Early Review: Black Wings by Christina Henry

November 27, 2010 Uncategorized 17

*This title will be released on November 30th*

Title: Black Wings
Author: Christina Henry
Series: Madeline Black #1
Cover Art: Kris Keller
Genre: Urban Fantasy

Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Ace
Date Published: November 30, 2010
ISBN-10: 0441019633
ISBN-13: 978-0441019632

The Book Depository

Review Copy Source: Author/Publisher
Reviewed by: Abigail

Black Wings (Madeline Black, #1)

Book Description

Meet Maddy Black.
She’s an Agent of Death who really needs to get a life.

Escorting souls into the afterlife leaves Maddy little time for socializing—until devilishly handsome Gabriel Angeloscuro 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.


Grim 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.

My Rating:

imageimageimageimage 4/5
Excellent – Loved it! Buy it now & pre-order the sequel.

Click HERE to read an excerpt from BLACK WINGS

Previous books in the series:

  1. N/A

Also reviewed by:

17 Responses to “Early Review: Black Wings by Christina Henry”

  1. Avery

    I've never heard of this before, but I am def. going to have to add it to my list! Thanks for the great review!

  2. Abigail [All Things Urban Fantasy]

    EJ – It was a lot of fun. I hope you think so too.

    Shera – Oh good! I hope you can pick up a copy soon.

    Avery – I really hadn't heard much about BLACK WINGS either until Spooky Legends. Christina's post was my favorite of the whole event and from then on I couldn't wait to read this.

  3. Catherine

    Great review! I just read and reviewed this one for Fiction Vixen and really loved it. I wasn't bothered by Maddy's attitude quite the way you were. I guess any annoyance for me was negated by the fact that she owned up to the fact that she seemed to have the self control of a three year old at times because of her isolated lifestyle.

    I actually wished the world building had been a bit more developed. I still really enjoyed it and love your comparison to Office Space!

  4. Lil

    I love Office Space and am trying to imagine what it would be like to have that movie blended with the concept of the Grim Reaper. What a kick!

  5. Abigail [All Things Urban Fantasy]

    Melissa – Well it comes out tomorrow. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

    Catherine – I understood why Maddy was immature and I also like that she recognized that about herself, I guess I was hoping that she would grow more throughout the book.

    Lil – I love that movie too and Christina really did blend that idea with Grim Reapers. I'm hoping for more office interaction in the next book too.

  6. Tori [Book Faery]

    I'm reading BLACK WINGS right now and Maddy's been annoying the bajeebus out of me. I feel the exact same way you do; she's extremely immature for her age.

    The pacing is bugging me also. Maybe it's just me, but the attraction to Gabriel felt somewhat abrupt. A few other scenes also felt abrupt, but I think that had to do with Maddy and her temper tantrums.

    I do admit, the universe Christina created is interesting. Interesting enough that I want to read the next book.

  7. Catherine

    I definitely looked at the romance as more of a back burner thing like in the more straight UF instead of the ones with the almost PNR feel. So I agree that the connection to Gabriel and the romance felt a bit weak, but I don't think it was supposed to have heavy emphasis.

  8. Edna

    Thanks for the review!

    I like the idea of this book. It seems like a fun and exciting read but I'm a little worried that the heroine won't click with me. I can get weary of immature protagonists.

    This is totally off-topic but I first heard about The Greyfriar by Clay & Susan Griffith here on ATUF. I read it recently and absolutely adored it. So I guess I just wanted to say thanks for getting it on my radar. 🙂

  9. Abigail [All Things Urban Fantasy]

    Edna – I'm leery of books with immature protagonists too, but truly I found enough good stuff going on here to still recommend it. Try the excerpt before you decide.

    And I'm so glad you loved THE GREYFRIAR. It's one of my favorites from the whole year!