Blog Tour + Book Review: Keeper of the Bees (+Black Bird of the Gallows) by Meg Kassel

 
 

Harbingers of death, creatures with bees in their chest—this series sounded way too unique for me to pass up, what with my love of unusual paranormal creatures. I couldn’t resist joining the blog tour, courtesy of YA Bound Book Tours and Entangled Teen. I enjoyed both these books, and hopefully you all will too, so keep reading for more information, my reviews, and a giveaway, and be sure to check out the rest of the tour stops here!

 

 

About the Book

Keeper of the Bees by Meg Kassel

Keeper of the Bees
by Meg Kassel
Genre: YA Paranormal
Release Date: September 4th 2018
Entangled Teen

“Beauty and the beast like you’ve never imagined!” —New York Times bestselling author Pintip Dunn

KEEPER OF THE BEES is a tale of two teens who are both beautiful and beastly, and whose pasts are entangled in surprising and heartbreaking ways. Dresden is cursed. His chest houses a hive of bees that he can’t stop from stinging people with psychosis-inducing venom. His face is a shifting montage of all the people who have died because of those stings. And he has been this way for centuries—since he was eighteen and magic flowed through his homeland, corrupting its people.

He follows harbingers of death, so at least his curse only affects those about to die anyway. But when he arrives in a Midwest town marked for death, he encounters Essie, a seventeen-year-old girl who suffers from debilitating delusions and hallucinations. His bees want to sting her on sight. But Essie doesn’t see a monster when she looks at Dresden.

Essie is fascinated and delighted by his changing features. Risking his own life, he holds back his bees and spares her. What starts out as a simple act of mercy ends up unraveling Dresden’s solitary life and Essie’s tormented one. Their impossible romance might even be powerful enough to unravel a centuries-old curse.

 

More Info:
Goodreads | Purchase Links


My Reviews

Book Review: Black Bird of the Gallows (Black Bird of the Gallows Book 1) by Meg Kassel | reading, books, book review, paranormal romance, young adult
Title: Black Bird of the Gallows
Author: Meg Kassel
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Book Number: Book 1
Pages: 300
Rating:
 
Review:

*I received an ecopy of this book via YA Bound Book Tours. This has not influenced my review.*

This book had many of the typical YA trappings, but it also had a lot of uniqueness, and that was why I liked it.

I loved how this author took the idea of crows being harbingers of death and turned it into an actual supernatural creature. I have no idea if any author has ever done that before, but if they have, I've not come across it. It was unique and creative, and everything about the harbingers was interesting. As for the beekeepers, I don't know if that idea came from anything, but it was sure unique too. I won't go into detail about any of these things though since I think it's more fun to learn about them in the story.

But as I said, there were some less unique things as well---high school cliques, something that felt a lot like instalove, and the brooding, tortured, centuries-old supernatural dating the teenage girl. Personally I could've done without some of these, but tropes are not inherently bad, and everyone likes different things.

Plus, there were other things I enjoyed (in addition to the creativity of the supernatural elements). The writing and story had this great ominous feel. The main character was believable and likeable. The friendship she had with her two best friends and the relationship she had with her father were not the main focus but were sweet nonetheless. The DJ/music stuff was fun to read about. The disaster scenes were intense.

Overall, this was a quick but ominous and enjoyable read, and I loved how unique the supernatural element was!

 
 
Book Review: Keeper of the Bees (Black Bird of the Gallows Book 2) by Meg Kassel | reading, books, book review, paranormal romance, young adult
Title: Keeper of the Bees
Author: Meg Kassel
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Book Number: Book 2
Pages: 304
Rating:
 
Review:

*I received an ecopy of this book via YA Bound Book Tours. This has not influenced my review.*

It was actually the premise for this book that got me interested in this series. Supernatural beings with faces that constantly change to that of their many victims and chests full of bees that cause psychosis? Now that is different, and totally intriguing.

Upon reading the first book, I definitely thought the beekeepers were interesting, and getting the POV of one this time made it even better. I loved all the stuff about the bees roiling in his chest, climbing up his throat, etc. It was creepy-weird, but also cool. And it was interesting to learn more about their abilities, like bursting into a swarm of bees and the way their faces change more and their bees get more chaotic when they get emotional. It was also cool to learn more about the magic in general in this world, including some backstory about how the harbingers and beekeepers came to be. There were also some encounters with a strawman, something we didn't get to see in the first book.

Another good thing was the romance. Sometimes the "old immortal dating a teenager" thing can feel unrealistic, but, in this case, it felt believable. It was still kind of instalove-y, but that felt believable enough that it didn't bother me, especially from Dresden's side of things. And I was happy with how healthy things felt in the end.

I did feel the book was slow though, and the POVs lacked unique voices. I felt for the characters and enjoyed reading about them, but they just didn't really stand out to me. Other readers may easily connect to them more though.

The last thing I want to talk about is Essie's delusions and hallucinations. One thing bothered me a bit, which was that *SPOILER* the symptoms turned out to have a supernatural cause and were magically cured in the end. To be fair, I think it was always referred to as a curse rather than a mental illness, but I still wanted to point it out because magical cures can inadvertently reinforce the misconception that illness in real life isn't real or can also be easily fixed. *END SPOILER* That being said, it seemed like a lot was taken into consideration. The book touched on not just symptoms but also Essie's feelings, how it affected her life, and how it affected the life of her aunt who cared for her. And there was one positive moment of realization about her worth near the end that made me happy. However, I will say that I do not have experience with these symptoms, so someone who does would be better suited to discuss this aspect.

Overall, I loved the unique premise of this book, and it was cool getting to learn more about some of the different magic and supernatural beings in this world!

 
 

About the Author

Meg Kassel
Meg Kassel is an author of fantasy and speculative books for young adults. A graduate of Parson's School of Design, she’s been creating stories, whether with visuals or words, since childhood. Meg is a New Jersey native who lives in a log house in the Maine woods with her husband and daughter. As a fan of ’80s cartoons, Netflix series, and ancient mythology, she has always been fascinated and inspired by the fantastic, the creepy, and the futuristic. She is the 2016 RWA Golden Heart® winner in YA and a double 2018 RITA® finalist for her debut novel, Black Bird of the Gallows.

Connect with Meg Kassel Online:
Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon


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Blog Tour Organized By: YA Bound Book Tours

 
 
 

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22 thoughts on “Blog Tour + Book Review: Keeper of the Bees (+Black Bird of the Gallows) by Meg Kassel

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  1. suz

    Oh, bees in the chest, crawling up your throat. Yuk! Yuk! Yuk!
    I have a thing about bees. Will give this one a miss.
    Nice cover though

    1. Kristen Burns

      Lol in real life, it would be horrifying. But in the context of the book with him being a supernatural creature that the bees were part of, I thought it cool :-P

  2. Tammy @ Books, Bones & Buffy

    I just finished Keeper of the Bees and enjoyed it, but I had some different issues from yours. My review is going up tomorrow. I do see what you mean about her mental health and how readers might feel about the magical aspect, especially readers who are dealing with mental health issues themselves.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I just went and checked out your review :-) Yeah I’ve become really observant of magical cures because they’re usually problematic, for multiple reasons.

  3. Greg

    What a unique premise. The psychosis inducing magical bees is a trip. And I guess I didn’t realize Black Bird of the Gallows was part of this series- I’ve seen both books but didn’t put it together. Anyways seems like they both worked for you- and the ominous feel to the story sounds great.

    Greg recently posted: The Sunshine Blogger Award

    1. Kristen Burns

      Magical bees, definitely unique! They’re more like companions in the same world than sequels, but yep, they’re part of the same series! Yeah, I’m glad I read these :-)

  4. Sam@WLABB

    I have been seeing this one around, and I have to say, that premise is odd. But hey, at least there was cool magic and supernatural beings.

  5. Lola

    This series sure sounds unique. Too bad there was some typical YA and less unique elements as well, but you can hardly avoid all of those in a YA read. That sounds nice how the writing had an ominous feel. There aren’t that many books that have that.

    So book 2 is about a different point of view and focus than book 1? The bees thing sounds pretty creepy, but definitely unique too. That’s good to hear the romance in book 2 was believable. Your note about her curse reminds me I still have to submit a book to your disability list.

    1. Kristen Burns

      It’s definitely unique, despite the tropes. And yeah, it’s hard to avoid those. An ominous feel can be kinda fun in a weird way.

      Yeah, different main characters. I added the book to my list and am off to check out your review now, thanks for giving me the info! :-D

  6. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    Well, I’d not heard of this series and now I’m intrigued. The whole face changing/psychosis causing bees is kind of weird, not gonna lie, but in a really cool way. I do admit the immortal falling in love with a teen girl is so overdone and makes me roll my eyes every time, but it seems to work. I do think the concept for the second book sounds interesting. I did worry from the summary that the one MC would have a supernatural illness which was magically cured and it sucks that happened.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Definitely weird but in a cool way. I’ve kind of just learned to accept the immortal dating the teen girl thing at this point, even though it’s cringey lol. It does work alright sometimes. But yeah, I’m always bothered by magical cures.

  7. verushka

    Keeper of the Bees is *for sure* one of the more unique premises I’ve read — but the whole bee thing? Kinda gives me the shivers bc I don’t like bees, so the thought of them in his chest cavity …. doesn’t sit well with me? Essie is intriguing though — I am intrigued by how she reacts to him.