Black Bird of the Gallows
by Meg Kassel
Published: September 5, 2017 by Entangled Publishing
Read: September 5 - 7, 2017
Source: Kindle purchase
Category: YA, PNR, Ravens,
Find: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Indiebound
Book 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.
Black Bird of the Gallows is a classic paranormal romance, but a smart one at that. The book begins in the typical fashion, with a new student arriving at school. This time it's our love interest Reece Fernandez, who moves in next door to Angie and joins her senior class in school. Despite being adopted, his entire family shares the same black eyes, and is followed around by large crows and a weird boy in a puffy coat who smells of honey. The house Reece moves into is one where a gruesome murder took place a few years ago and his family are the first people to live there since. Angie is not a stranger to tragedy herself, having lived for a lot of her childhood in a van with her drug addicted mother. But she now lives in a stable home with her father. Who is present and doting - if health food obsessed.
Thankfully, Angie doesn't spent time lamenting about how clumsy or "plain" she is. She is a talented musician and DJ, even if she doesn't want everyone to know that about her. Angie's character fits with who she is and what she's faced in her life, and didn't feel like it was added to fit a "PNR heroine" stereotype. What I appreciated right away about Angie is that she calls Reece out on his evasive and brooding behavior and demands answers out of him. However, this did falter and fall into some common tropes in the second half that lost some momentum in this book for me. Namely, (highlight for spoiler) Angie breaks up with Reece to protect him at one point. (end spoiler)
I though the harbinger of death angle of the magical element was interesting and creepy, especially when you throw in the beekeeper plot line. It's nothing I've read before. Though a lot of the details do mirror other PNR books. (highlight spoiler) I'd also argue that Reece is immortal - or nearly (end spoiler). I'll lead you to discover them yourself.
Thankfully, this book wraps itself up well, and though I could see more coming from this world, I'm hoping that the author leaves Reece and Angie alone. Their storyline completes in a way that feels settled for them. Or at least, I hope it is. I do wish we'd gotten more details about how everything happened, as much of that is glossed over and then told in hindsight from the last chapter.
Recently, I've struggled with PNR feeling like one trope after another, and though this book does play with a lot of the standard themes, I like the way the book was executed, (highlight spoiler) minus the "I'm going to break up with you to protect you part of the story (end spoiler), and I enjoyed Angie's narrative a lot. For fans of PNR, I recommend this one.
Love Triangle Factor: None
Cliffhanger Scale: As far as I know this is a standalone