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Blackbirch: The Beginning (Blackbirch #1)

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  49 ratings  ·  39 reviews
Welcome to Blackbirch. It’s a place no one forgets. Except for Josh Taylor.

The fatal car crash took more than 17-year-old Josh’s parents. It stole his memories and returned him to his birthplace, Blackbirch, a tourist town steeped in a history of witchcraft.

Amongst friends he’s forgotten and a life he doesn’t want, Josh is haunted by nightmares so believable he swears th
Paperback, 212 pages
Published February 17th 2020 by K.M. Allan
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Average rating 4.29  · 
Rating details
 ·  49 ratings  ·  39 reviews

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Katya Dibb
Jan 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
A dark and intriguing debut novel.

Blackbirch: The Beginning is the kind of book that will make you stay up late reading it, and then invade your dreams. Honestly, I'm quite glad I've finished it so I don't have any more nightmares about shadows and fire.

At its heart, Blackbirch: The Beginning a mystery that pulled me through from page to page. Why doesn't Josh remember his past? Who is Kallie? And how is the scarred man involved? There is enough resolution at the end of this book to be
Veronica Strachan
Jan 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: YA Fantasy readers
Dark secrets, dangerous woods, murder, magick and mayhem, everything you need for an engaging read. This is a wonderful debut from a very talented writer.
Blackbirch: The Beginning has the kind of smart, sharp prose that makes it stand head and shoulders above the usual YA read. I highly recommend it. Author K.M. Allan has created a credible magickal world tied to our own, and built the very odd and spooky town of Blackbirch. I was so taken by the setting and its part as a key character in the st
Naomi Shippen
Jan 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Josh Taylor has lost his beloved parents and the life he had in the city. Fostered out to his Mum’s best friend, he must learn to adjust to life in the quaint little tourist town of Blackbirch, whose twee façade hides a sinister reality.

Struggling to recover both emotionally and physically, seventeen year old Josh has to deal with both his overwhelming grief and his newly awakened supernatural powers. Trying to make sense of his new life, he turns to his adult mentors and high school friends.

Sandy Barker
Jan 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I don't often read YA, but Blackbirch: The Beginning is the first of a new series of YA novels in the same vein as the Hunger Games and Divergent series - both which I thoroughly enjoyed.

This is a fast-paced and engaging story of how a young man comes to terms with the loss of his parents and, mysteriously, most of his memories from before their fatal accident.

He finds himself collecting allies - or are they? - as he discovers that there may be something more to his frighteningly real, yet fan
Jan 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
If you like magic(k), tangled pasts, family secrets, haunted woods and an eerie town - this book is for you! K.M. Allan has done a superb job in crafting this foreboding world, filled with mystery, spells and a cast of likeable characters.

While Josh attempts to combat a past that has taken everything away from him, he must also learn how to decode his dreams, figure out who to trust and find out how to remember what really happened.

Fast-paced and evocative- 'Blackbirch: The Beginning' will hol
A Davis
Jan 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I devoured this book! The intrigue grabs you from page one, and this air of mystery and magic carries throughout the whole story. I was captivated by the mystery surrounding Josh, and what had happened to his parents. The atmosphere throughout is like electricity, every page is exciting and tense. The characters are believable, and I especially loved Max - I laughed out loud with him, which added another layer of enjoyment to this read. So enjoyable throughout and then a cliffhanger ending that ...more
Belinda Grant
Jan 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this evocative, spooky book. Such clear and viseral settings, engaging plot and a mystery that really paid off. A great read and I wish book 2 was out already.
Michelle Ham
Apr 03, 2020 rated it really liked it

While most residents of the sleepy town of Blackbirch view its rich history of witchcraft as nothing more than a tourist attraction, others take the folklore more seriously.

When Josh loses both his parents in a tragic car accident, he has to move back to the town he grew up in, to stay with family friends. They seem to have fond memories of him but he barely recalls anything about them. All he wants to do is sleep and mope, alone in his room. But his sleep is accompanied by wildly viv
Heidi McCormack
Jul 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Loved every detail and was left wanting fo read more. Im so excited book two, The Dark Half is almost here and I can find out what happens in the cliffhanger
Emily Wrayburn
Review originally posted on A Keyboard and an Open Mind 31 January 2020

Quick disclaimer: K. M. Allan is a friend from the #6amAusWriters group on Twitter, and I received an ARC for free. I promise that neither of those facts have affected my review, though.

Witchcraft is my favourite form of magic, and the magick in Blackbirch definitely falls under that heading. From the start, Allan creates an almost other-worldly town in Blackbirch. It almost felt like the town wasn’t quite in the 21st century
Tomas Grizzly
Jan 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This is slightly out of my usual genre preferences. And I've read it in 3 days. I admit I'm not even sure what genre it is. Paranormal/thriller with fantasy elements, maybe? So, take the 5-star rating with a grain of salt because it's mostly based on how it dragged me inside but I can't comment on genre specifics.
Either way, I was easily gripped by the story. The dream sequences were quite livid and nailed their purpose, and the ending raises just the right questions to make me interested in how
Carly Mitchell
Feb 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a really cool debut from K.M. Allan. Lots of mystery, intrigue and creativity with the plot, and I'm very eager to read the sequel now after that ending! One of my favourite things about this novel was the descriptive language. I could picture places like the bookstore and the black birch forest so clearly in my mind. I really wish the bookstore was real so I could go and visit it!

Thanks so much, K.M., for providing me with an ARC. And a huge congratulations on the publication of your bo
Helen Edwards
Jan 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
A gripping ride through Josh's living nightmare. K.M Allen weaves you into the story at a visceral level - creating a sense of place and a feeling of dread, that follows you right through to the closing pages. I wanted to know more, as each layer of magick, revealed clues to the ultimate truth about Josh, his parents, and other main characters. Looking forward to book 2 and the next scary adventure! ...more
Deb Hannagan
Mar 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love the setting K.M. Allan has created in this story: a small town enveloped in haunting forest and hiding magical secrets. The sense of place was clearly and vividly established, transporting the reader there with strong images. I don't tend to read a lot of fantasy and books about magic, but I appreciated the intricate thought that has gone into creating this magic system and enjoyed the imagery around this too. The story was fast paced with great tension, twists and reveals - a page-turner ...more
P.A. Mason
Mar 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The first instalment of this new series didn’t disappoint. As we move through the story, a sinister foreshadowing unravels into a complex plot line which takes Josh back to his roots. The town of Blackbirch itself becomes a character in its own right, steeped in rich magical history that is both incredibly realistic and has a hometown vibe. I look forward to the next title.
Jan 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I wanted to savor the story, so I tried to read just one chapter a day, but alas, the story became too much to put away and I finished it early. I don't want to give anything away. This was a terrific story. The characters were terrific, the back story was also very good. I can't wait for the paid version to come out. I'll buy it and read this again. Thanks, K.M. Allan. This was one great story that entertained me for over a week. All the best with your book sales ...more
Ruth Miranda
Apr 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book will appeal to fans of YA that are looking for an eerie, disturbing feel in their reads. The story is paced to keep us at the edge of our seats, masterfully pulling us into the magical world the author created, for we cannot help but being drawn further into it, in our quest to find what lies beyond the surface at the black birch woods surrounding what seems to be a peaceful, quiet little town. Far from it, this is a place filled with secrets and mysteries, as are the characters, and n ...more
L.E. Truscott
Feb 24, 2020 rated it liked it
I follow this author’s blog and I love the confidence she conveys on her website. Her debut novel doesn’t have quite the same poise but you can see where she was trying to go and hopefully she will get there as the series continues.

I was given an ARC (Advance Reader Copy) in exchange for an honest review of this book. I read the ARC. It was okay. I wrote a review saying that. I offered the author the option of not posting it. She didn’t accept, which I thought was very gracious, but asked me to
Julia Blake
Apr 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a debut novel by a young writer I have been following for some time on social media. Having witnessed her struggles to finish the book, her epic ordeal editing it and her unpleasant brush with a small press publisher, I was invested enough to purchase a copy when it was finally released.

Technically a YA novel, it was still sophisticated and intriguing enough for this 52-year-old reader to thoroughly enjoy and relate to. Telling the tale of 17-year-old Josh’s return to his childhood homet
Lucy Mitchell
Jul 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A powerful debut!

I loved all the ingredients that went into this book; a troubled character, Josh Taylor, who is struggling after the death of his parents and his newly awakened supernatural powers, a mysterious town called Blackbirch and a sinster looking forest which hems the town.
The standout was the way K.M. Allan brought her book's setting to life. I was fascinated by this circular border of black birch trees lining the town's boundaries.
I loved the different ways K.M. Allan described th
Laurie Bell
Oct 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a terrifically scary fantasy. A mysterious dark YA thriller and I was drawn in from the first page. Poor Josh. A car accident killed his family and his memory is lost. His mother’s best friend has taken Josh in, which brings Josh back to his childhood town of Blackbirch.

Blackbirch is named after the blackbirch trees that surround the small town. It’s also a small town with a witch history making it quite the tourist attraction. But it’s not just tourists who believe in magic. Many of the
Jan 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, arc
From the very first page, this novel established a genuinely creepy and mysterious vibe that never let up, ramping to a climax that was action-packed and satisfying, and at the same time left me wanting more of these characters. Fortunately, there are several books to come in the Blackbirch series.

I think the first thing that captured me was the magic system, which is fascinating and diverse, with deep roots in the past and the place, and also in Josh's own personal history.

The second factor I r
Chantelle Atkins
Mar 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this first book in the Blackbirch series. I loved the way the intrigue and mystery kicked off on page one, which main character Josh waking in class from a disturbing and vivid dream. It takes a while to piece together why Josh has returned to Blackbirch, a small town he lived in as a child, and what has happened to his parents and indeed, what is happening to him, but it was well worth the wait. Blackbirch is a strange little town with a history of witchcraft. As the first book ...more
Jan 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: indie-good
Blackbirch: a touristy town full of dark secrets and magickal history.

Josh: a young man orphaned by tragedy, struggling with memory loss, and troubled by strange dreams that are the start of something unimaginable.

From the secrets of the eerie forest, and the mystery behind what really happened to Josh and his parents, to the supernatural undertones pulsing through the everyday setting, you'll enjoy peeling back the layers of the town of Blackbirch, character by character, one chilling reality a
Bryan Fagan
Jan 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
K.M. Allan’s debut novel is such a wonderful mystery. She was able to combine fantasy along with characters the reader could relate to. I swear I grew up with one of them.

Every chapter was important. It laid out like a puzzle piece where slowly the picture was revealed.
K.M. was able to create fun and fascinating characters as well as a fast pace story. As a writer that is hard to do but K.M. pulled it off with ease.

If you're looking for a page turner check out Blackbirch: The Beginning. It is on
S Ross
Apr 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is intriguing and intelligent YA fiction with the essential ingredients of goodies and baddies, magic(k), dreams, mysterious pasts and mysterious people. The main character Josh is very real and his reactions to the weird situations he finds himself in is utterly believable. Other characters are well realised and the story is well paced.

The book is clearly awaiting its sequel(s) but it has an emphatic climax and a wonderful teaser for the next book.

TJ Edwards
Aug 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Fun and engrossing read with a blistering pace, Blackbirch: The Beginning is filled with many twists and turns that will keep you guessing until the end! The MC is only as good as his supporting cast, a pair of young ladies that make up the yin and yang of his world, while he’s likeable enough, it’s those two who manage to keep him in and out of trouble! While this story gets fully resolved within this book, watch out for that last line! It’s a doozy!
JoAnna Lamb
A great start from this first time novelist. I follow K.M.Allen's blog and on Instagram and she produces wonderful words and images. The premise of the book is really spooky and I'm keen to get to know Josh a little more as the series progresses. ...more
Sarah Maxwell
Jul 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I love this book. I love the characters and the story. The writer takes you to Blackbirch so the streets, the woods, the book shop, all feel very real. I got the impression this book was written with passion and patience. It's well edited and an easy read. Can't wait for book 2.

Highly recommend.
Courtney  (courtney_three_tears)
Blackbirch was the debut novel by K.M. Allan. It was the story of Josh, who has to move to Blackbirch after his parents die in a car accident. The town is filled with witchcraft and Josh is trying to figure out how he is connected to this town and the witchcraft.

I was pleasantly surprised about how much I liked this book. I don't usually get as into YA fiction as quickly as I did with this story. All of the characters were well developed, and the entire plot seemed to flow smoothly and cohesivel
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K.M. Allan is an identical twin, but not the evil one. She started her career penning beauty articles for a hairstyling website and now powers herself with chocolate and green tea while she writes novels and blogs about writing.

When she’s not creating YA stories full of hidden secrets, nightmares, and powerful magic, she likes to read, binge-watch too much TV, spend time with family, and take more

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