Black Wings by Christina Henry (Madeline Black #1)
November 30, 2010
Paperback, 295 Pages
Reviewed by Mandi
Maddy inherited her career as an Agent from her mother. She gets her weekly list of people who are going to die, and meets their souls to hopefully usher them to the Door. Behind this Door, Maddy has no idea what lurks. But she knows her boss J.B gets really angry with extra paperwork, and if the souls choose not to enter the Door and become ghosts, there is a lot of extra paperwork. Maddy is a very petite, cute girl, so sometimes it is hard to look imposing when trying to convince the souls the Door is the right option. If the souls are asked three times to go the Door and they refuse, they become a ghost to haunt the world forever. To get to all the locations Maddy needs to go, she has wings that sprout out of her back. Flying is much quicker than taking the bus, and most mortals can’t see her when she flies.
Due to Maddy’s crazy work schedule, she has not had a lot of time to date. She does have her trusty gargoyle Beezle that lives with her and keeps her company. When the very handsome Gabriel wants to rent the downstairs apartment from Maddy, she is happy to have a new tenant and rent money. But Gabriel isn’t any ordinary tenant.
When her good friend and co-worker is killed by a demon, the same one that killed her mother, Maddy wants revenge. She soon discovers the past is going to play a very important part in her future.
Black Wings is the debut book by author Christina Henry. We dive into an urban fantasy world filled with demons, nephilim, Lucifer and all sorts of evil bad dudes. I wanted to like Maddy as a heroine. She is very independent and sassy and I think I would have liked her if more things would have been explained. Or if we got past the surface and really learned more about her. When her good friend dies, it feels like she doesn’t even mourn. A few chapters after his death she has a few tears, but even then, the grief is totally missing from her character. Many things are not explained about her either – for example her wings. She tells us, “I don’t really understand where they go – I just know that they unfurl when I need them…” What kind of explanation is that? Later, she has all this unexplained magic. While there is an eventual explanation, what bothered me is that her new powers always work when needed, and always only affect the bad guys. While the intensity of her power is out of control, otherwise, it seems to fall too easily into place.
The other part lacking in this book is her relationship with her boss, J.B. Although cranky and all around hard to get along with, J.B. is also god-like in his appearance. I really think an opportunity is missed with snarky banter and wit between these two characters. Further, at the end of the book, a love triangle is kind of thrown at us, but I wish more sexual tension would have been built up during the book to make the love triangle believable.
There are aspects I like. Maddy is a heroine who comes to learn of her past and it is nicely woven into the story. Her relationship with Beezle, her gargoyle is very cute. We also get a lot of Lucifer and demon mythology which I find fun to read about. Gabriel, her neighbor and eventual love interest is a character that intrigues me. His history and conflict with starting a relationship with Maddy is well done. I love his character and think there is lots to explore with him and Maddy in the future.
Black Wings reads well, and I think this world has potential. I just think more explanations and more character development would have really benefitted this story.
This Series Includes
Black Night – Fall 2011