Review: Black Wings

Christina Henry
Urban Fantasy
295 pages
Madeline Black #1
Chapter 1

As an Agent of Death, Madeline Black is responsible for escorting the souls of the dearly departed to the afterlife. It's a 24/7 job with a lousy benefits package.

Maddy's position may come with magical powers and an impressive wingspan, but it doesn't pay the bills. And then there are her infuriating boss, tenant woes, and a cranky, popcorn-loving gargoyle to contend with.

Things start looking up, though, when tall, dark, and handsome Gabriel Angeloscuro agrees to rent the empty apartment in Maddy's building. It's probably just a coincidence that as soon as he moves in demons appear on the front lawn. But when an unholy monster is unleashed upon the streets of Chicago, Maddy discovers powers she never knew she possessed. Powers linked to a family legacy of tarnished halos.

Powers that place her directly between the light of Heaven and the fires of Hell...

The book is all about Madeline Black, who is a grim reaper {one of thousands on earth} and her discovery of who she really is.  The story is quick and is charged the entire time; you'll be done before you know it. The story-line is fueled by constant mini-battles, and sorting through each one's aftermath.  In a lot of ways the story was infuriating but oddly it was really intriguing. There were things that I wanted to happen that didn't, and at one point, I realized I was kind of desperate for Maddy to "act" instead of only "react" but she doesn't really. Funny thing though, you don't care because you're hooked and you're flying through the pages.  I'm definitely interested to see what happens next for Maddy.

Madeline was a character that was hard to nail down; even harder for me to understand my feelings towards. On the one hand, she's very interesting with all her powers, and her gargoyle protector Beezle.  She's lived alone since her mother died when she was 13, and she even has an ass-hat of a boss. Makes for a pretty well-rounded life. But on the other hand, there are parts of her that left me scratching my head wondering, "Ok.  Is that who she is?"  For example, she has ONE friend in this life {who isn't made of stone} and when something happens to him she doesn't seem to let any of that effect her, it definitely didn't slow her down, but it didn't really fuel her character either.  As the answers of her past slowly start to unravel she does eventually have the nervous brake down she deserves, and it did make me think "well maybe she just has too much going on to process, maybe it just hasn't hit her yet" but it didn't really work.  But strangely again, it didn't ruin the story or keep me from wanting to know more ... so there ya go.  

There is a love interest on the horizon that has me more intrigued than anything else, at this point it's hard to say what I want to happen, and I'm surprised that I'm nabbed by the "forbidden love" angle yet again.  But I found that by the end of the book that it was that part of the story that has me most excited for book 2.  Forbidden love does it to me every. time. 

** I read somewhere that the love interest was her half-brother, that's NOT the case**

Bottom Line: Reading a book in one sitting it always a good sign. I definitely have expectations for the next book, but this was a good first look into Maddy's world.

3.5 stars


  1. This is another book that I've seen as a hit or miss with people. I love that you couldn't put it down and a 3.5 is respectable. I also am a sucker for Forbidden Love too LOL I do like my heroines to act instead of react, but I"ll give it a go!

  2. I've seen so many mixed reviews for this one. If you liked it that means I probably will. :) I've been meaning to read this for ages now.

  3. Pam: It's def worth a "go"!

    C: Me too, and I hate that I'm mixed too. It's so fast though you'll fly through it. Keep me posted

  4. It was a hit with me for the most part. This is part of my review I also gave it 3.5 stars

    "It is a clever twist on the angel mythology. This story straddles the fence between being a good book and a great one. I really like the characters (especially Beezle, the gargoyle) and I think as the author becomes more comfortable with them they will truly shine. This has all the things I love in a UF/PNR, interesting world building (clever!), humor and smexy men. Madeline has her fair share of eligible men vying for her attention;) I am a dialogue loving reader and Henry delivered often"...

  5. Thanks for this review Jess. I just picked up a copy over the weekend. Looking forward to reading about Maddy.

  6. Glad you liked this one! I really enjoyed it!

    Kristin@ My Bookish Ways

  7. Sharon: I'm the exact same... good but not quite great :)

    Jen: I'll be interested to see what you think. Keep me posted!

  8. Kristin: I have high hopes for the next one

  9. Hey you!

    This is one book I really want to get! And now you have read it. Hmmm, you keep doing this to me. lol. Thanks for the review!

  10. How funny, I just read this book this weekend. Unfortunately, for me it was more miss than hit. The main reason I had trouble with it was that I was really excited about the premise of her being a reaper and guiding souls, but instead, the book morphed into a completely different trope which is one of my least favorites. I'm not going to go into that since it's spoilerish, but since you've read it, you know what I mean. I thought that there were plot holes and I was also very confused about her lack of response to what happened to her friend. All in all, I graded it a C and since it's got a trope I don't like, I won't go out of my way to get the next one.

  11. Melissa: Hi there! Aww, sorry :(

    JenM: I can totally see where you're coming from, and your thoughts are my thoughts.
    BTW, have you read 'First Grave on the Right' yet? Another reaper story. *whispers* That's a 5er!

  12. First Grave on the Right is at the top of my wishlist. Unfortunately, the price is above my budget at the moment LOL. I'm waiting for the paperback (or for the ebook price to come down). I have high hopes for that one.

    For some reason, I love reaper type stories, necromancers, or anything where the protagonist tries to help ghosts achieve their final rest or whatever, but those stories aren't that common. I'm finding some Indie published books that have that theme though.

  13. JenM: Dang I saw one come up on Goodreads swap yesterday! I probably shouldn't have told you that. Do you watch the swap? All you pay is postage, it's awesome! And Amazon was like $10 on kindle. I know it's not 7.99 but since this is a new release you should splurge. ESP since this is your genre of choice, you wont be sorry.

    Keep me posted!

  14. Half brother? Ew! Why would that be the rumor?! LOL Very nice review Jess!

  15. Aargh, I'm already trying hard to resist the lure of River Marked since the ebook is currently $13. First Grave is $11 and I swore that just on principle I wouldn't buy any ebooks greater than $10. However, I have a feeling my willpower is going to break down in regards to both of those books. You are not helping here LOL.

  16. Fantastic review Jess! When you said that you read it in one sitting I was expecting to see that it was a novella but with almost 300 pages in the book I know that is not the case. I find it entertaining that even when you were starting to get a bit frustrated with the book that you couldn't put it down and in the end you can't wait to read the next book in the series. I think that means that I need to check this book out! :-)