Review: Black Wings by Christina Henry

Black Wings
Black Wings
by Christina Henry
Paperback: 295 pages
Publisher: Ace
Available: November 30th 2010
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source: Publisher

Escorting souls into the afterlife leaves Maddy little time for socializing-until devilishly handsome Gabriel Angeloscurro agrees to rent the empty apartment in her building. But when demons start appearing on Maddy’s front lawn, she realizes there’s more to her new tenant than meets the eye.

This book turned out to be quite a pleasant surprise. Urban Fantasy books seem to be hit or miss with me. First person narrative is not a favorite of mine—it makes me feel like I’m living in a vacuum—and too often I don’t like the heroine. It’s hard for me to read and enjoy a book when I’m stuck in the head of someone I don’t particularly like. I’ve also noticed that quite a few heroines seem to be bitchy and argumentative as shorthand for strong. Unfortunately, bitchy does not equal strong for this reader. My point with this surplus of information is that I actually liked this heroine. She hit me just right.

Another strong point in the book’s favor is the lack of love triangle. Thank you Christina Henry for not including that. I hate them! This book has enough tension and roadblocks in the relationship without the added headache of another man.

This was an incredibly quick read. Once the action starts it just doesn’t stop. You’ll find yourself sucked in and unable to set it down until you read just one more chapter. The writing is smooth and the author did a nice job of spicing the narrative with humor. It achieved a nice balance with the action and never strayed into the slapstick.

Maddy felt very real. Her reactions were more in line with a regular person’s, so it was easy to relate to her. There was even one part where she got her ass kicked and threw up from the pain before passing out. Now, you may wonder why vomit stuck out in my mind enough for me to mention it, but it’s just one more example of her atypical UF heroine behavior. She didn’t gracefully get beat up and still manage to not break a nail. Maddy had some knock-down-drag-out fights and she didn’t always win on her own. She doesn’t come out of the fight with her pride untarnished either. Some of those people cleaned her clock! But I liked it because it was way more believable than an invincible bad ass.

I really loved Maddy’s relationship with Beezle. He was so cute and protective. He was just like a grumpy teddy bear that you wanted to cuddle! His interactions with the people who interacted with Maddy were a lot of fun too. I love when characters have that wise talking sidekick, like Bob in the Harry Dresden series.

This is a UF that actually felt like a UF instead of leaning toward a PNR. There was the beginning of a possible romantic relationship, but that was just a small focus in Maddy’s new life. The most sexual contact you’re going to get is a kiss or two. I didn’t mind though—I actually think it made the book better.

The author did a good job of hooking my interest into Gabriel though. The things that we learned about his past made him very sympathetic—especially because he doesn’t seem to recognize that his life should be any different. Also, the reality that they face with Maddy’s new political position makes me invested in seeing them work it out. I’d probably root for them on pure principle even if I didn’t like them together just to thwart a certain someone who thinks that he can rule Maddy’s life now no matter what.

I really liked the details of the world. Maddy’s job really interested me. I especially was intrigued by the politics of it. How interesting! The new political world that she has stepped into also seems like it’ll be quite fascinating to learn more about. The only real complaint I had about this book was the lack of world building. Don’t get me wrong, I understood her world and I enjoyed it, but there was just something missing for me in the development of it. Possibly the author will add depth as the series unfolds a la Kate Daniels.

The only warning I would give is for those that do not enjoy books that play with how bad Lucifer actually is. If you don’t enjoy anything but the traditional role of Hell and fallen angels you might just want to pass on this one. They weren’t presented as boy scouts or anything, but they weren’t quite as reviled as some might prefer. So be warned!

That leads to one last comment I’d like to make about the author’s style. She had a very clean writing style with the occasional flip into a more descriptive, powerful style. I also really liked the way the angels were portrayed as beautiful, but it was almost a terrifying beauty.

pg. 32: …opened her eyes to find the dark angel blocking out the sky, and all she could see was his awful beauty, haloed in starshine and moonlight, and his black burning eyes. He whispered her name, and his voice wound into her ear and down her throat and under her ribs, and she knew what he had come for.

I just loved the way it was written!

I urge all of you who are interested to go grab a copy of this book and try it out for yourself. Hopefully it works as well for you as it did for me!

Favorite Quote:

pg. 100 His dark eyes were lit by starshine, and I felt I was falling again into the heart of the universe. Not by some spell of Gabriel’s, but by my own foolish wants and needs. He had kissed me to save me–this much I understood. But my heart, my very lonely heart, ached for what I had never known before.

Series list:

  1. Madeline Black

GoodReads Reviews

Author’s Website

Purchase Links: Amazon || Book Depository


  1. says

    Nice review Catherine! I didn’t enjoy this one quite as much…I thought her relationship with JB should have been addressed more..and I wanted more explanation for some of the world building.

    But – I loved Gabriel and Beezle. And I will def be checking out book two.

  2. Catherine says

    Tori – I didn’t hear anything about this one either. If I hadn’t been offered it for review it would have skimmed under my radar. It would have been a crying shame too because I loved it.

    Stephanie – Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed the quotes. :)

    KC – I hope you enjoy it when you read it!

    Mandi – Thank you! It’s too bad you didn’t enjoy this one more. Do you have a review for it up on your site as well? Are you hoping to see a romantic relationship evolve there? Or were you just hoping they’d resolve their issues? I completely agree about the world building. It didn’t ruin the book for me, but I would have enjoyed more development of it.

  3. Catherine says

    Oops! I guess I can’t edit.

    Mandi – When I started talking about a relationship developing in the comment above I was referring to your comment about JB!