Title: Black Bird of the Gallows
Author: Meg Kassel
Genre: YA Paranormal
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Format: ARC paperback
Release Date: September 5th 2017
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
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 want to thank BookCon and Entangled Teen for providing me an ARC!*
Angie Dovage is a teenager trying to live a low-key life where people forget her story and what’s happened with her mom. In small town Pennsylvania where nothing much really happens and everyone lives their day to day life, Angie Dovage is going to meet her new next door neighbor who will drastically change her life. Once her next door neighbor moves in, Reece Fernandez, something supernatural tries to attack Angie. Yet, every time Angie goes through an attack, she notices that Reece is there. Angie is dancing with a harbinger of death and when she finds out out why Reece is really there in this small town Pennsylvania, it’s either saving everyone or staying alive.
I thought the writing was okay, easy to read and understandable. Meg Kassel wrote the setting in present times so there wasn’t much world building. The author really focused on the descriptions of what was a Harbinger of Death, Beekeepers, and the crows. I found that to be a problem (in my opinion) because this is a short book of 308 pages and sometimes she would explain over a few times what these three things do rather than focus on the plot. There was a point where I put down the book and asked myself “is this book part of a series? cause if so that would make more sense as to why she’s giving us much detailed descriptions.” Goodreads didn’t give me anything so I went to her website and found that she’s working on a novella and companion novel.
Meg Kassel also wrote a lot of tropes. If you do not like instalove, then you might want to steer away from this book. There’s also the neighbor who happens to be a supernatural trope, the girl who wasn’t doing much with her life till a guy walked in trope, and many other tropes but I won’t mention it because I don’t want to spoil the book.
We get to meet a few characters throughout this book. We meet both main characters Angie and Reece. Angie Dovage lives with her father and she hasn’t had the best life. Losing a mother to drugs, her life in school isn’t the best because everyone knows of her story. Angie is focused on music and the band she’s in with her two friends, Deno and Lacey. Reece is the new mysterious attractive guy that every girl in school is swooning over. Instead of being the quiet bad boy, he instantly gets a long with everyone in school and get’s into the hockey team. We also meet Angie’s father in the story who happens to be really present in her life and I have to say that I really enjoyed that aspect.
I also have to say that these characters weren’t flushed out as I would like. I feel that I’ve read these character arcs repeatedly throughout the years. I didn’t really find them relatable and it would’ve been nice to see them grow naturally but the tropes didn’t really help with the growth because a lot of their (Angie and Reece) decisions were based off emotions.
Overall, I found this book to be very predictable. If you like LUX by Jennifer L. Armentrout and Twilight by Stephanie Meyer, then I would definitely suggest you reading this book because it has ALL the same elements.
For this being a short book, I thought there was a lot more descriptions going on rather than plot. The plot really took place in the last few chapters. I know I mentioned this already but I really wish the author would’ve taken more time focusing on the plot, building the characters, and giving us just more of the world.
Angie asked a lot of questions about what the Harbinger of Deaths do and what Beekeepers are, how the Crows are involved in all of this. Yes, those are very important questions, however, Meg Kassel was explaining this way too much. And yes, it is important to the plot and what happens but there wasn’t a flow with plot and getting to know these paranormal elements. Therefore, sometimes the book felt too jumpy instead of an organic flow of things.
There were a few things that rubbed me the wrong way as well when reading this book which I can’t just let slide over without mentioning.
- There was a part in the book when the author compares Cadence (name of town) to Afghanistan. “Cadence is not Afghanistan. It’s southwestern Pennsylvania.” I thought that was very insensitive of the author to write.
- There is also a scene where Angie is drenched in water, she’s unconscious, and Reece stated that she was freezing and in shock. She wakes up and notices that her clothes is hanging on a chair and she was changed into a t-shirt which was alarming to her. She calls it to his attention, she’s asking questions about what happened, and he gets really defensive which I didn’t like at all. We get a character who’s been really nice and cool throughout the book but then when he get’s questioned on what happened while she’s unconscious, he turns into a dislikable person. “You were freezing and in shock. I had to get you warm and dry. I’m not sorry.” He also didn’t apologize which really pissed me off.
- “what are you, suicidal? leave me and go.” this type of sarcasm is a no from me.
- Reece Fernandez so happens not to be latino at all so there went my hopes and dreams of a latinx character being involved.