Title: Black Wings
Author: Christina Henry
Series: Madeline Black #1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: November 30, 2010
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 abilities and an impressive windspan, 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 dicectly between the light of Heaven and the fires of Hell...
Maddy is the lead character of the book. She's strong and brave but has some issues with being trapped doing the same job for the rest of her life: the job of guiding souls to the afterlife. But one day things get worse, something attacks her and her friend and suddenly her life is in chaos. It turns out that someone has been keeping secrets from her about her past, and she's not too happy about it.
It was refreshing having an agent of death as a main character. It was very interesting seeing the duties she has, but I wish more could have been shown about her job and how it works. The new powers that she develops give her a touch of vulnerability, that's added to the one she feels everytime she's near Gabriel, her tenant. He is mysterious at first but when everything is revealed he becomes a little too complacent and obedient, and even though it's explained why, I wish he could have had more of a mind of his own.
Personally, I think the best two characters of the book were Beezle, Maddy's best friend gargoyle who is funny, sweet and cares a great deal about her, and then there's J.B., Maddy's boss, very handsome but an enormous jerk. I'm sure he has hidden depths and I really want to know what they are.
The worldbuilding was very interesting. I guess it's because I love reading about that type of creature (I would be more precise, but then I would be spoiling you). The bad guys were really kick-ass and I liked that Maddy wasn't the most powerful person and that most of the time she was walking on eggshells.
This was one of my favourite urban fantasies of the year. It was dark and intense but it also had some touches of humour. The book was very addicting and the plot was fast paced. I guess the worst thing is that I have to wait a whole year until the next one!
J.B. & Maddy
He looked up at me, sparks in his eyes. "I think we're finished here."
"Not by a long shot," I said, and turned to leave.
"And next time you come in to work, be sure to dress a little more professionally," he added as I slammed the door shut.
"You're lucky I remembered to take my apron off," I muttered, and headed back to my desk to finish filling out the forms.
2. Black Night (Autumm 2011)
* I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review.