners.

Roger wags his thick yellow tail and lets out an impatient whine. It's past morning run time, and he doesn't care for a delay in his favorite part of the day.

My dad rubs a hand over the dog's blocky head. Our big, happy yellow lab wasn't always ours. He'd belonged to the Ortleys. After their passing, Dad had offered to take Roger, and the police were only too happy to turn the orphaned dog over to the neighbor and his kid rather than call animal control. It was one less hideous thing they had to do that day. And so, Roger became ours.

Dad takes out a pitcher of lumpy, green liquid from the fridge. It smells faintly of parsley and strongly of garlic, but he pours a healthy glass and downs half of it in one chug. To his credit, he winces only a little. I don't understand why he does this to himself.

"Okay, okay. We're going," he says to Roger, whose whines are now accompanied by a tap dance on the hardwood floors.

"You could try eating normal food." I grin and put my breakfast dishes in the sink. "Lots of people do it. You might like it."

"Working with doctors, you learn what 'normal food' does to the body. No thanks." This is the way all these conversations end. My dad sells medical equipment to hospitals, clinics, and doctors' offices, so he knows all the ways people can die. His job is to sell equipment intended to keep them alive. The result is, he's all in on the "prevention" end of things. I can say with authority, it's not easy being the offspring of a health fanatic. Last year, everything he — make that, we — ate was gluten-free. The currently banned food item is dairy. Living without pizza is miserable, but the milk thing is near unbearable. I dream about eating ice cream.

"I'll see you tonight, Dad," I say.

He points to his cheek. I give him a kiss and scoop my backpack off the counter. Weird food aside, living with my dad isn't a hardship. I could have been dumped on a far worse doorstep five years ago.

I pull on wooly, fingerless gloves and head out to catch the bus. Yes, the bus. For the record, I have a car — a ten-year-old Civic. It's so generic, it's virtually invisible, but I don't drive it to school. There's a cool, quirky explanation I hand out readily: I can do homework or study or fold paper cranes while riding. I tell people it's like having your own personal chauffeur. But the darker answer is, I worry obsessively about leaving my car unattended in the lot all day. Anyone could break in, steal it, or just do something to it. And yes, I'm familiar with the word "paranoia." I come by it legitimately. A big chunk of my childhood was spent in an old VW van that was broken into all. The. Time. Occasionally, while my mom and I were sleeping in it.

So I ride the bus. Aside from the part about standing on the corner in bad weather, it's not a terrible way to start the day. I walk gingerly down our very long, very steep driveway, crunching on the mix of salt and ice. Mount Franklin Estates, otherwise known as my neighborhood, was built into the side of Mount Franklin itself, in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains. As far as mountains go, Franklin is less of a "mount" and more of a pretty, wooded hill with some expensive houses on it. Still, the roads can be steep and, because I shun practical footwear in favor of aesthetics, I have to watch my step.

The bus will arrive in eight minutes. Mrs. Pierce is as exact as an atomic clock. I pick up the pace when I hit the sidewalk, which is scraped right to the concrete and gritty with sand. Sure enough, the house next door is bustling with activity. The forlorn For Sale sign is gone and a champagne Lexus SUV sits next to the moving truck.

I pass big, gracious trees, driveways twisting off toward large homes, until the bus stop comes into view. I slow down. I've had the corner to myself since sophomore year, so it's jarring to see two boys standing there. One is backpack boy — my new neighbor — and a quick glance confirms that he is, indeed, binocular worthy. The other guy is ... I can't tell. At first, I think there's something wrong with my eyes. He looks a little blurred, like I'm viewing him through a smeared lens. His lack of a bag of some sort tells me he's not waiting for the school bus. Also, his attire — wool cap and puffy coat — is ordinary enough, but not high school-style. He holds himself in the way one would if he were about to bolt. Even from a distance, something about him sets off my finely tuned creep meter.

It's obvious that backpack boy and creepy guy are not friends, although they appear to know each other. There's tension in their stances, underlying the hum of their low-pitched voices — it's like they're squaring off. I slow my pace and look for something to duck behind, but their heads turn toward me at the same time. I falter, feeling like an intruder. Silly, considering this is public space.

Puffy Jacket takes a step backward. Closer up, he comes into clear focus, and I can see he's young — twenties, with a hooked nose and thin lips that turn down at my approach. The inexplicable scent of warm honey cuts through the late February chill. It should be a pleasant smell, but there's a sharpness to the aroma that makes the hair on my neck stand up.

I feel Backpack Boy's gaze on me. I'm still trying to gauge the other guy when, impossibly, his face changes. Not his expression — his actual face. Instead of a hooked nose and thin lips, wizened eyes peer back at me. His nose is small, almost feminine, and a mustache scruffs his upper lip. His gaze turns to mine with a cold intensity that makes my footing falter. He pulls his lips back over clenched teeth in what is perhaps meant to be a smile, but it's just not. My heart rate picks up. I drop my gaze, disturbed by what looked like hunger and menace and an unnatural familiarity in that strange guy's face. Caution escalates to the first prickles of actual fear.

It's okay. Don't freak. Mrs. Pierce will be here in a few minutes, and that baseball bat she keeps next to her seat is not for an impromptu game.

Puffy Jacket turns away. He mutters something to Backpack Boy and starts off down the street in the opposite direction.

Relief — that he's leaving, that I don't have to look at him anymore — eases my racing pulse, but already, I'm doubting what I saw. That couldn't have been real. I mean, it's impossible for a person's face to take on a whole different set of features without a ton of plastic surgery. There's a better explanation — deceptive lighting. Sleep deprivation. Too much sugary cereal.

Yeah. One of those things.

I turn my attention to Backpack Boy, whose face has not appeared to change, thankfully. My head is still a little fuddled, and I get stuck staring at him. Worse, I find it impossible to get unstuck. He's got more than a nice walk. He's got a nice everything — high cheekbones, straight nose, and expressive eyes to go with a tall, athletic body that just screams I play all the sports. Not my type, but the only thing I know about my "type" is that it hasn't been any of the boys at Cadence High. Except for this new one, apparently. It's irritating, because I could do without a hot neighbor. An attractive boy living next door adds a pointless layer of nerves, like stress about wearing my ratty sweatpants to the mailbox, and I don't want to be tempted to spy on him with my dad's binoculars. It's an exercise in futility. A waste of perfectly good energy, as in my experience, the noisy boys who play the sports don't notice the quiet girls who play the music. And that's fine. I have no problem with the natural order of things. I have no idea what a girl like me, who spends most of her free time in the basement with laptops and sound mixing software, would talk about with a guy who throws balls and runs for fun.

An amused light sparks Backpack Boy's dark eyes, as if he had heard those last few thoughts. One hand is wrapped around the strap of his backpack, the other is tucked in the pocket of his black wool coat. He wears cargos with a lot of pockets and black Chucks. His hair is a floppy chestnut mess. "Hi. I'm Reece Fernandez." The cold morning has put a chilled flush to his cheeks. He nods in the general direction of our houses. "My family is moving in to number forty-one."

I scramble for something interesting to say. Maybe even something witty. "Yeah, I saw —" No! Do not admit you were peeping at him from your window. "The truck." I clear my throat and shove my fidgeting hands in my pockets. "Moving day. Exciting."

Reece squints in the direction of his new home, then turns to me. Our gazes stick and hold, and for a moment I wonder if I've seen these eyes before. And those are some nice eyes, even though ... wow, they aren't just dark, they're black from iris to pupil.

He blinks to the ground then laughs, but it sounds forced, like he's digging for an appropriate response. "Exciting is one word for it."

I nod and smile like we didn't just stare at each other for several strange whole seconds. "So, I'm Angie Dovage. My dad and I live next door to you. Number forty-three. I hope I didn't ..." Stare at you like a brain-hungry zombie. "Interrupt your conversation."

"You didn't." His lips quirk up at the edges. "Thanks for running him off."

"Do you know that guy?"

He shakes his head, shoulders hunching. "Some freak asking for money." Dark eyes shift to squint down the street. Not the body language of someone telling the truth. After having lived with a drug addict until the age of twelve, I know fiction when I hear it.

I glance down the street with a shiver. The guy in the puffy coat is gone. Just ... gone. He must have ducked off the street and into the woods, as there aren't any houses or side streets on that stretch. If that guy tries to break into any of the fancy homes here, he'll be greeted by a shrieking, top-of-the-line security system, but I don't like the thought of some "freak asking for money" lurking in the woods of my neighborhood.

If that's really what he is. I doubt it, but I won't press. The guy could be Reece's relative — a cousin with a drug problem — and I know all about that type of pain and humiliation.

As for the face-changing thing, it must have been my imagination. A trick of the light or something. People's faces are what they are. They don't change like that.

"My car won't be delivered for a few days. Once it arrives, I can give you a ride to school, if you like." His voice betrays traces of a New England accent when he says the word "car." It comes out sounding like cah. Kind of cute.

"I have a car," I say, surprised by the offer. "I just ... prefer the bus."

Reece's gaze moves over me. It's a general perusal of the curious, non-leering variety, but my cheeks warm. "You a junior?" he asks.

"Senior." Here we go. He's the one with the creepy friend or relation, but I'll be the weird one because I take the bus.

"Oh, right. I should have kn —" He cuts off, eyebrows lifting in the middle, like he can't find the right word. "I didn't mean —"

I have no idea why, but his momentary fluster charms me, and I smile at him. "It's no big deal."

It earns me a grin. "I think it's cool that you take the bus. Sort of like getting chauffeured around, you know?"

Aw hell, now I'm smiling at him too much. "That's kind of my thought, too." I clear my throat when the silence stretches past a few seconds. "So, where did you move from?"

"It's more like, where haven't I moved from," he replies with a flashing grin. "We've lived all over."

"I thought you were from up north," I say. "Your accent. It sounds like Massachusetts or something."

"Really?" He starts to say something else, but wherever our conversation was headed cuts off with a sudden incoming flap of black wings and rasping caws. I look up as a throng of crows swoops in low and fast.

"Get down!" I drop into a crouch and cage my arms over my head. A mass of feathers and beaks heads right for us. It's called self-preservation, a trait I assumed everyone possessed.

Not so. Reece Fernandez remains standing. I peek up and watch in horror as he closes his eyes and lifts his face to the mess of curved talons and flapping wings.


Excerpted from "Black Bird of the Gallows"
by .
Copyright © 2017 Meg Kassel.
Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Black Bird of the Gallows 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 30 reviews.
Falln2books More than 1 year ago
Black Bird of the Gallows is one of the strangest novels that I've ever read, and I mean that in a good way. I like different and bizarre, and this novel definitely has those two qualities. In addition to being completely unique, the characters are well-developed, the writing is gorgeous, and the pacing and plot are fantastic. The world-building is a little sparse, which is the only reason I rated the book lower than an A. While this is a standalone story, there is another novel coming out that's set in this world, and I can't wait for Keeper of the Bees to come out in September! Angie was a great main character. She was flawed and broken, but still a good person. She was an easy character to connect with, and I really enjoyed reading from her perspective. She was strong and capable and intelligent. Reece was an interesting male lead, and I thought for a bit that this book was going to go Twilight on me and make Reece out to be some billion year old creeper, but it didn't, thankfully. He was selfless and he tried to make the best of his curse and tried to do what was right. I really had a lot of sympathy for him because he had a rough life to say the least. The secondary characters weren't overly developed, but they had their own personalities, and I think they contributed nicely to the story. I would have liked a bit more background on Deno and Lacey, but they felt real nonetheless. The plot for this story was a bit complex, and I enjoyed that. Nothing really was what it seemed, and it kept me engaged. The pacing was spot-on, and I didn't get bored and nothing felt rushed. The writing was well-done, and the descriptions were wonderfully written. Some parts of this book are horrifying and not for the faint of heart, and the author doesn't pull any punches. That being said, there are no gratuitously violent scenes. There was a lot of heart put into this book, and I did tear up a few times, and I also had quite a few laughs, so I was also emotionally engaged with these characters and the story. My only complaint is the world-building. While the different creatures did a bit of explanation of the magic and their world, I still don't feel like I fully understand what was going on. That could have been the reason. It was the first book in this series, and even though it can serve as a standalone, since the sequel will have new characters and a new location, I assume the world will keep building in the next installment. The ending tied things up nicely for these characters. Overall, I'd recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a slightly horrifying and bizarre YA paranormal romance. The premise is extremely interesting and it's executed very well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book! Glad to spend the money on it!
Suze-Lavender More than 1 year ago
Angie has been through a lot, but is now living a peaceful life together with her father. When Reece moves into the house next door she's immediately intrigued and suspects he isn't just a regular guy. He's a popular athlete, but the way crows are around him and how he handles them are making Angie suspect he's got plenty of secrets. Angie is determined to find out more. There's a supernatural presence in the town and something horrible is threatening to attack Angie. Reece knows it's time for Angie to know the truth, can she handle it? Angie's hometown is being threatened from all sides. Harbringers of death are present and they are a sign that something awful is about to happen. There's nothing Angie can do to stop it. Even if Reece will tell her more about who he is and what he's doing in the town Angie can only wait and see what the disaster will be. She knows it is inevitable, but while spending time with Reece it's easy to shortly forget about the bad stuff and slowly she falls in love. Is it wise to get involved with a guy she can never completely have and what will happen to them when all hell breaks loose? Black Birds of the Gallows is a fantastic gripping story. Angie is a kindhearted and gifted girl. She knows what she wants, but because of her past she lacks confidence. She slowly becomes braver and more outspoken and I loved to see that change. Reece is intriguing and I couldn't wait to find out more about his background and his family. I loved that he's such a gentleman and that he protects Angie as well as he can. It's clear there's something very special going on between them and I was curious to find out if they'd have a chance at love between all the chaos and destruction around them, if they'd live long enough to love and be loved in return. Meg Kassel has a wonderful descriptive writing style. Her story is fast-paced and filled with action, magic and creepiness. I loved the combination of horrible insects, evil, darkness and ancient curses. I was immediately captivated by the story and couldn't put it down. Meg Kassel skillfully combines tension, threatening doom and adventure with true love. Black Birds of the Gallows is a terrific enchanting story filled with surprising twists and turns. The story kept me on the edge of my seat from beginning to end and I was thrilled when I read its beautiful finale. I absolutely loved this gorgeous story.
MorrisMorgan More than 1 year ago
“Black Bird of the Gallows” was not a bad book, but it wasn’t for me. I liked the backstory and the magical realism, but there seemed to be something missing in the actual execution. I didn’t like the main character, so that was definitely part of the problem. I can neither recommend nor not recommend it, so I suggest that if it looks good to you to give it a shot. This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.
HsRamblingMom More than 1 year ago
I have to give the utmost props to Meg Kassel for this debut novel. I had to go back and double check that I had read that right... that this is her debut novel. It absolutely blew me away. Kassel has a beautiful way about her story. The words breeze by on the pages, so easy to read and become engulfed in. I couldn't put it down. Not only were the characters some of my favorite that I've read lately, they stuck with me long after I finished this novel. The mythological aspect of the plot transported me to this world that I didn't know existed and I wanted more of. Beautifully crafted, completely transfixing.... I couldn't put this one down. I'll be buying a few paperback or hardcover copies for my student's library in my classroom. I have several students in mind that I know will absolutely love this novel. The ease with which I was sucked into this novel reminded me of the first time I read Shelly Crane's Significance Series, JL Armentrout's Lux Series, and Amy Bartol's Premonition Series. I can't say enough about how much I loved this novel. Overall, huge 5 stars (Amazing Debut!) Cover: BEAUTIFUL! 5 Stars Characters: 5 Stars Plot: 5 Stars
sincerelykarenjo More than 1 year ago
Black Bird of the Gallows by Meg Kassel is a wonderful debut novel that reminded me of the reasons why I love paranormal romances. It’s deliciously dark, satisfyingly eerie, and absolutely enthralling. Kassel’s writing is beautiful and utterly captivating. I really liked the premise of the story and the spooky atmosphere. This book also gave me some Twilight FEELS and I loved it! The world building is fantastic and very imaginative. I’ve never read anything about harbingers or beekeepers, so that part definitely fascinated me. The plot has plenty of action, mystery, suspense and drama that kept me on the edge and completely hooked. The characters are genuine and likable that I couldn’t help but root for them all. The romance is a bit weird at times (you’ll find out when you read the book), but I still enjoyed it. The paranormal aspects can be quite disturbing, but I didn’t mind it at all. I was completely engrossed the entire time that I didn’t want the story to end. I liked Angie right off the bat. Her personality is inviting and that made it easy for me to connect with her. She’s also a fantastic heroine. Despite going through something horrible and having insecurities, she’s quite resilient, determined and very brave. Reece is enigmatic, alluring, and has that “bad boy” vibe going on. You just know there’s something more about him, but whatever he’s hiding doesn’t really matter. He’s charmed his way into your heart and you just can’t resist him. I don’t know what it is exactly, but there’s something intriguing about the brooding tortured soul that always gets to me. Not to mention Reece is sweet, caring, and really handsome. While there is an insta-love in this book, I thought it was quite well done. There’s a backstory (kind of creepy, but reasonable in the supernatural way) that helped explained why Angie and Reece were drawn to each other. I also thought that their relationship progressed at a really good pace. They didn’t rush into anything or immediately declared their feelings. They both kept each other at a distance to some extent. But no matter what, the spark between them was undeniable. I enjoyed seeing them interact and deal with their attraction. Their bantering was super adorable and had me smiling. Their kisses were steamy and so swoony. They’re just so cute and I absolutely loved their chemistry. With gorgeous writing, an engaging story line, fantastic characters and sweet romance, Black Bird of the Gallows had me enchanted all the way through. There are so many things I love about this book and I honestly can’t recommend it enough. While this book is perfect for paranormal romance lovers, I definitely think anyone looking for a fun thrilling read would enjoy this too. I received an advanced reader copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a fair review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. To read more of my reviews, go to sincerelykarenjo [dot] wordpress [dot] com
krlga More than 1 year ago
Angie has new neighbors and during the course of her spying/watching them move in, she spots a boy her age. Interested in the prospect of meeting a new potential friend/hot guy, she is delighted to find him at the bus stop. But there is someone with him, a man whose face seems to be changing…but that can’t be true, it must just be Angie’s eyes. But when a flock of large black birds swarm, her new neighbor does not cower but instead appears to welcome them. Angie has no idea what is going on, if she is going crazy, if the new boy is crazy, or if something more is occurring right under her nose. This was probably one of my most anticipated reads and I have pretty much been counting down the days until I could get my hands on this book since I discover it months ago. I knew I had to read it, but a small uncertain part of me was worried that I had built the book up too much in my mind due to all the hype and I was going to be disappointed. Well, fear not, this book lived up to my lofty expectations and so much more. The story was unlike anything I have encountered before with harbingers and beekeepers (Ha, not the typical “beekeeper” mind you!) and I was thrown off my usual game of predicting what will happen next because this world was so original. It also had so much heart, great characters, and a creepy tone I appreciated. I could never have anticipated the level of suspense and creepiness that was introduced, while creating a whole new mythology to ponder. Angie was narrating the story and I highly enjoyed her quirky voice, she is up there with my favorite female book characters recently. I related to her thoughts and actions so much I could not help but to love her. She spent the first 12 years of her life living out of a van with her drug addict musician mother, learning more about life and death than any kid should. Yet she was able to maintain her innocence and heart, making her a genuinely good person, and have the ability to express herself through music. Angie had lots of reasons for being damaged, but she persevered. She was nobody's fool either, regardless of liking a boy she refused to be a doormat and kept her integrity and questioned everything. And the awkwardness of most of her encounters was so realistic I felt embarrassed right along with her (social anxiety ran high with this one). Her friends, Dad and Roger (I lurv Roger and his sunny doggy personality- the fact that Reece reported him as happy after his previous life situation was an interesting tidbit) were the best side characters to help Angie be who she needed to be. Which leads me to the enigma of Reece. He gave the appearance of being cool and popular, and gave attitude to Angie when they bickered and defended her when she didn't expect it, yet was shy and uncertain when it came to feelings. I was right there with Angie, desperate to uncover his secrets. This story is a standalone book which is great because I was not left hanging or waiting for forever for the next book- but on the same hand that means I don't get any more from this mysterious, creepy, magical world. This is my first encounter with Meg's books and I have been super wowed and already forcing it on my bookish friends (and some who aren't, because reading is good for them!) I look forward to whatever else Meg wants to write because I enjoyed her style and the people she brought to life for me to love.
Melanie Parker More than 1 year ago
ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Black Bird of the Gallows is a debut standalone paranormal YA romance that reads like a mixture of Candyman meets The Birds meets Twilight. (And I mean that mashup in the best way possible!) “The energy flows over me, fills me, and none of it feels tainted, contaminated by the darkness of my mother’s mistakes.” Angie Dovage lives in a small town in southwest Pennsylvania and is counting down the days of her senior year of high school, so she can finally graduate and escape the small town that won’t let her forget her childhood. She is living with her father, making music with her two best friends, and trying to ignore that past that still haunts her. That is, until a new boy moves in next door and makes her realize there may be more to her small sleepy town than anyone realizes. Reece is not your regular human boy, but is also harboring a secret that will change Angie’s world forever. Together they are trying to uncover the fate of their small town, while also learning to trust one other and overcoming their own personal fears. “If you had asked me a few weeks ago, I’d have said magic is impossible. Irrational. Just considering its existence in this world is insane. But I saw bees crawl out of a man’s mouth. I saw him change faces like pages of a book.” This book has a dark and spooky vibe throughout its entirety. The writing is beautiful and for helps create this haunted aesthetic vibe, which I loved. This book feels and reads very much like a mystery thriller, even though it is for sure a paranormal romance. Also, I feel like the story itself was just super unique. “I endured two centuries of horrors, and maybe it was all so I could be here with you. If my unnatural existence means nothing else, it means this. I get to be here, now, with you.” I had a little problem with the romance in this book, and how fast and instant it seemed to be. The story later addresses this with more back content, but that addition just made me feel a little creeped out. I also felt like the ending was a little too easy and convenient for my liking, as well. But those were the only two issues I really had. Besides those, this was a really enjoyable read. I do think it’s important to note that this book centers around death a lot. So, trigger warnings for talk of death, child abuse, and a minor plot point that surrounds a school shooting. Yes, this is a YA novel, but the nature of this book definitely deals with some dark subject matters, so please go into this book knowing that. I completely recommend this, especially for a fun Halloween paranormal read! I really enjoyed Angie’s friendships with Deno and Lacey and then her parental relationship with her father. Also, I love that this is a standalone, because those are so unheard of nowadays, especially in the paranormal genre. This is a quick and easy read that would be super enjoyable for the fall season. And I will definitely read future books by Meg Kassel, because of this wonderful debut. *The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.
FantasyRaider More than 1 year ago
I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange of an honest review. Just going by the cover and the title I was expecting something completely different than I got. I pictured a darker, grittier story in more of an urban fantasy setting, not that this one is not dark or gritty but still. However I liked it nonetheless and for it being YA it has a lot of gruesome elements. I gave the book 3.5 stars because it was a quick, easy read with some interesting concept and I enjoyed it despite my recent reluctance regarding YA stories. But I wasn’t over the moon for it either. The writing style is flowing and really expressive. I also loved the little titles for each chapter; they foreshadow the things to come in each chapter. I liked the idea with the whole harbinger and beekeepers mystic element without making the story too supernatural if it makes sense. And not just because that but they are not really commonly used magical entities so it was a unique theme too. The plot is kind of fast paced or more like busy. Things, especially supernatural ones happen practically from the very first pages and they don’t build up gradually to a point of conflict wich creates a rushed feel to the events. Basically the whole storyline was one big conflict everything happens o fast. The characters are good but for me neither of them was outstanding. I didn’t feel a bond to either of them. We see a lot of different reactions, personalities from Angie. She is creative, curious, talented, strong, troubled and caring. She runs headfirst into trouble if its feeds her curiosity. She is also the sole narrator of the story so the reader feels her more. Then there is Reece, her love interest who is handsome, nice and charming with a lot of secrets. We don’t get to know him as deeply and Angie but I feel that both him and Angie are both the typical teenage YA characters so its not hard to put them in place. Also I just didn’t see the chemistry between them so I couldn’t help and feel that Reece only role in the book is introducing Angie to the supernatural world. I missed the attraction or the emotional connection between them. This was a cute, easy and mysterious summer read for me. Yes, you read it right, cute despite the gothic theme, mayhem and destruction going on. P.S.: For some reason this story reminded me of Twilight, especially in the first third of it.
HowlingLibraries More than 1 year ago
I loved the paranormal romance genre as a teen, but hadn't picked it up in a while, so when I was offered a copy of this book, I jumped at the chance - and I'm so glad that I did! Angie is a really likable narrator; she's been through a lot of trauma in her eighteen years, and she portrays it believably with her anxiety and insecurities. She's just trying to keep her head down and survive high school when she meets Reece, and while she's instantly attracted to him, she's not willing to rush into anything until he explains a few things to her: like why he's frequently surrounded by the new murder of crows surrounding her town, or why a man with an ever-changing face seems to be unreasonably concerned with not only Reece, but now Angie as well. I appreciated it wasn't super insta-lovey (though towards the middle it feels a little rushed, but it's explained later and is pretty adorable), and I really loved the banter and tension between Angie and Reece. It feels a little cheesy at times, but in that really fun, dramatic style that I fully expect from the PNR genre. A few loose ends were left untied by the end, and I wouldn't have minded another 50-100 pages to dive into the magical world's history a bit more. There's some potential for really cool magical world-building, but the opportunity wasn't seized. I especially wanted more information on the Strawmen, a mythical creature who is a very powerful entity, but we never get to see more than a brief glimpse of. Altogether, this was a captivating romance and had some very tender moments. I had so much fun reading it, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who loves YA paranormal romance stories.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Black Bird of the Gallows was exactly what I longed for: a new twist on death, or more precisely, that which feeds on death . . . and chaos. Drawn with a rich, Hitchcockian flair, readers are quickly hauled into Meg Kassel's debut story. Set in a small town which feels every minute of winter's dying days, readers are treated to musically-inclined teen, Angie Dovage, who is satisfied enough with her daily life, all of which is tucked into the shadows of coal-mined mountains. But when new neighbors arrive, finally laying claim to a house with a murderous past, Angie is immediately intrigued by all of them, especially handsome Reece. But for all of Reece's tempting allure, the constant flicker of blackness in the trees from the sudden arrival of so many crows, sets Angie's nerves on edge. Soon Angie understands the haunting birds far more than she ever wanted to and the truth about the handsome boy next door is far darker than any of their feathers. A page turner that blends bits of King with Hitchcock, Meg Kassel tempts and terrifies the reader in equal measures with Black Bird of the Gallows. ** I received this ARC from NetGalley for an honest review.
SaschaDarlington More than 1 year ago
I've always been intrigued by those harbingers of death who appear before a town suffers a huge tragedy with lives lost like the mothman, for instance. The crows in Black Bird of the Gallows are just like that, appearing as an omen in the trees all over town.  For Angie Dovage, this coincides with the arrival of new neighbors into the next-door house they thought would never be rented because of the deaths that occurred there. And, of course, the arrival of a cute teenage boy, Reece Fernandez, who befriends Angie even though she has a reputation of being a freak, due mostly to her mother's behavior and death. Nothing is as it seems. Soon Angie discovers truths she may not be ready to face about what is going to happen to her town. But she also begins to learn truths about herself, which make her question whether she should keep hiding the talents she possesses as well as herself. Black Bird of the Gallows is engrossing with a rising tension that will keep you turning pages automatically until the satisfying conclusion that tests Angie, Reece, and her friends. I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
pooled_ink More than 1 year ago
In some ways this is your typical YA Paranormal Romance…except better. The cover is not only gorgeous, but Kassel has written a story that’s really unique and actually managed to keep my attention (unlike the paranormal stories I’ve read lately). This honestly isn’t my main genre so I was surprised when it managed to capture my attention. I won’t say it’s perfect (some parts were a touch cliché or predictable) but overall I really liked it and think that fans of paranormal romances that have a darker side will totally swoon. This book is fun, different, filled with intriguing themes of death, and is a spooky read great for October!
BookPrincessReviews More than 1 year ago
*Thank you so much to Entangled Teen for sending me over a copy - I really appreciate the chance to read and review this book!* I think this book has an excellent premise, and it is certainly one of the most unique I've seen in a while in YA. Harbringers of death? Crows vs. Bees (which kept cracking me up because birds and the bees which is the most spectacular pun)? Men with faces that change? I was so intrigued by the world, but a few other little issues brought the book sort of down for me. Where the book shone the most was with its world building and atmosphere. This book had a wonderful and gorgeous atmosphere. I was so immersed in the world that I felt like I was constantly in one cold dark night reading it, and it so got me in the spooky mood to jump right into the September. This is, for sure,a book that you're going to want to add to your TBR to be read, curled up by the fire and autumn leaves in September, October, and November. Kassel definitely has a way with her mood. As I mentioned before, I thought the world building and premise was so fascinating. I thought that Kassel created such an intriguing premise of the crows vs. the bees and how much mythology went into it. There was so much detail and world building set up, and I found this so intriguing. I loved every second of the world she created and built. Angie was a good character as well. She was a strong heroine, and I liked her a lot. I definitely rooted for her, and I found her relatable and likeable. When crazy things started to happen around her and to her, I definitely think that she reacted in a realistic way, unlike some things that I have seen in YA. She has a deep and detailed past, and it added another layer of characterization that really made me like her even more. The other characters were good as well. I really loved the interactions between Angie and her dad. So many times in YA, parental relationships are nonexistent or only halfheartedly done. This story really showcased a good relationship between father and daughter, and I really enjoyed the dynamics between them. Where this story went wrong for me, though, was in one big area for me. I read in another review that this would be good for fans of Twilight, and as I kept reading, I noticed this definitely had a lot of similarities to other earlier 2000s YA. It has the mysterious guy who is supernatural with the whole what are you thing; cheesy villain girl who is so mean to the MC and oh so pretty (but actually not); friends that are kind of just background noise for the romance; and a romance that comes on heavy and fast. Had I read this at the height of these books like Twilight; Hush, Hush; or Fallen, I think I would really, really would have liked this book. However, after really getting burned out by stories that kind of fell in this pattern, I found myself losing interest in this book because it fell into a lot of the old tropes. HOWEVER, it does do those tropes well, and I still found myself intrigued enough to keep going on. I just found myself not so interested in the romance and could predict a lot of what was going to happen - which took out some of the fun for me. This book has a premise that is definitely unlike anything that I've read in YA in a long while. It has intriguing mythology, wonderful world building and atmosphere creation, and a very likeable main character. However, it did lose a bit of its potential since it fell into a bit of a pattern.
ruthsic More than 1 year ago
Black Bird of the Gallows starts with a unique concept - harbringers of death and beekeeper monsters, but it somehow gets into the same old pattern of teenage angst somewhere around the middle. In the world of the book, small pockets of surviving magic in the world allow the existence of harbringers and beekeepers as well as some other supernatural creatures called strawmen (I'm thinking stoic scarecrows), and they are going around from place to place either causing chaos or deriving their nutrition from it. I was intrigued because they present are written as multi-dimensional creatures who don't just thrive on needless violence, but bam, romance plots come to ruin my fun... Now, the romance plot is actually a significant arc of the book, with Angie being a central figure to the beekeeper's plans, but I could have done without that endless angst of 'I'm such a disgusting creature' - which I know is difficult when you have creatures that literally feed off death, but still...If I keep aside that part, Reece is actually a lovable character - he is cute and boyish, even though he has memories of countless lives lived and centuries of emotional baggage. Angie is interesting, and she drives part of the plot, but I felt like her emotional struggles weren't given their due in the plot. She kind of becomes a secondary character in her own story, which I did not like. And overall, their romance falls into a cliched pattern of girl-meets-boy, girl gets intrigued by brooding boy, girl meets boy's family and discovers his secret, they date, they break up, supernatural shit, and boom climax! The story had potential, but it wasn't executed properly. The writing was good enough and I would probably look up some other books by the author, but this one was average for me. Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review from Entangled Publishing, via Netgalley.
taramichelle More than 1 year ago
Rating: 4.5 fun, creepy stars As soon as I saw the first words of the summary for this debut novel, I knew that I wanted to read this book. Also, it doesn't hurt that the cover is one of my favorites I've seen this year. I couldn't believe my luck when my review request was approved. Then I proceeded to immediately start reading. Black Bird of the Gallows is a fantastic and imaginative debut that met my expectations in every way. From the very first page, I could tell that this story was going to be deliciously dark. The story begins as Angie Dovage notices new neighbors moving into the house where a horrible tragedy occurred a few months prior. From their first meeting, she senses that there's more to the new boy next door, Reece Fernandez, than meets the eye. As the story progresses, Angie is slowly drawn into a supernatural world that she never knew existed. With the town in danger, a crush who turns out to be a harbinger of doom, and ever-present demons from her past, Angie must deal with being unexpectedly thrust into a battle between good and evil. The pacing in this book was perfect, I was entirely engrossed in the novel and ended up finishing it in two days. I loved how the author slowly unspooled the mystery, keeping the tension just high enough for the reader to always be intrigued. There were some unexpected twists that I didn't see coming. As much as this was a story about the harbingers of doom, it was also a story of Angie finally coming to terms with her traumatizing past. If you're easily creeped out, I would not recommend reading this one before bed since some of the villains are somewhat nightmare inducing (they're truly excellent, innovative, and wonderful but still incredibly creepy). As much as I enjoyed the romance that slowly developed between Angie and Reece, I liked her relationships with her friends and her father more. Angie's relationship with her dad was wonderful to see and led to some moments that made me actually laugh out loud. I also liked that as Angie's romantic relationship developed, she didn't leave her friends behind. Also, despite being secondary characters, both Deno and Lacey were fully developed and just as well-written as Angie was. As for Reece, I loved how his backstory was slowly revealed and how vulnerable he was with Angie, especially as she lets down her walls with him. Their relationship was based on mutual respect and friendship rather than just lust, which was a nice change. Black Bird of the Gallows was the perfect fall read, with just the right mix of spooky, creepy, and swoony moments. I've already decided that I'll be buying Meg Kassel's next book, I enjoyed this one so much. *Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
taramichelle More than 1 year ago
Rating: 4.5 fun, creepy stars As soon as I saw the first words of the summary for this debut novel, I knew that I wanted to read this book. Also, it doesn't hurt that the cover is one of my favorites I've seen this year. I couldn't believe my luck when my review request was approved. Then I proceeded to immediately start reading. Black Bird of the Gallows is a fantastic and imaginative debut that met my expectations in every way. From the very first page, I could tell that this story was going to be deliciously dark. The story begins as Angie Dovage notices new neighbors moving into the house where a horrible tragedy occurred a few months prior. From their first meeting, she senses that there's more to the new boy next door, Reece Fernandez, than meets the eye. As the story progresses, Angie is slowly drawn into a supernatural world that she never knew existed. With the town in danger, a crush who turns out to be a harbinger of doom, and ever-present demons from her past, Angie must deal with being unexpectedly thrust into a battle between good and evil. The pacing in this book was perfect, I was entirely engrossed in the novel and ended up finishing it in two days. I loved how the author slowly unspooled the mystery, keeping the tension just high enough for the reader to always be intrigued. There were some unexpected twists that I didn't see coming. As much as this was a story about the harbingers of doom, it was also a story of Angie finally coming to terms with her traumatizing past. If you're easily creeped out, I would not recommend reading this one before bed since some of the villains are somewhat nightmare inducing (they're truly excellent, innovative, and wonderful but still incredibly creepy). As much as I enjoyed the romance that slowly developed between Angie and Reece, I liked her relationships with her friends and her father more. Angie's relationship with her dad was wonderful to see and led to some moments that made me actually laugh out loud. I also liked that as Angie's romantic relationship developed, she didn't leave her friends behind. Also, despite being secondary characters, both Deno and Lacey were fully developed and just as well-written as Angie was. As for Reece, I loved how his backstory was slowly revealed and how vulnerable he was with Angie, especially as she lets down her walls with him. Their relationship was based on mutual respect and friendship rather than just lust, which was a nice change. Black Bird of the Gallows was the perfect fall read, with just the right mix of spooky, creepy, and swoony moments. I've already decided that I'll be buying Meg Kassel's next book, I enjoyed this one so much. *Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Alyssa75 More than 1 year ago
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** Black Bird of the Gallows by Meg Kassel Publisher: Entangled Teen Publication Date: September 5, 2017 Rating: 4 stars Source: Review copy sent by the publisher Summary (from Goodreads): 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. What I Liked: I'd been looking forward to reading this book for quite some time, ever since a description was released. It has been a high-priority read for me, and a high-priority publication for Entangled. I had hoped that my expectations were not too high and I wouldn't be disappointed. I had nothing to worry about. This stunning debut is dark, imaginative, and enthralling, worth every bit of attention and hype it has received. In this story, Angie Dovage's world is turned to chaos, and it starts with crows. It has been years since anyone bought the neighboring house, but one day, a family moves in. Angie's new neighbors are a little strange, especially the teenage boy who is in many of her classes. What's even stranger is the arrival of many crows - and bees. There is more to Reece Fernandez, there is more to the crows who follow him - and Angie - and there is more to the bees. Angie finds herself in the midst of a supernatural war between the cursed Beekeeper and the harbingers of death. The town of Cadence is marked, and there can only be one outcome: death. From the start, I was hooked and I couldn't stop reading. There was no chance of me putting down the book until I finished. Kassel's writing and the flow of the story made it easy to get sucked into the story and lose track of time. I was never bored, so there was no worry about DNFing. I was a little surprised when I connected with Angie almost right away! She is a bit of a social outcast in her high school, due to something in her past surrounding her mother. But she is very gifted with music, and is a DJ at a club on weekends. She is smart and talented and a hard worker. She is also so strong and resilient, especially with everything she went through with her mother. I liked how that was revealed incrementally (what happened with Angie's mother). The first time you realize something is different about Angie's parental life, it's just this one phrase, a few words. The author slowly reveals parts of Angie's past. I love how the author ties it all together by the end. Reece is the male protagonist and I absolutely adored him. He is more than a swoony love interest (though he definitely is that). He's sweet and thoughtful, and occasionally he has broody moments, and protective moments, and a whole bunch of selfless moments. Reece is by no means a perfect guy, but he is very smart and full of worldly knowledge, so he understands certain things better than most. Read the rest of my review on my blog, The Eater of Books! - eaterofbooks DOT blogspot DOT com :)
etoile1996 More than 1 year ago
what happens when you fall in love with a harbinger of death? what do you do when the boy you like is also a black bird who feeds off the energy released by death? and what can you do when you realize that his presence in your life means that sometime soon very bad things will be happening? black bird of the gallows is part romance, part horror story. there's a sense of forboding and menace throughout this story that is woven into the teenage angsty romance between angie and reece. and you guys, i loved this story. it was unique and interesting and the imagery was so vivid. i'm not the most visual person but here i could see the crow to human transitions. i could see the blurry faces of the beekeepers. the writing is so cinematic and lyrical. i feel like the author spent some time watching the birds and candyman, which are two of the scariest movies of all time in my opinion. there is something about angie that draws the birds and bees her way, and figuring out what that is and what that means, not just for the people of the town, but also her romance with reece makes for a compelling story. this is one debut worth reading. **black bird of the gallows published on september 5, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (entangled teen) in exchange for my honest review.
FoxClouds More than 1 year ago
I was rather excited to read this book, but, unfortunately, it did not live up to the hype. It is not a bad debut novel, but it lacked depth and solidness of the plot and characterization. The idea of the crows being the supernatural creatures and harbingers of death is not a new one but Meg Kassel takes an interesting spin on it, adding more supernatural forces into the mix. However, a lot of the explanations of the magic and the rules of it were vague, undeveloped, and the ending had a very rushed and ‘Deus Ex Machina’ feel. (Considering how many of YA books tend to have an ending that can be summarized as “well, this happened because it happened”, I am starting to think that a lot of people have never read any classic literature. Go and read the Greeks. It has all been done before.) It was not the worst ending ever but I could tell that this was going to happen a mile ahead. I did not like the fact that the author decided to title every chapter - it is my personal preference not to know what is going to happen in the chapter that I am about to read as all of those titles were basically spoilers. It sometimes took out the fun out of reading the story. I liked all of the characters in the book, which is rare. Well, almost everyone - I am not counting the bullies at school. Angie is lovely, and her father is one of the best supporting characters in YA, as he has both a distinctive voice and is not just a plot device, as it often happens with parents or relatives in the genre. Angie goes through some serious character development, that was well-written and thought through. Her friends are great too - they were both funny, and reliable, and supportive, and everything about them was great for the story. Let’s talk about Reece now. Okay, first things first: I love angsty and dark characters. I can live off angst. However, in case with Reece it was a bit overdone. I liked the way he was introduced in the story, as well as his background, his family, etc. But as the book progressed, we were not given any new information or anything else, the author just recycled the same facts over and over again. I would have been able to deal with all of those if the style was more solid. The author’s writing suffers from a very common mistake of ‘telling’ instead of ‘showing’. The details of the curse are repeated over and over, as well as descriptions of things that happen at school, during the day, etc. Even with the first POV, it is still possible to avoid that. There was a whole passage almost at the very end of the book which was the repeated information, almost word to word, to what the characters had said just a page ago. It was glaringly obvious and redundant. A lot of things that happened during “the tragedy event” were told instead of described, and some of the details were so vague that I felt as if the author rushed through this part, when it should have been one of the major parts of the book. Like I said, “Black Bird of the Gallows” is a debut novel, not the worst but not the best either. I found it cute, but not too original. It was refreshing to read a stand alone novel though. I do feel that the author has a potential to produce great stories, but lacks the skill at this point. Will definitely keep an eye on her future projects. In spite of my opinion of the book, I do appreciate the opportunity provided to me by Entangled Teen to read and review the ARC.
chapterxchapter More than 1 year ago
Black Bird of the Gallows by Meg Kassel was a book that I enjoyed more than I thought I would! It has a sweet romance, action packed scenes, and characters that you grow to love (yes, even the bad guys!). You’ve got a family of harbingers that move into a little town because of an upcoming catastrophic event. Girl meets boy (Angie and Reece) and the attraction runs high. These crows are not the only magic beings that have come… A beekeeper has also arrived and his main mission is to break his own curse, and his eyes are set on our two lovebirds. Will he succeed in his mission and tear apart something that runs deeper than a chance encounter? Author Meg Kassel’s writing was superb and every word had me completely glued to the pages. It didn’t take me long to get totally and completely absorbed in this story and I was on the edge of my seat for most of it. I had to know what would happen! Angie and Reece are a couple that I so desperately wanted to see together, and the need to see what would happen with them was another reason that the pages in this book flew. Not only were the main characters the stars of the show, but the others in the book were such integral parts in this story, making it difficult to really choose just one favorite character! I will admit that the story was really predictable but that didn’t matter. I needed to see how it all played out, and was curious to see how the author would do it. Harbingers, beekeepers, magic, action and throw in a love that is tender and sweet, Black Bird of the Gallows by Meg Kassel is easily one of my Top Favorite reads of 2017.
BooksInBrogan More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this one, the mix of paranormal and real life issues was very well done with a balance that will keep you glued to the page wondering what will happen next. I look forward to reading more books by Meg Kassel.
VoluptuousBDiva More than 1 year ago
From the moment I started to read this book the world around me disappeared and I found myself utterly immersed within the pages of this amazing book. The story line was well constructed and the characters were fantastic. I fell head over heels with Angie and Reece and honestly who wouldn't!? This book has it all from teenage angst to supernatural creatures with some swoon worthy moments that have left me clamoring for more. This author grabbed a hold of her magical thread and weaved a paranormal tale that kept me glued to my seat. I look forward to what's to come from this talented author. I will end this review with one of my favorite quotes; "The world reeks of death and pain, and you smell like life and joy and everything I can never have." {I requested a review copy via Entangled Teen and made no guarantee of a favorable review. The opinions expressed here are unbiased and my own.}
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
erinlee20 More than 1 year ago
Black Bird of the Gallows by Meg Kassel is one of those books that as soon as I read the summary I was excited to dive right into it. Good versus evil, swoony boy who is not quite human…I’m hooked. The main character here is Angie Dovage and she is a survivor. Her past isn’t great because of her mother. When Angie’s father finally finds her, it is unclear what Angie really went through but having lived in a van with her drug-addicted mother, she tends to stay out of the limelight and melt into the background as much as she possibly can. Things change a bit when Reece Fernandez moves into the house next door. Angie is drawn to him and from their first meeting it is clear they have a connection. Reece is the new kid at school and he is immediately taken in by the popular kids but there is something different about him. Crows tend to flock around him and Angie can’t help but be curious. It is because of that curiosity that she attracts the danger that she does and Reece can’t help but do whatever he needs to in order to protect her. I thought Kassel did a great job of developing the good versus evil story and explaining how the harbingers of death curse works. I also thought the detail put into the transformation of these harbingers, how they follow catastrophe, and the linkage to the beekeepers was interesting. I have to admit, those are the pieces that made this story unique. The secondary characters are great. Angie’s friends – Deno and Lacey are very supportive of her and while they don’t know everything about what she has gone through, they don’t care. I loved Angie’s father – he wasn’t just in the background the whole time. Reece’s family was interesting and then you have the bad guy – Rafette. All helped to move the story along and played some key roles within the story. As the story moves forward and Angie learns more about who the harbingers are and why they are in her town, things begin to pick up. There is action, danger, and some swoony bits. I don’t want to give anything away so I can’t say much more here but consider picking this one up when you can. It was a quick read and kept me engaged throughout. I will be watching for more from Kassel in the future based on this book.