Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Ace; Original edition (November 30, 2010)
Book summary: 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...
My review: If you're searching for, like, want or need a quick, fun paranormal read, Christina Henry's Black Wings may be for you. There are no vampires, werewolves, or fairies here, just agents of death, angels, nephilim and ugly demons. This was a refreshing and light story. Madeline Black is a loner, living with a gargoyle/protector named Beezle. Her job as an Agent of Death is to ask the newly dead if they want to move on or wander the earth for eternity. But when her only human friend, Patrick, is attacked one night, she is thrust into a new world filled with evil monsters all desiring one thing--her death. Her new tenant, Gabriel, turns out to be an angel sent to help and protect her. Maddy must deal with a growing attraction to the hot angel, fight off powerful demons, meet her demon lord father for the first time, figure out how to control her burgeoning abilities, and still keep her appointment with the dead.
Black Wings is fast paced, features a realistic heroine and an interesting storyline. It's lightweight, lot of fun, but is not the intensive read many other current fantasy and paranormals titles offer. I enjoyed Madeline's story even though I wasn't sucked into her world like I am with other stories. Her conflict was predictable but Henry infused the story with enough characters and action to keep it moving. Some of the action scenes, in particular some when she's learning of her new ability became redundant. I did find myself wanting more about her wings, how humans can't see her, memories of her mom, and intensity when it comes to her powers. I did not feel the power she should have shown to us. The neat twist at the end involving someone Maddy had been having visions of was cool and unexpected. The ending which did not wrap up some of the ongoing problems, indicates this is a series.
Favorite excerpt: (From page 257, ARC.)
"I crawled to Gabriel and knelt beside him, lifting his head to my lap. His face was chalk white but that wasn't what scared me. When I laid my hand on his face, he was colder than stone.
"Oh no. Oh no, no, no," I moaned. I covered the hole in his stomach with my hands. I could feel the blood pumping out between my fingers. "Oh, God. Just hold on. Gabriel. Hold on."
"The outcast is dead," Antares hissed.
I looked up at the demon with furious eyes and gave him another blast of magic for good measure. He screamed and fell to the floor, writhing.
"Gabriel," I said, my tears falling on his face. "Gabriel, can you hear me? What can I do?"
He opened his eyes. There were no stars, no meteors, just the empty blackness of deep space. The heart of the universe."
Cover comment: Cool image with Maddy looking semi tough.
Book source: Dark Faerie Tales ARC tours/Book It Forward Tours