ARC Review: Black Bird of the Gallows by Meg Kassel

a title here(90)description

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.

review

**** Big thank you to Entangled Publishing for sending me an copy in exchange for an honest review!****

This was definitely a very unique and dark story and unlike anything I’ve ever read before, I won’t be forgetting this one any time soon! Remember when paranormal romances were big? This is how a majority of them SHOULD have been, engaging and well written! However, there were just a couple things that didn’t work enough for me to full rate this at 4 stars.

PLOT

I loved how the story opens up with some interesting happenings right away, there are some mysterious new neighbors next door in the house where a family was brutally murdered. Pretty good attention grabber, right? From here the plot takes off with Angie being drawn to the new boy next door, Reece, and she starts to notice odd things happening around town such as a significant increase in the local crow and bee populations and she thinks Reece has the answers.

The plot is very fast paced and stays that way for the duration of the book, which was nice, and there definitely isn’t a lack of action at all! You’ll be able to zip right through this book! I loved how Kassel kept things interesting and kept you reading for answers and when you finally got them she’d leave you with more questions too! Her writing was spectacular and I’ll be interested to see what she’ll write next.

One of my favorite aspects of this book was the world building and mythology, it was extremely creative and I wanted to know everything about it! The curses of the Harbingers and Beekeepers were really interesting but I would have liked to have known a bit more about their origins as well as the history of the magic and other magical entities that are mentioned, such as Strawmen. I would have loved a lot more depth into the world building for sure, it would have made the story even better but I did love what I got!

I also really liked how the general atmosphere of the story was kind of creepy as well since we are dealing with Harbingers of Death after all, it’s a perfect book to read for Halloween coming up here if you don’t like horror but like something a little spooky!

I also have to say that the second half of the book is where things got pretty dark and dangerous but it was also really thrilling to read through. Best part of the book, in my opinion! However, the ending to the book felt a little too…..convenient for me? I didn’t like how they are dealing with a problem for the majority of the story and then at the end it is magically solved for them, just a little too cheesy for me.

characters

The characters were a little tricky for me in this book, while they were decent I just didn’t feel connected to any of them and felt they lacked depth.

Angie was an alright narrator and main character, she had a pretty tough break as a child but has learned to deal with it. I think one of my favorite parts about her character was her love for making and mixing music and the parts where she would DJ were a lot of fun! When she DJs she uses an alter ego she likes to keep separate from herself which she has completely understandable reasons for. However, there is a moment where she has to choose between learning more about why her life might be in danger or to reveal her DJ persona to Reece and I thought it was a bit ridiculous because come on girl your life could be in danger!

Other than Angie there are a few other characters who get “screen time” such as her friends Deno and Lacey, her father, Roger (her dog), and of course Reece. I did really like all of these characters and they did have a little background and personality but overall they just didn’t have a whole lot of depth. Like I said though I really like them, they were very supportive of Angie the entire story. (I adored the dog though, seriously)

Reece is the other central character and love interest and he does get quite a bit of background as well but he doesn’t ever really develop. He doesn’t change or grow, the only character that did that was Angie. Overall I thought Reece was just sort of okay, I didn’t love or hate him he was just kind of…there.

One character I did not care for AT ALL though was Kiera Shaw who is basically the “high school mean girl” trope and she lives to make Angie’s life miserable. I did not see the point to her character at all and even towards the end where Angie and Kiera’s pointless “rivalry” is resolved it still felt really flat and not genuine. Even Rafette who was technically the story’s main antagonist was way more sympathetic than her!

romance

I actually did enjoy the romance between Angie and Reece and while there is an instant attraction the romance is not insta-love at all. I liked how it was slow at the start but it did feel a little rushed towards the middle of the book but it is explained so I forgive it. I actually really liked the tension that was between them at the beginning where they felt that attraction initially and it just had me rooting for them from the get go!

There was a sort of side romance between Angie’s two friends and honestly I felt it wasn’t needed at all. I liked the two characters but did we really need a side romance?

in conclusion

Overall I loved how unique the concept of this book was and the world building and mythology were fantastic, although I didn’t care a lot ton for most of the characters. So I’d like to give this a full 4 stars but the issues I had with the book it just doesn’t feel right to rate it anything more than 3.5.

What I Loved:

  • Concept and general plot
  • The writing was engaging
  • World building and mythology were creative
  • Very fast paced and full of action
  • Loved the musical side of Angie, the main character
  • The romance was slow burn and adorable
  • Roger, the dog, was just the best

What I Didn’t Love:

  • The ending felt WAY too convenient
  • Could have used a little more expansion with the world building
  • Characters were just kind of alright, didn’t really connect
  • Pointless girl on girl rivalry with school mean girl

RECOMMEND

I highly, highly recommend checking this book out though especially if you’re looking for a very unique story concept or a creepy (but not terrifying) book to read this fall!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository

The Sassy

9 thoughts on “ARC Review: Black Bird of the Gallows by Meg Kassel

  1. Kelly September 17, 2017 / 3:05 pm

    I’ve been looking forward to reading this one for ages! I’m so happy to know that this is the kind of paranormal romance that we’ve pretty much been looking for, but it’s a bit of a shame about the world building – that’s always my favorite part of these kinds of books. I’m still glad to hear that you enjoyed it, and I’ll definitely have to pick this one up when I get a chance. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Heather @ The Sassy Book Geek September 21, 2017 / 9:58 am

      Thank you! I hope you enjoy this one as well! It definitely isn’t the run of the mill paranormal romance which was a nice change and I enjoyed what world building there was but I’m the type of person who needs a lot more! 🙂

      Like

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