Aug 28, 2018

EARLY Review--Keeper of the Bees by Meg Kassel

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 received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest and voluntary review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Meg Kassel returns to her previously visited world but with new characters in Keeper of the Bees. This time, we actually follow the story of one of the beekeepers; the beings with “magic” bees in their bodies that create untold chaos in society. Our beekeeper, Dresden is an eighteen year old boy who’s been a beekeeper for so long he barely remembers his human life and then he meets Essie who sparks something in him that he didn’t realize he ever needed or wanted.

Essie isn’t like other girls, in fact she’s cursed. Her family line has BEEN cursed with insanity it seems. Essie suffers from delusions and hallucinations. She rarely knows what’s real and not real and then she meets Dresden who calms the chaos that’s always brewing inside her. The two are an unlikely pair but that’s usually the way of things!

Dresden has come to a town that’s marked for death. He feels drawn to it and knows that something bad will happen soon. So he does what he has no control over and infects the already darkened people with a little extra boost of crazy. For a spin, he’s friends with a harbinger who follows him on his travels since harbingers live off of the death and chaos that usually follows the beekeepers. They have a working relationship of sorts, they aren’t overly friendly, but they aren’t enemies either. Dresden has basically always kept everyone at a distance until Essie.

But the developing relationship between Dresden and Essie is only part of the story here. There’s also a murderer on the loose in town and he seems to have targeted Essie’s family and people connected to her family. What’s worse is that Essie was the one to find the first body and while she’s not necessarily a suspect, she’s still someone the police don’t want her leaving town since her credibility isn’t so great on the account of her illness.

This one was definitely an interesting read since our heroine can be seen as an unreliable narrator. Since she struggles to decipher fiction from reality at times, it does make you wonder what she’s seeing at certain points and whether the threats are real or not. And surprisingly, some turned out to be very real and far closer to the truth than I could have imagined.

There were some darker themes attached to this story, I don’t want to say what they are since they can lead to spoilers, but I was pretty shocked by their intensity. While nothing extreme ever really happens to any of the characters, there’s definitely some close calls and the threat of said dark themes and acts are still there. It made of a chilling read!

I was also a bit tickled that this took place in Missouri, Concordia, Missouri to be exact which is an hour or so away from St. Louis! While I can’t say I’ve ever been there, it was still pretty cool to be close to my city! And it was in the general area of my neck of the woods, so when things like weather are mentioned, I totally knew what was going on! Lol! Yeah, I just mentioned the weather!

I thought the romance developing between Dresden and Essie was very sweet. Yet again I felt like it was that cross between being sort of instant and yet slow building. It’s more like the feelings for love were rather instant, yet the true feelings took time to develop over the course of the book. Both of these characters are somewhat broken and fragile. I rather like that their romance took time to develop.

The mysteries that were involved in this one were pretty spectacular! Though I felt like I sort of knew one was about to be revealed and all, the second one was pretty shocking as I really had no clue what was going on in that area! Confusing, yes? Lol. Needless to say I enjoyed the shocking twists that came about in the story!

Keeper of the Bees was an intriguing and pretty entertaining read! While I didn’t love it entirely, I did enjoy it quite a bit! I think I was bogged down by the pacing again as at times it felt like I was moving in circles instead of moving forward when it came to certain things, but that was sort of a come and go feeling. It was definitely a worthwhile read and I’ll be curious to see if Meg sticks with this world for a while more!

Overall Rating 4/5 stars

Keeper of the Bees releases September 4, 2018



  1. I've been curious about this series. Thanks for sharing your review. Going to add it to my list now.

  2. I have been curious about this one too and I appreciate you sharing your honest thoughts. Helps make the decision whether to read it or not much easier.
    sherry @ fundinmental


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