Black Wings (Black Wings Series #1)

Black Wings (Black Wings Series #1)

by Christina Henry

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780441019632
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/30/2010
Series: Black Wings Series , #1
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 275,823
Product dimensions: 4.20(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About 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.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

I hate it when a soul goes all stubborn on me. It doesn't happen as often as you'd think. Most people understand that they're dead and want to move on. Maybe it's because they think heaven is waiting for them. Maybe it's because they believe they'll be reincarnated as the Princess of Monaco—does anybody want to be reincarnated as the Princess of Monaco anymore? Maybe it's because they're just tired of this world. When I show up to escort them to the Door, they know why I'm there and they're ready to go. But sometimes, like today, a soul doesn't want to leave its earthly body.

Mrs. Luccardi didn't want to leave her cats—all fifteen of them. People get very attached to their pets. In fact, I've seen a fair number of people more attached to their pets than to their children. I understand that they feel like their little four-legged buddy is part of the family. What I have to make them understand is that they are dead, and can no longer feed, groom, or cuddle little Muffy, Flopsy, or Fido. It can be a delicate job, convincing the recently deceased of their new status.

"Mrs. Luccardi, you're dead," I said. "You can't take care of your cats anymore. Someone else will have to do that now."

I fought the urge to cover my nose as I said this. Mrs. Luccardi was recently deceased and therefore immune to the reek of cat piss that permeated her doily-covered living room, but I was very much alive and getting tired of breathing through my mouth.

Aside from my burning need to breathe air unscented by eau de cat urine, I had two other pressing reasons for getting Mrs. Luccardi out of there. First, I had a potential tenant coming to look at the empty apartment in my building in twenty minutes, and I didn't want to piss off a possible source of income by showing up late. Second, some of Mrs. Luccardi's precious darlings were contemplating her cooling body with "buffet" in their eyes. I did not want Mrs. Luccardi to see her babies gnawing through her flowered housedress to flesh and bone. That kind of thing tends to traumatize the newly dead and prevents an Agent from an efficient escort to the Door.

If the soul doesn't enter the Door, then it becomes a ghost. Agents don't like ghosts. They're untidy. The presence of a ghost means you can't close your list, and if you can't close your list, you have to file extra paperwork to explain why you can't, and I absolutely hate doing any paperwork at all, period. So I really wanted Mrs. Luccardi to leave her carnivorous little fuzzballs and come with me, pronto.

I hadn't even untethered her soul yet. Her incorporeal self floated above the body on the plastic-covered sofa, bound by a thin strand of ectoplasm. I was supposed to cut this strand with magic or my silver knife and release the soul. The knife, along with my Agent status, had been passed to me by my mother when she died.

In life and death, Mrs. Luccardi was a small, thin woman with a head of white curls—the kind of old lady my mother used to call a "Q-tip." She glared at me through red plastic spectacles.

"I don't care if I'm dead, missy. I'm not leaving my babies," she snapped. "Besides, look at you. I'm supposed to believe you're an Agent of death? You're covered in flour."

"I was in the middle of making a pear tart dotted with gorgonzola. You're an unscheduled call. Besides," I said, pointing to my back, "don't you think the wings are a clue?"

She continued to eye me with suspicion. Okay, so a ten-foot wingspan of black feathers probably looked a little incongruous with my "Kiss Me, I'm Irish" apron and my fuzzy blue house slippers. Patrick was always telling me I would have less trouble if I presented a more imposing image, if I looked a little more Reaper-like. I always tell him that it's pretty near impossible to be imposing when you're only five feet tall and generally described by others as "cute as a button."

Of course, if Patrick had shown up for his scheduled escort of Mrs. Luccardi, I wouldn't be here at all. He'd called me fifteen minutes ago, said he had a "personal emergency" (read: a date with a hot guy), and begged me to take this pickup for him. I'd agreed because I owed Patrick a favor or two, but I couldn't be held responsible for my appearance.

"Listen, Mrs. Luccardi," I said through gritted teeth. "You're going to a better place. I'll make sure that someone comes to take care of your…; babies."

"Oh, no. Harold, my son, will come and have them all taken to shelters. I'm not going anywhere. I have to look out for them." She crossed her arms, set her jaw and looked for all the world like she had no intention of moving in the next millennium. I wondered how, exactly, she expected to prevent Harold from having the cats taken away when she didn't have a corporeal self.

Unfortunately, I didn't have time to argue points of logic with the illogical dead. I glanced at my watch, a slender, silver-linked affair that had been a thirteenth birthday present from my mother. I really had to go. The potential tenant was scheduled to knock on my door in fifteen minutes. It would probably take me that long to fly home.

"Polly Frances Luccardi, will you permit me to untether your soul and escort you to the Door?" I asked.

"No!"

"Polly Frances Luccardi, will you permit me to untether your soul and escort you to the Door?" I asked again.

"I already told you, no!"

I felt the familiar buildup of pressure in my chest that accompanied a magical binding. It was what I imagined it would be like to drown. My lungs and heart felt as though iron bands squeezed my organs; my rib cage felt like it was collapsing. If I asked again and she refused, the binding was sealed. She would never be escorted to the Door, but would haunt this Earth forever.

"Polly Frances Luccardi, will you permit me to untether your soul and escort you to the Door?" I asked. The pressure increased and I gasped for breath.

"For the last time, no!"

My heart and lungs reinflated; my ribs sprung back into place. A surge of power pushed out of my fingertips and snapped the tether holding Mrs. Luccardi to her body. A lot of Agents untethered agreeable souls using magic, but I didn't like it. I don't know what a binding felt like to anyone else but it made me feel like elephants had been tap-dancing on me. Give me a silver knife and a straightforward cut any day. Unfortunately, I could only use my knife on the cooperative. No one knew exactly why, but souls that refused the Door had to go through the rigmarole of a binding.

"Polly Frances Luccardi, by your own words and of your own volition, your soul is bound to this earth for eternity," I said, a little breathless.

"Fine. My babies!" she cried, holding her incorporeal arms out to the cats that were now starting to nibble her corporeal body's ankles.

Whatever. I got out of there before she realized that her little Snoogums was about to make her former shell into breakfast, lunch and dinner. If I had more time, I would have tried harder to convince her to go to the Door. Now I would have to file more paperwork, and Patrick would have to file more paperwork, and he would bitch about it and I would bitch about it and J.B., our supervisor, would be an annoying bastard about the whole thing because he's very insistent on closed lists. But I'd deal with that later. First, I had to get home in time to show the apartment, and I had only a few minutes.

Death is just another bureaucracy, and in a bureaucracy so large, sometimes people fall through the cracks. There are plenty of reasons why people don't get an Agented escort to the Door, and they don't all have to do with kitty love. If a person suffers a violent death, they may leave their body involuntarily—snap the tether that binds them to their mortal self and flee in anguish and madness before an Agent arrives. Sometimes a soul will allow itself to be untethered, come along quietly and then break away from the Agent before they arrive at the Door, fearful of what lies behind it.

Sometimes an Agent is hurt or killed and that person's list may lie dormant for an hour or two until replacements are notified. If that happens, the window of opportunity may close—souls might break their own tethers and wander free, or just refuse to be escorted, like Mrs. Luccardi.

Any of these possibilities creates ghosts, souls that will never pass through the Door. Ghosts have an annoying way of begetting other ghosts, showing up when an Agent is trying to work and convincing the confused deceased that they're better off haunting this mortal coil than taking their chances with the Door.

The thing is, you can't force a soul to be untethered and escorted. The soul has to choose the Door. Like so many mystical things, three is the key number. If the soul is asked three times and refuses the Door, then the Agent metaphorically wipes his hands and the soul becomes a ghost. The Agent is magically bound to leave them alone.

Of course, there are lots of ways around the "asking thrice" rule. You can tell people whatever they need to hear for as long as it takes to get them to agree to be escorted—like Heaven exists and that's where they're going, or they will join their beloved Ethel, or whatever.

I can't attest to the veracity of any of that. All I know is that every Monday I get a plain white envelope in the mail. In that envelope is an ordinary piece of white paper with a typed list. The list has the names, locations and death times of people I'm supposed to escort. I go to the appointed place at the appointed time, take out my knife and untether the soul. Then I tell them something pretty and take them to the Door. I don't even know what they see when they open the Door. My vision goes black as soon as they touch the doorknob, and returns when they're inside. The only time I'll get to see what's behind the Door is when I get escorted there myself, and someday I will. Nobody outruns death. Not even death's lackey.

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "Black Wings"
by .
Copyright © 2010 Christina Henry.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Henry shows that she is up to the challenge of debuting in a crowded genre. The extensive background of her imaginative world is well integrated with the action-packed plot, and the satisfying conclusion leaves the reader primed for the next installment." —-Publishers Weekly

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Black Wings 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 194 reviews.
NomadiCat More than 1 year ago
As a Chicagoian and an urban fantasy fan, I really wanted to like this book. The basic idea "Agent of Death has to deal with difficult clients and Something Else that is Coming" sounded fun, fresh, and interesting. But once I got into the book. Well. Stop me if you've heard this one before. Short, spunky woman with dark hair has to deal with bureaucracy that has taken over ancient magic field. She meets a powerful and mysterious tall, dark, handsome man, and as soon as he arrives on the scene strange occurrences and bodies start piling up. Fight scenes, dramatic rescues, and strangely intimate healings ensue. Her parents are either dead or MIA, but since she's tough and spunky, she's managed to pull through. Unfortunately, she's been so busy being tough and spunky, she's not really had much time to think about her potentially mysterious heritage. But not to fear, mystery man is here! Throw in a sarcastic sidekick and a world Not Like Ours that the heroine belongs to but has been heretofore unaware of and you've got, well, almost every other urban fantasy book on the market in the last three or four years. Personally, I'm fine with exploring stock characters and stock scenarios- If I wasn't, I'd never be able to enjoy any urban fantasy novel. But between the complete and utter lack of originality, the pacing that feels like it's following a checklist, and a protagonist who keeps telling me how much she's grown without actually showing me, I just couldn't enjoy it. I'm easy to please; give me a character, just one, who's really well written and fun to follow, or a fresh take on a world or a story line, and I'm happy. Just one of those things. Unfortunately, this book delivers none of them. This first book in a presumed series sets up future action that may break out of the mold and end up being quite interesting. If I can borrow a copy from my local library I might check in to see if any of that pans out. But between the yawning and eye rolling I did with this unimaginative first outing, I won't make it a priority.
bravewarrior More than 1 year ago
This book started out great, got a little slow and predictable, and ended with me wanting more. The heroine is a likable character and so is her sidekick/pet. The author took liberties with the Bible and most demon lore and in the words of Paula Abdul: Made it her own. The author kind of changed the job of Lucifer. I did have to go back and reread some of the family tree and who is a sibling to whom. That was confusing. I liked that the heroine was getting confused too. The hero needs some more backbone, but I have a feeling he is more than he seems. I did like the authors train of thought with the grim reaper/Lucifer scenario. One thing I did take note of is that some of the characters make mention of vampires, faeries, and werewolves, I dread the second book being too formula.
kitkat3ny More than 1 year ago
I have never heard of this author before, and decided to keep this book on my maybe later list. I'm so glad I decided that the time for later was now, because this book was fantastic! My interest was continually piqued. My spellbound attention in this book, reminded me of my interest of way-back-when, when I read my first Rachel Morgan book. When I was just a chapter or so into this book, I instantly knew I was automatically going to read the next book. I loved this book from beginning to end and I highly recommend his book to fellow dark urban fantasy readers and look forward to the next book Black Night.
bookfanaticCP More than 1 year ago
I love this book. It's well written and flows easily. The story is interesting without trying too hard and the plot and characters go well together. There is nothing I hate more than when the plot is great and the characters suck! I definitely recommend this book.
Sandra027 More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book. 4.5 stars. The story was original and dealt with different supernatural creatures than I'm used to seeing. I couldn't believe it when I realized I had only read 40 pages and already it seemed like so much had happened, but it didn't feel rushed or chaotic, it just seemed like Henry used her words well and had a lot of plot going on. Similarly when I only had 10 pages left I thought, "there's no way in hell she can end this to my satisfaction in 10 pages," but she proved me wrong and even with a little twist that had me so angry I was ready to bump her down a star (don't worry it was resolved). I thought the love interest was unique as well, so often it's the alpha male with all the power, and I can't wait to see how that will be resolved in further books. Her little sidekick Beezle was cute and good comic relief. I had a few small issues throughout of course but nothing so major it interrupted my enjoyment of the book. (Although my Nook dying while mid-sentence on a plane did interrupt my enjoyment!) There's a good love triangle looming on the horizon, as well as some minor and major villains, can't wait!
UrbanFantasyGuy More than 1 year ago
I have nothing but good things to say about this novel. It's about a woman called Maddy who is an Agent, a person who escorts souls of the dead to the "door" to make their choice. The mythology in this book mainly revolves around angels, demons, and nephilim. There are mention of vampires, werewolves, faeries, etc but I believe that is just set up for future novels as there are none in this one. Throughout the book Maddy is learning to control her new found magical powers and constantly getting her butt kicked, and occasionally kicking some butt herself. The best part of this book is her best friend and protector Beezle, a gargoyle. Beezle provides great comic relief all throughout the book and is definitely what moves this book from 4 stars to 5. I'm looking forward to the next novel to see how much more trouble Maddy can possibly get into.
MargK on LibraryThing 24 days ago
Liked:I liked the premise of the story that revolved around an agent of death--a good grim reaper. There were a couple of interesting twists, and I liked Christina Henry's take on fallen angel, Hell, Lucifer, and nephilim mythology. I also liked the protagonist's gargoyle sidekick, who provided some enjoyable comic relief. It took a bit for the story to hit its stride, but once it did, the plot unfolded at a fast pace with quite a bit of action.Did Not Like:Sadly, there was a lot about this book that really didn't work for me. First, I could not bring myself to care about or connect with the main character, Maddy. I found her to be very immature, shallow, and whiny. She acted more like a bratty teenager than a thirty-something-year-old woman. The thing that made this perplexing for me is the fact that Maddy was orphaned at the age of 13 or so and, with only the help of the gargoyle, she pretty much raised herself. Given that kind of responsibility at such a young age, it would be logical to expect Maddy to be forced to mature quickly and beyond her years...and yet, she apparently did not.Then there was something that really infuriated and disgusted me. Very early on into the story, Maddy discovers that her new tenant (and future love interest) violated her mind and implanted a spell that compelled her against her will to accept him. As disturbing as I found the act to be, what made it worse is the way it was handled. Yes, Maddy was initially infuriated by what Gabriel had done to her and confronted him about it. However, her justified distrust and anger lasts maybe a chapter (if that). Within just a few pages, Maddy starts lusting after Gabriel and soon thereafter is pretty much in love with him.Did Gabriel redeem himself and work hard to earn Maddy's forgiveness and trust? No, not really. Yes, he takes care of her when she gets beat up and heals her when she's injured on a couple of different occasions, but that's the duty he was tasked with--it was his job to protect Maddy. I don't think he did anything to earn her trust or prove to her that he knows what he did was reprehensible and that he was ashamed of it. He essentially raped her mind and yet there were no consequences to his actions and the matter was dropped in just a couple of pages and forgotten as though it never even happened.Speaking of the romance, it was absolutely superficial. Maddy essentially falls for Gabriel for only two reasons: (1) he's really, really hot and (2) since Maddy's never been in a romantic relationship, she's very lonely and eager to get her lovin' on. There was no sharing of interests, no deep meaningful conversations, no getting to know one another...nothing. Plus, despite being devastatingly handsome, Gabriel had very little personality. He was quite flat and underdeveloped in my opinion.Another major issue I had with the story was the development of Maddy's powers. What they were and when they manifested was unrealistically convenient. They were not really explained and popped out of nowhere just when Maddy needed to use them the most. Moreover, she didn't really know how to control them and didn't put much effort into trying to learn how to use them, and yet they were extremely effective in fighting/defeating the bad guy(s). It was all a bit too dues ex machina for my tastes.
TheLibraryhag on LibraryThing 24 days ago
Madelaine (Maddy) Black is an Agent of Death. It is her job to separate the soul from the body and lead the to the Door. But she has to have a way to make money so she does several things including renting the apartment on the first floor of her house. When the charming Gabriel shows up to rent the apartment, strange and dangerous creatures start stalking Maddy and her frients. Not only that, but Maddy starts developing some strange and dangerous powers. CouldL all this have to do with the father she never knew?I really enjoyed this book. Maddy is a stubborn, tough cookie. But she is loyal and her heart is in the right place. The book has humor, love, twists and turns, and lots of fighting. It is a bit bloody in parts, but not so much. Really looking forward to the next in the series.
tntwhite on LibraryThing 24 days ago
This was a unexpected joy to read and a very quick read at that. I can't wait for the next book in the series.
ylin.0621 on LibraryThing 24 days ago
Maddy is an agent of death who helps and guides souls to the `door¿. Her job doesn¿t help pay the bills, but luckily there¿s a new tenant whose rent will. The tenant, however, may bring more than what Maddy wants right now.Black Wings, I need to get this off my chest, needs a family tree. Oh boy, I was considering stopping midway, reread everything all over again and just plot everything out myself. This angel comes to earth has this many children whose names are so-and-so and those children has this many children named so-and-so and they never age so they continue to have babies and now the question is: Is everyone related to each other in some twisted way? I tried connecting the dots, but I¿m 99% sure that no one really cares except for me because it¿s pretty irrelevant and doesn¿t pay a huge role that will make people go ¿ew¿.So Maddy is a kick-butt heroine who can easily defend herself against demons, mean bosses, and the occasional grumpy gargoyle. (Who, by the way, is that comical relief character that I always love to read in these types of novels.) She is the somewhat typical heroine that I am finding in fantasy novels: independent, strong willed, and powerful. I can¿t say that it¿s a bad thing since if she was a winy, dependent, clueless character I would probably pull all my hair out by now. Maddy is a well-likable character who isn¿t afraid to get dirty and a little mean.I find the world that the novel builds, while confusing sometimes (it¿s always the names that get me), was creative and definitely shows the author¿s effort. There¿s the present world and the past world that readers¿ discover through Maddy¿s visions that blend well together. It was the back bone of the story without having to go through the whole ordeal of long-winded speeches. The collided of the two worlds was impressive as one expected when facing fallen angels and meeting your father for the first time. The resolution and climax was done in a fashion that left me with no qualms *insert smiley face*. A little love story never hurts either.Speaking of love! Oh la la la. The tragic love story of Romeo and Juliet is an ongoing concept throughout the novel. Let¿s just say some of these guys are yummy (if they can keep their mouths shut between you and me). A smidge on the fast pace for one potential relationship, but nonetheless, enjoyable to follow.However, there were definitely times that I questioned how something happened. More in the controlling power sense than plot-wise sense. It¿s the finer details that seem to kill me with novels.Black Wings was one of the better beginnings to a series that hit every point that it needed to hit. This is a series that I plan to continue and will continue to enjoy if Christina Henry maintains this caliber of writing.
pollywannabook on LibraryThing 24 days ago
Review courtesy of All Things Urban FantasyGrim Reapers may just be the new vampires. Consider all the books released this year with protagonists whose abilities were escorting/interacting with ghosts. Even just the ones reviewed here on ATUF: Death Most Definite, Deception, Embers & Sparks, Shade, The Downside Ghosts series¿and now BLACK WINGS.The mythology was my favorite part of BLACK WINGS. Imagine the Office Space version of the Grim Reaper business, complete with the boss from hell and more paperwork than even Lumbergh requires. Help a soul move on, then back to the office to fill out the forms in triplicate. Grim Reaping isn¿t all bad though, you get some wicked looking concealable black wings and invisibility powers. But being a Grim Reaper isn¿t Maddy¿s only problem. She¿s suddenly come into a new set of powers that she can¿t control or explain, and a bunch of demons want her dead for reasons that shock her (and delighted me).The story was a nonstop action blast full of smart-alecky gargoyle guardians, devilishly handsome (and enigmatic) love interests, arrogant demons, wicked witches, and more jaw dropping revelations than a Jerry Spinger show. I barely had time to catch my breath between chapters, but it never felt like overkill.My only complaint, and it¿s kind of a biggie, was with Maddy. She¿s thirty-two years old, but most of the time she acted closer to fifteen. Outbursts of temper were common place and she often had a shallow response to what should be very traumatic events. She bounced from one dangerous situation to the next and didn¿t have the common sense to keep her mouth shut even though several lives depended on her. Maddy¿s immaturity aside, I really did like BLACK WINGS. The story was fantastic and the Grim Reaper/Demon mythology was top notch. The next Madeline Black book, BLACK NIGHT, will be out in Autumn 2011, and I¿m already anticipating another excellent read.Sexual Content: Kissing. References to sex. References to rape.
UrbanFantasyGuy on LibraryThing 24 days ago
I have nothing but good things to say about this novel. It's about a woman called Maddy who is an Agent, a person who escorts souls of the dead to the "door" to make their choice. The mythology in this book mainly revolves around angels, demons, and nephilim. There are mention of vampires, werewolves, faeries, etc but I believe that is just set up for future novels as there are none in this one. Throughout the book Maddy is learning to control her new found magical powers and constantly getting her butt kicked, and occasionally kicking some butt herself. The best part of this book is her best friend and protector Beezle, a gargoyle. Beezle provides great comic relief all throughout the book and is definitely what moves this book from 4 stars to 5. I'm looking forward to the next novel to see how much more trouble Maddy can possibly get into.
DarkFaerieTales on LibraryThing 24 days ago
Quick & Dirty: A strong urban fantasy debut that delivers gritty, action-packed scenes, and a great cast of characters.Opening Sentence: I hate it when a soul goes all stubborn on me.The Review:For an agent of the grim reaper, Madeline ¿Maddy¿ Black leads a pretty boring life. Her direct report requires an endless stream of TPS reports, which is the bane of every agent¿s existence. Like many other corporate drones, Maddy¿s job doesn¿t really give her much time to cultivate romantic relationships. The only male companion cuddling up to her and eating popcorn is her loyal gargoyle, Beezle. Strapped for cash and having difficulties making ends meet, Maddy begins searching for a new tenant for her downstairs apartment. As luck would have it, Gabriel Angeloscuro is in need of a place to stay. Just when Maddy thinks she¿s caught a break, a vicious beastie darkens her doorstep and things turn ugly. Maddy begins her journey to discover her dark powers and uncover the secrets of her family history with the help of Beezle and Gabriel.Black Wings is a fantastic addition to the urban fantasy genre. Solid characterization, fast-paced action, a great plot and a loveable gargoyle sidekick make this one of 2010¿s best reads. Ms. Henry dishes up a gritty blend of suspense, intrigue and action. Set in a supernatural alternate Chicago amidst powerful and deadly supernatural beings, it¿s not easy to survive on these mean streets.Madeline Black is a great new urban fantasy heroine. She¿s sympatric and vulnerable, but still tough as nails. While she isn¿t always practical and can be somewhat immature, she adapts well as events unfold. Beezle is one of the coolest urban fantasy sidekicks ever. This popcorn and chocolate loving gargoyle may not be very big, but he¿s a handful. Grumpy one minute and snarky the next, you just never know what he¿s going to say. Beezle is fiercely loyal and protective where Maddy is concerned. They have a great relationship, which is so important to Maddy because she doesn¿t have anyone else to rely on. Gabriel¿s identity and past are somewhat predictable, but it didn¿t detract too much from his depth. The dynamics of Gabriel¿s and Maddy¿s relationship are complicated. They share great chemistry, but there¿s no denying that a dark cloud is hanging over them and doom is just around the corner.Overall, Black Wings is an impressive debut. Despite some urban fantasy predictability, there are plenty of twists and surprises to keep you guessing until the very end. So take flight with Black Wings. I for one can¿t wait for the sun to set on the next installment, Black Night.Notable Scene:The last vestiges of the glamour fell away just before his body went up in flames with the frightening rapidity of a nuclear blast. I saw a seven-foot demon, red-skinned and bat-winged, looking like a Dore engraving from Paradise Lost. He howled in rage one moment, and the next instant, he was gone. Nothing remained except a scorch mark on the walkway.I lay there for a few moments, wondering what had just happened, who had rescued me and how on earth I was going to get back up the stairs when I felt like I¿d been boxing with a rhinoceros.As I looked up in the sky and contemplated these things, I finally noticed that a thick black fog had surrounded my property. It was as if the house had been encased in an opaque bubble. Now that the creature was gone, the fog slowly dissipated. At least that explained what I had perceived as lack of caring on the part of my neighbors. They hadn¿t been able to see the big nasty kicking the crap out of me.The Madeline Black Series:1. Black Wings2. Black NightFTC Advisory: The author provided me with a copy of Black Wings. No goody bags, sponsorships, ¿material connections,¿ or bribes were exchanged for my review. In addition, I don¿t receive affiliate fees for anything purchased via links from my site.
krau0098 on LibraryThing 24 days ago
This is the first of the Madeline Black books by Henry. The second is going to be titled Black Night and is scheduled for a July 2011 release. I enjoyed this book; I really liked the world and the premise. The heroine took me a bit to get used to, she seemed a bit generic at first, but by the end of the book she had really grown on me.Maddy works as an Agent, she offers dead souls a choice...to dwell on earth or enter The Door. It is a position she inherited from her mother and one that she can't relinquish...it also doesn't pay very well. Maddy lives with her protector, a foul-tempered gargoyle, and writes articles for cooking magazines to make money on the side. When a strange man offers to rent the apartment below her and her best friend is hunted down by a horrible creature things get a lot more complicated for Maddy.I'll be honest I had a little trouble getting into this book. Maddy seemed a bit generic to me at first. She was kind of your standard smart-mouthed, can kind of kick-butt, urban fantasy heroine with a lack of social life. If you read a lot of urban fantasy, you know the type I am talking about. As the book went on though she started to grow on me and, by the end I was very engaged with her.That being said my favorite character by far is the gargoyle, he is funny and provides a lot of laughs. For some reason I love books with gargoyles. Maddy and Gabriel (the beautiful man who rents the apartment below her) have great chemistry and you are really pulling for them throughout the book. They keep things pretty platonic but still manage to have some steamy and tense scenes; although this book is very much an urban fantasy (as apposed to paranormal romance). There are a number of interesting baddies, and a lot of characters that are many shades of grey.The strongest point of the book is the world-building and plot. The plot keeps you guessing and is very detailed and well-woven. The world is similarly intricate and very intriguing. There is mention of other supernaturals but this book focuses mainly on fallen angels and demons without being overly religious. Maddy's powers as an Agent reminded me a lot of the TV series Dead Like Me in how they are handled and with how bureaucratic they are. The action scenes are well done and paced as well.I enjoyed Maddy's unpredictable power, the complex world of fallen angels, and the fast pace of the plot. The book was hard to put down. Things wrapped up nicely at the end, but there were some major things left unsolved and this was very much an intro book to this world. I hope future books better develop some of the wonderful secondary characters.Overall a very solid urban fantasy debut. Those who enjoy smart-mouthed females who can kick some serious butt will love this. Those who enjoy angel/demon mythos in an urban fantasy setting will also find lots here to like. I would also recommend the Remy Chandler series by Thomas Sniegoski to those who enjoy this book. Remy Chandler has a similar angel/demon mythos and the series is very well done.
ladylikekitt1 on LibraryThing 24 days ago
This is a wonderful book. Angels demons it has it all I hope you get a chance to read this because she is an author to watch ..
pacey1927 on LibraryThing 24 days ago
"Black Wings" exceeded my expectations. This is the first in a series by Christina Henry and I have had for awhile but it was fairly down the TBR pile. Oh a whim I moved it up and I am so glad I did. I love nothing more than a good, unique, fun Urban Fantasy novel and "Black Wings" is all that and more. The story is about an agent or death named Madeline Black. Madeline's job is to meet souls after they pass from their earthly bodies and then deliver them to the door of the afterlife. I love how its portrayed as kind of a grunt job. She has to do paperwork, deal with uncooperative souls and work with a grouchy boss named J.B. Then she meets a mysterious (and attractive) man named Gabriel at around the same time her best friend Patrick is murdered by a demon who eats the souls of his victims. Maddy and Gabriel set out to capture the demon and try to release Patrick's soul.What did I like about "Black Wings"? Oh, just everything. Maddy is a great, sarcastic, realistic character. I thought she was pretty adorable. She has a best friend who is gargoyle named Beezle, who is an absolute scene stealer. He is loyal to Maddy, sarcastic as can be and also has a hysterical addiction to popcorn. The grouchy boss J.B. was a favorite almost from the start although I can't tell if the reader is supposed to like him this much or not. Gabriel is an ok character, but he hasn't completely won me over just yet. I also love how the demons are portrayed. Henry doesn't shy away from the gore or violence. Those are in this novel in spades.The plotline is entertaining, the book is well paced, and the characters are very memorable. Everything about the story felt fresh and unique and the book has absolutely no 'filler'. It is easier to write a bad review than a good one in my opinion. I can't say enough good things about this book but I want to leave plenty of surprises for potential readers to discover. I am very eager to read the next one "Black Night" and the third one "Black Howl". If you love Urban Fantasy and Paranormal novels I think you are missing out if you haven't tried these.
DamarisGCR on LibraryThing 24 days ago
Black Wings is a very interesting story with a different take on good and evil.Maddie is mostly a loner who lives in an apartment with a gargoyle, who's only mission in life is to make sure nothing happens to her. She works very hard and at the same time tries to live a normal life. She isn¿t really afraid of anything and loves to speak her mind.Maddie has been trying to rent the apartment downstairs from her, to earn a little more cash. She has not had any luck until sexy Gabriel shows up asking to rent the apartment. And since she is in desperate need of money, she decides to rent the apartment to Gabriel. She finds him to be very attractive and mysterious. Of course after he moves in a lot of weird and crazy things begin to happen.At first she does not really see a connection to Gabriel and her feelings for him begin to grow more and more each day. As they begin to fall for one another, the truth also starts to unfold. Now, even though I loved Maddie's personality and think that Gabriel is a super hottie, I just did not feel the chemistry between them. I would have loved a little more development between the two.Another issue I had was that even though at first I was super excited over all the action happening in this book and how fast pace it was, after a while it just became very predictable. Every page I turned, I pretty much figured out what would happen next. I do think that Christina Henry's writing is very easy to follow and the story was not bad at all. Her characters were very easy to like and it was definitely good enough to keep my attention. But like I mentioned before, it became a little predictable and the chemistry between Maddie and Gabriel did not reach out to me. Black Wings has a little bit of action, humor, mystery, suspense and very little romance. 3 Stars!
LeleliaSky on LibraryThing 24 days ago
I really enjoyed this novel. Madison is a strong female character with a smart aleck mouth. I love the parts where her temper gets the best of her and she lets loose on those around her. We all have those kind of moments! Great fight scenes play out throughout the novel. Lots of action, butt kicking, magic and more. Perfect amount of sexual tension with Gabriel and overall, it left me wanting much more. I look forward to reading the next book in the series.
Candacemom2two on LibraryThing 24 days ago
I've had this book for ages and only just found some time to fit it in. I do love urban fantasy and have been reading much more of it in the past month or so. And this is another series to add to my must-read list. It was full of action, which made for a fast read and Madeline was a character that I can truly stand behind. She has some snark and isn't afraid to stand her ground, but yet she's not quite idiotic in her decisions, she knows where to draw the line even though it's extremely difficult for her to shut her trap. I always find myself annoyed when the heroine just pushes things too far and Madeline didn't do that.I really liked the world created. Maddy is an agent of death but other then that she lives a normal life pretty much. As an agent of death she has a job (this includes paperwork and all that) where she's assigned people to escort to the door (Heaven or whatever) or to let them be released if they so choose to not leave and want to stick to earth as a ghost. But this job of Maddy's, well, we don't get to see it too much because straight away things start happening. She discovers she has more in her blood then just being an agent and 'someone' (or someone's) is trying to kill her. Then Gabriel shows up to rent her apartment downstairs and well, there's more to him then meets the eye. This book is full of demons, nephilim, angels, and so much more. We know that there are vampires and faeries and other creatures, but we aren't introduced to them in this book. Oh, and Maddy has a gargoyle who is her guardian or whatever and he's a pretty funny little guy who loves popcorn. The romance is light as there's mostly just developing feelings going on. They really know they care about eachother, and may even believe they are in love, but they can't do anything about it. I think a forbidden romance makes a story so much sweeter but it can also be frustrating. It's hard to say which way this one will go but so far I definitely feel the heat between them and am rooting for them that it all works out. Overall this is a great start to a series and didn't seem to have info dumps or too complicated of plot for a first book. There were a few things that sometimes confused me because suddenly there were all these demon things I got them confused at first, but it didn't take long for them all to be sorted in my head. There's quite a lot of gore in this book so be prepared for that... I definitely recommend this book to urban fantasy readers though!
Anonymous 6 months ago
Few plot twists but a solid first installment. Looking forward to the 2nd in series. Will also comment there with continued feedback.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've been reading paranormal romance for at least two decades now. It's hard to find a fresh perspective. You start to feel like you're reading the same book over and over. This book gave me life and breathed new life into the genre!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent story telling. Maybe a few too many twists for the first in the series, but well written.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a great read. A little confusing at times with the names. Easy to read. It held my attention from beginning to end. I love reading about the angels. Good and bad.