Format: E-Galley, 300 pages
Release Date: September 5, 2017
Publisher: Entangled: Teen
Genre: Young Adult / Paranormal
A dark psychological romance perfect for fans of Holly Black or Maggie Stiefvater, whose yet to be published sequel won the Golden Heart ® for Best Young Adult Romance.A simple but forgotten truth: Where harbingers of death appear, the morgues will soon be full. Harbingers settle in places where tragedy is about to strike, then feed on the energy of the dying. Then, they leave. Off to the next doomed place. No one wants a family of harbingers of death as neighbors, but that’s exactly what seventeen-year-old Angie Dovage gets when Reece Fernandez moves in next door.
Angie knows the mysterious boy is more than he appears, but can’t imagine that his presence heralds a massive tragedy that will soon devastate the region. She has more to worry about than Reece’s inevitable departure, because where harbingers of death go, the Beekeepers follow. Their sting turns sane people crazy, kind people into killers. Where Beekeepers go, people die. Quite horribly, in fact. Their love of chaos makes a disaster that much harder to survive, and they are stinging at will, causing a sudden epidemic of violence in her quiet mining town.
Angie wants to protect everyone she cares about, but stopping the Beekeepers involves a choice that will claim her life or Reece’s soul. She’s about to learn the price of both.
Black Bird of the Gallows is the debut novel by author Meg Kassel. Protagonist Angelina "Angie" Dovage is a survivor who carries heavy baggage, and no matter what she does, she can't remove the stigma from what happened to her while she was with her mother. Some have even resorted to calling her "Tabloid Freakshow." This comes from living in a world where nothing happens without someone shoving a camera in your face and demanding you answer their questions before running off to Twitter, Facebook, and complaining that you are untouchable or other names.
I was drawn in right from the start after Angie meets her new neighbor Reece Fernandez. Reece and his family moves into the house next door to her and her father. The same house where something horrible took place. Angie notices that there are a whole lot of crows around her neighborhood since Reece arrived. Crows that don't seem to bother Reece at all. Pretty much the first thing Reece tells Angie is, Stay Away from the Bees. What that means, is anyone's guess. Crows also seem to be keeping an eye out for Angie and leaving her presents. But, why?
I'll say that a very interesting twist happens right in the beginning, and that's because of a character named Rafette and the fact that he takes a keen interest in Angie after meeting her only one time. I won't go into spoiler territory, but I will say that his arrival makes the story even more dark, and even more twisted that without him. Angie becomes a bit obsessive over Reece, and perhaps a bit stalkerish as well. What she learns would make anyone else run to the hills, and ever come back. But, we're not talking about me. I read where someone has compared the beginning to Twilight. ::head desk::
Thankfully for Angie, she has two best friends in Dino and Lacey who are also into the music scene, and a father who never gave up finding Angie when she was gone. Angie is a DJ at a local mall where wears the persona of a girl named Sparo. Sparo is the polar opposite of Angie, and nobody knows who she really is. I would characterize this as someone doing their best to put a new face forward, while leaving her past, and the school bullies to their own vices. I liked Lacey a bit more than I did Dino. Lacy is the kind of person who believes in Omens & Signs, and the signs are that something horrible is about to take place in Cadence.
This is a story that is complex, but also predictable. Not only do you have crows, but you also have harbingers of death, a creature called the Beekeeper, and an unseen ancient beings who we really don't really meet but feel their presence. Reece and Angie form a connection that isn't insta-lust. It's a connection born from the things that have happened to them both in the past. The publishers catalog classifies the story as a Young Adult, Paranormal with an intriguing romance. That's a pretty good description. According to Kassel's author page, there are two more books to come. A novella called Cleaner of Bones later this year which will feature Reece, and Keeper of the Bees which is supposed to be a full length novel coming sometime in 2018.