Black Night (Black Wings Series #2)

Black Night (Black Wings Series #2)

4.5 73
by Christina Henry
     
 

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Madeline Black is an Agent of death, meaning she escorts the souls of people who have died to the afterlife. Of course, not everyone is happy to see her...

If obstinate dead people were all that Maddy had to worry about, life would be much easier. But the best-laid plans of Agents and fallen angels often go awry. Deaths are occurring contrary to the

Overview

Madeline Black is an Agent of death, meaning she escorts the souls of people who have died to the afterlife. Of course, not everyone is happy to see her...

If obstinate dead people were all that Maddy had to worry about, life would be much easier. But the best-laid plans of Agents and fallen angels often go awry. Deaths are occurring contrary to the natural order, Maddy's being stalked by foes inside and outside of her family, and her two loves-her bodyguard, Gabriel, and her doughnut-loving gargoyle, Beezle-have disappeared. But because Maddy is Lucifer's granddaughter, things are expected of her, things like delicate diplomatic missions to other realms.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Henry stalls out in the urban fantasy sequel to 2010's Black Wings. Maddy Black, an agent of death, is adjusting to having a heartstone rather than a heart, and her boss, JB, seems to have mellowed a little. Otherwise, life goes on as it has—she's broke, her (unpaid) job is frustrating, and she has a knack for discovering gruesome dismemberments. This time the victim's a werewolf whose murder is at first glance merely troubling. The subsequent disappearance of Gabriel, Maddy's bodyguard, and Beezle, her gargoyle companion, may be connected to the killing, the people trying to assassinate Maddy, or both. In the middle of everything, Lucifer commands Maddy to be his ambassador to the faerie court, the previous ambassador having been beheaded. The pace is breathless, but those who hoped for development in the characters or Henry's imaginative world will be disappointed. (Aug.)
Library Journal
As Lucifer's granddaughter, Madeline Black is an agent of Death, escorting souls to the afterlife. Caught between warring lovers and charged with a mission to Faerie, Maddy walks a dangerous tightrope. This sequel to Black Wings will attract fans of J.R. Ward's "Fallen Angels" series and Thomas Sniegoski's "Remy Chandler" series.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781937007065
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
07/26/2011
Series:
Black Wings Series , #2
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
453,557
Product dimensions:
4.20(w) x 6.70(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

I stood in the alley between Damen and Wolcott in the recently trendy neighborhood of Wicker Park. There was a parking lot filled with cars directly across the alley from my position. It was bordered on the other three sides by four-story apartment buildings. Behind the wall that I leaned on, the clubs, bars and restaurants of Division Street did a brisk trade in liquor and lust for the upscale singles who had purchased all the new condos in the area. The cold November night was no deterrent to business. After all, if you lived in Chicago, then you understood that there are only two seasons—winter and construction. If you let a little cold slow you down, then you should probably move somewhere else.

I shifted a little, flexing my toes inside my boots in a vain effort to keep them warm. When I had died and been reborn a month ago, my human heart had been replaced by an angel's heartstone. As a result, I was usually a little warmer than ordinary human beings, since angels' hearts are made of the sun. But a half angel's body is still no match for the Windy City.

My gargoyle, Beezle, poked his head out of the lapel of my wool peacoat. He's the color of stone, about the size of an overweight guinea pig and he's got little wings, the better to flap around my head and annoy me with.

Before we had left the house he had trimmed a child-sized scarf for his own use. He had a small strip of rainbow-colored wool wrapped around each horn and a longer piece wound several times around his lower face. The edge of his beak poked through the material. He mumbled something through the cloth and I glared at him.

"I can't understand you when your mouth is buried like that," I said.

Beezle narrowed his cat eyes at me and commenced unwinding his muffler. He huffed melodramatically before speaking. "I said, have you got anything to eat?"

"How can you possibly be hungry? You ate a whole bowl of popcorn before we left the house."

"But I am. And I'm cold. And I want a doughnut," he whined.

"Stop wriggling. We're supposed to be undercover here. In point of fact, you're not supposed to be here at all. You're supposed to be at home, being a home guardian, like all the other gargoyles."

"Do you think I would trust your life to him?" Beezle snapped.

"He can hear you, gargoyle," Gabriel said dryly.

My tenant and bodyguard, Gabriel, had been so quiet I'd almost forgotten he was there. Almost. He's a little difficult to overlook—six foot plus, dark hair, dark eyes, the face of an angel. I mean that literally. Gabriel was half-angel.

Have I mentioned that I am in love with him and he with me, and that our love is doomed, in a really melodramatic we-will-both-be-killed-if-we-ever-act-on-our-feelings sort of way?

I'm a half angel, too. My father is Azazel, a fallen angel and a chief of the Grigori, a right-hand man of Lucifer himself. I'd discovered this tidbit only recently, having spent most of my life believing my father to be an ordinary deadbeat (or possibly dead) human dad.

Beezle had been a little unreasonable about my safety ever since I'd had my human heart torn out by a nephilim—long story—and now refused to let me leave the house without him. You'd think the fact that I'd managed to come back from the dead would count in my favor.

Azazel's orders stated that Gabriel was not supposed to leave my side when I was out of the house. I had spent the last month with a beautiful bodyguard at my elbow and an overweight gargoyle hanging off me like a baby orangutan. It was making my job a little difficult—very difficult, in fact. It's not easy being unobtrusive with those two around.

When I'm not Azazel's daughter and Beezle's doughnut enabler, I'm an Agent of death. It's not as glamorous as it sounds. Every week I get a list of names, places and times. I go to the appointed place at the appointed time, pick up the soul and bring it to the Door. At the Door the soul chooses whether to pass on to whatever is behind the Door (don't ask me, I'm not allowed to know) or to stay and haunt the earth forever.

Most of the time my job is as straightforward as it sounds. I'm kind of like a UPS delivery guy. I don't know what's in the boxes and I don't care. It's just my job to deliver them on time and to the correct location. I also have to file paperwork—lots and lots of paperwork, and the forms are annoying and redundant. Being an Agent of Death isn't such a great gig, really, but it's an inherited job (I got mine when my mom died) and one that doesn't go away until you take the trip to the Door yourself.

So there I was, a week before Thanksgiving, shivering in thirty-degree weather and thinking longingly of my crocheted blankets and a cup of hot chocolate, waiting to pick up a soul who was scheduled to die at 1:27 A.M. somewhere in this alley.

Beezle carefully rewrapped his scarf around his chubby neck. It draped over his wings in the back.

"I hope that this isn't one of those disgusting alley murders," he said conversationally. "The last one put me off my feed."

"Is that even possible?" Gabriel murmured for my ears only, and I smiled. Then I straightened a little, pushing away from the wall. Gabriel came to attention beside me. "What is it?"

"I don't think you have to worry about hacked-up body parts this time, Beezle," I said.

"Why not?"

"Because I can see the vampire." I nodded at the innocuous-looking man making his way across the parking lot.

He looked like any moderately successful single guy out on a Saturday night. His hair was blond and stylishly cut, his clothes were good without being flashy, and his face was sort of ordinary-handsome. You wouldn't know he was a vampire, which is good for their kind. The most successful hunters are the ones with the best camouflage.

He crossed out of the lot and into the alley, his footsteps slowing as he approached us. We were tucked unobtrusively in a little four-foot depression in the building, one of those architectural oddities that seem to have no explanation. The building went straight across and then it dipped in, like someone had planned to put a closet there, and then resumed its normal course. It was just enough to keep us from being seen by anyone who passed by.

The vampire stopped dead, a few feet away. I saw his nostrils flare.

"I know you're there, Agent," he said.

I stepped out of the depression and into the light of the one yellow streetlamp that hung over the parking lot. Gabriel followed and stood behind my shoulder. I said nothing. The vampire's eyes widened a little when he saw Gabriel.

He smirked. "You must be the famous Madeline Black, the only Agent with a guard dog."

If the vampire thought he could make a little sport for himself by getting a rise out of Gabriel, he had another think coming. Gabriel is the type that burns slow—so slow, I wonder sometimes if he's got a pulse.

"What is your business, vampire?" I asked.

"If you are here, then you know my business," he said. He raised an eyebrow at me. "You will not interfere?"

"You know I am bound against it," I said, and there was a little shivering of magic as I said it, as if the source of my power was affirming the truth of that statement.

That was one of the suck things about being an Agent. I saw a lot of death, and most of those deaths would break my heart if I let them. Stupid accidents, horrific murders, deaths of children and young mothers and college kids before their time. But it was not for me to judge which lives should be saved. If their name was on my list, then their death was fated and I was bound not to interfere. I'd learned early on to adopt a circle-of-life attitude for my own sanity. It didn't mean that I liked it.

The vampire sidled a little closer to me, and I could almost feel Gabriel's hackles rise. He loves me, he can't have me, but he does not like other men coming near me. If Gabriel had his way, there would be a thirty-six-inch man-free radius around me at all times.

"I have heard stories of your beauty," the vampire purred. His nostrils flared again. "I see that they are not exaggerated."

I crossed my arms. My beauty is so not legendary. "Do I look like I just fell off the turnip truck? Get lost. I'm not the helpless victim you're looking for."

I saw a glint of fang as he stepped closer. He seemed hypnotized by some scent. "But the blood of angels… I have always wanted… and you are Lucifer's own…"

I opened my palm in front of me, extended my will, and a little ball of blue flame about the size of a baseball hovered above my hand. "I understand that fire is unpleasant for vampires."

The vampire hissed and backed away several feet. He shook his head, seeming to come out of a trance. For a moment I thought he would try again, but then he appeared to think better of it.

"Perhaps you are right," he said, regaining his composure. "There must be easy prey awaiting me if you are here."

I closed my fist and the ball of nightfire disappeared, leaving behind a lingering trace of sulfur. I flicked my fingers at the vampire. "Move along, then."

He gave me a sarcastic bow and continued past us. Gabriel stared stonily at the vampire's back as he went by. A few feet past us, the vampire stopped. I couldn't see his face but I was sure he was scenting the air. I felt the thrum of magic that told me a soul was approaching that was marked for death. A moment later a too-skinny blonde came tottering into the alley on four-inch heels.

I sighed and slipped back into the shadows. I didn't need to see what happened next. I just had to be there to pick up the pieces, like always.

Meet the Author

Christina Henry is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago and enjoys running long distances, reading anything she can get her hands on and watching movies with subtitles in her spare time. She lives in Chicago with her husband and son.

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Black Night 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 71 reviews.
NookFever More than 1 year ago
I noticed that there are a lot of mixed reviews for both Black Wings and Black Night. I rated the first installment four stars, and I think this installment was equally as good, if not better, and I finished reading it in a couple of days. I think readers are torn due to the quirky personality of the heroine, and some of the off-beat comments she makes. So, either you like her or you don't. I, on one hand, find her interactions with other characters amusing, and I did find myself laughing every once in a while at her internal monologue and thoughts. On the other hand, I did not like the main character of Ilona Andrews' Kate Daniels series. I found her "quirky" personality annoying, and therefore did not like the book. I think it depends on your sense of humor. In this second installment, Madeline Black visits the Faerie Court, encounters a few werewolves and other demonic creatures. The main focus, however, still revolves around fallen angels and their hierarchy. One thing that annoyed me were the many fight scenes she encounters. It seemed rather repetitive, and between this installment and the first, she gets saved a lot by Gabriel's and Nathaniel's healing powers. There is some character development though, and the heroine becomes more independent. Black Wings is light on the Madeline/Gabriel interaction this time around, but you are introduced to a handful of other characters. Highly recommend!
kitkat3ny More than 1 year ago
I strongly suggest you read the previous book in the series (Black Wings) prior to reading this installment. What a fabulous read! If I thought I adored the first book, I fell completely head-over-heels with this sequel. The heroine is strong, smart and powerful in her own right. I love that she is Lucifer's granddaughter. The author really put a new and fresh spin on a genre going stale. There were sensitive issues to deal with in this installment and they were done admirably and delicately. The story was one wild ride after another that I never wanted this book to end. I highly recommend his book to fellow dark urban fantasy readers and can't wait for the next book Black Howl due out 2/28/2012.
Karkina14 More than 1 year ago
Well developed characters, great dialogue, and a breathtaking pace. This book did not disappoint. Main character continues to kick butt despite herself and uses that fantastic brain of hers to get herself out of some touchy situations. Can't wait till book 3!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
LOVE THIS SERIES!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was fun
michellemerine More than 1 year ago
I finished this book last night and I absolutely love this series!! I am onto number 3 now and can't wait for more to come!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed reading about Maddy and her self discovery.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Did not expect to like this book as much as i did. If you like the stormwalker or mercedes series these books are gor you.
Pinkyy More than 1 year ago
If you liked the "Black Wings" you will love "Black Night". This story advances the over all arch of the series and helps to expand the noteable characters stories. This one throws lots of intrigue at you. Pleanty of plot twists to keep guessing.
mystresstigrr More than 1 year ago
Great book! Love the series!
harstan More than 1 year ago
Agent of Death, Madeline Black guides souls as the deceased pass from one existence to the next. Maddy is notified where and when to provide her service, but recently Chicago has been hit with unscheduled gruesome homicides of werewolves that are outside of the normal celestial pact. Maddy, her friend Beezle the donut eating gargoyle and her daddy assigned bodyguard Gabriel investigate. They learn that the son of a dead nephilim seeks revenge against the Agent of death who killed his parent. As Maddy hunts this Samiel, her two companions vanish. Complicating life for Maddy in her search for her friends is her paternal grandfather who demands she negotiate a new deal for his clan with the fae. The last Fallen Angel sent by Lucifer to the Fairy Court literally lost his head. The second Agent of Death urban fantasy (see Black Wings) is a fabulous investigative thriller; as the heroine finds out that sometimes you get what you wish for now that she knows her dad is neither dead nor a deadbeat. The fulfillment has second and third order effects with the rise of new enemies as Lucifer's foes use original sin against her. Filled with action fans will enjoy touring Chicago as Christina Henry provides a dark joyride with the donut munching Beezle providing jocularity before he vanishes. Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read the first book and it was wonderful. of course I love vampire novels so that was what caught my attention but after the first couple pages I could not put the book down. I read the whole first book in a matter of hours. Can not wait until this one is released... waiting impatiently :)
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Upstart_Crow More than 1 year ago
Fantastic Read!  This series definitely gets better with each new addition. It is an easy read but completely enjoyable. I particularly enjoy the unexpected plot twists.
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SmalltownSR More than 1 year ago
Wonderful story, non stop action.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kill shade at shade flame
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bravewarrior More than 1 year ago
Paperback/Fantasy: Book Two of the Black Wings series. So far, I am enjoying this series. I like our heroine Maddy and her gargoyle/sidekick, Beezle. Maddy is now dealing with bodyguard Gabriel (the man she wants) and her intended Nathaniel (the man she can wants to punch in the face). On orders of her grandfather, she agrees to be an envoy in the fairy court during negotiations. I liked this book because it did not go the way I thought it would. There are some big changes in this book and it is darker than the last book. I ready to read the next installment.
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