I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Keeper of the Bees by Meg Kassel
Release date: September 4th, 2018
Publisher: Entangled: Teen
Genre: Young adult, fantasy
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.
I just finished reading Black Bird of the Gallows (a book that I thoroughly enjoyed) and was super excited to pick this novel up. Now, Keeper of the Bees is technically a companion novel to Meg Kassel’s debut, but can be read as a standalone. So, if you haven’t read Black Bird of the Gallows (which you really should) don’t worry. You can still completely enjoy everything about this book. 🙂
Before I start my review, I just want to say that originally I turned my nose up at Black Bird of the Gallows. I unfairly dismissed it as being too Twilight sounding and turned down a chance to review it when it was released last year. When I received the blog tour sign-up for Keeper of the Bees I was really excited because of the cover and synopsis. Then I made the connection and decided to give it a chance. I’m just really, really glad that I did. I’ve totally been missing out! Anyway…time for the actual review.
Things I Liked:
- The book was very easy to read through and I was completely engaged from the first page until the very end. It really didn’t feel like I read 400 pages. I’ve lately been struggling with books longer than 300 pages. Why? I have no idea but I’ve been losing interest midway through and with this story that didn’t happen. I actually read it within a couple of day it was that good!
- The story is told through multiple points of view. Sometimes this can get a bit confusing because the characters tend to sound too similar. However, I really enjoyed reading the two POVs. Both were totally unique and I never found myself wanting to skip over a certain chapter because it revolved around a particular character.
- Adding on to the point above, I loved the two main characters! Essie was absolutely wonderful. Throughout the story she suffered from hallucinations and I liked how the author invited the reader into her head during these periods where she wasn’t fully in control. I felt like I really got to know Essie and sympathize with her struggles. Dresden was very interesting to read about because of his “curse”. My heart really hurt for him.
- I liked the Beauty and the Beast vibes that the story gives off. The lesson or main idea is that we all have our issues or problems, things that we struggle with. We shouldn’t judge others based on what we initially see because underneath there is great beauty. The romance between Essie and Dresden really went up against the odds and I cheered them on the entire time. You can’t help but rally behind them and become invested in their fight to be together and defeat their own personal demons.
- If you have read Black Bird of the Gallows, then you already know a lot about the harbingers of death. This book immerses the reader into the world of the beekeepers and further adds to the mythology previously introduced. I liked getting to see the other side of things and to further understand how things work in Kassel’s super unique world.
Things I Disliked:
- The romance was a bit too insta-love for me. Things moved really fast! I kind of rolled my eyes a few times, but at least there weren’t any love triangles or squares. That would have been too much for me! I prefer slow burning romances that take time to develop.
So, if you were a fan of Black Bird of the Gallows or like paranormal romances than this book is totally for you! It’s very heartwarming, easy to read and very additive. I’m eagerly looking forward to Kassel’s next release.
About the Author
Meg Kassel is an author of paranormal and speculative books for young adults. A New Jersey native, Meg graduated from Parson’s School of Design and worked as a graphic designer before embracing her true passion, writing. She now lives in a log house in the Maine woods with her family, and is busy at work on her next novel. A fan of ’80s cartoons, original Netflix series, daydreaming, and ancient mythology, Meg has always been fascinated and inspired by the fantastic, the creepy, and the futuristic. When she’s not writing, Meg is reading, hanging out with her husband and daughter, hiding her peanut butter cups, or walking her rescue mutt, Luna. She is a two-time finalist and the 2016 YA winner of the RWA Golden Heart© contest. Her debut novel, Black Bird of the Gallows, was released in 2017.
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Don’t forget to check out the rest of today’s stops organized by YA Bound Book Tours.
- OMG.Kacie.Reads – Review
- The Crafty Engineer’s Bookshelf – Review
- Dana’s YA Bookpile – Review
- Bumbles and Fairy-Tales – Promo Post
See the rest of stops on the Keeper of the Bees blog tour here.