Blackbird of the Gallows is all about harbingers, evil bees, music and paranormal tropes that get deliciously shaken up.
I AM SO HERE FOR THIS. This was just addictive, entrancing, and utterly beautifully told and I think I lost a little bit of my heart to this world and these characters. It’s also pretty dark and centres around destruction, death and chaos. And HI. I do like dark fantasy. Plus add in epic friendships, catastrophes and everything going badly wrong?!? We have such a good book omg I will recommend it to everyone so they can suffer with me.
Something that particularly impressed me is how it DID feature a lot of the old paranormal tropes we are a bit tired of…but it totally mixed them up and made them awesome. You know how the Hot Supernatural Boyfriend™ rolls into town? Well we HAVE THAT. But he’s not an aggressive alpha-male. He’s a super sweet athlete who is actually SO TIRED. Nine naps couldn’t fix this boy. And instead of the average vampires/werewolves…we have HARBINGERS AND BEEKEEPERS AND STRAWMEN. Instead of a mellow whingey heroine, we get blessed with Angie, a social anxious DJ who promised to deck Reece if he got uber protective instead of letting her be in charge of her own fate.
Ok but I LOVE ANGIE. She totally ruled this book and was so relatable and fun!
- she acknowledged Reece was a Supernatural Hot Boy but also CALLED HIM OUT FOR BEING CREEPY
- she had interests … like her life wasn’t consumed just by a boy omg
- she had GOOD SOLID FRIENDS whom she loved and trusted a lot!
- sarcasm is a great coping mechanism! are you sad and anxious? SARCASM IT OUT
- she had a good relationship with her dad aww
- sees a dog? loves the dog
- ice cream > everything else
I’m just here for Angie appreciation until the crOWS GO HOME. (see what I did there??? instead of “cows go home”?! omg I am on fire with wit tonight)
I loved reading about harbingers and murders of crows!
The lore and backstore was fascinating and I enjoyed getting lost in this reimagined myth. The harbingers are immortal beings who turn into crows and follow around death and destruction. They arrive in town —> a tragedy goes down —> they feed off the energy. It’s a curse though and they aREN’T HAPPY. We also get creepy Beekeepers who vomit bees who sting people into madness…but at the same time you feel sorry for them and their curse too. ALTHOUGH…since I am allergic to both bees and honey, I kind of agree that it’s all evil. Finally. My opinions are recognised.
It’s about catastrophes, tragedy, death and loss and grief…and full of morally grey characters instead of black-and-white evil. I love how the book explored this! Like the beekeepers were awful but it was out of their control. And the tragedies were inevitable, but the book still talked about the devastation and how it affected the harbingers.
My only problems? Super small!
- This may sound pedantic, but it just comes up a lot and I’m tired of it: making fun of healthy eating and allergies. It’s like this huge running joke in the book how Angie’s dad is a “fitness freak” and they all laugh and gag over not eating dairy etc etc. Ok look. This happens in books CONSTANTLY and, as someone also with a ton of food allergies, it’d be nice not to be mocked for once?!
- And I don’t like the “uber protective dad” trope. Like if a boy looks at the daughter, the dad is all “I’ll get the shotgun lol lol”. It’s rooted in patriarchal ownership of women so I’m #tired.
Basically Blackbird of the Gallows was amazing and I fell in love with it. The plot was addictive, the pacing excellent. It had heartfelt messages and relatable characters in amongst DEATH and DESTRUCTION. I love that it talked about sadness and how deep it can run, how it’s a big deal and how it can affect your life. Solid YES (!!) from me.
Also tomorrow I’m reviewing the companion book, Keeper of The Bees! So watch out for it!
THANK YOU TO ENTANGLED TEEN FOR THE ARC! Blackbird Of The Gallows by Meg Kassel was published September 2017.
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 are your favourite paranormal books?! have you tried this one?? are there some myths/legends you’d like to see done in YA to shake up paranormal a bit??