Review: Black Howl by Christina Henry

February 28, 2012 Review 6


Black Howl (Madeline Black, #3) Title: Black Howl
AuthorChristina Henry
Series: Madeline Black #3
Cover Art: N/A
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Excerpt: Yes
Source: Publisher
Reviewed by: Julia

  • Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Ace; October 30, 2012
  • ISBN-10: 1937007332
  • ISBN-13: 978-1937007331

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Sexual Content:

References to sex and attempted rape.


Good – A fun read with minor flaws. Maybe read an excerpt before buying.


Agent of Death Madeline Black is finding out that some of the spirits of Chicago aren’t ready to cross over.

Something is wrong with the souls of Chicago’s dead. Ghosts are walking the streets, and Agent of Death Madeline Black’s exasperating boss wants her to figure out why. And while work is bad enough, Maddy has a plethora of personal problems too. Now that Gabriel has been assigned as her thrall, their relationship has hit an impasse. At least her sleazy ex-fiancé Nathaniel is out of the picture — or so she thinks…


In BLACK NIGHT Maddy’s band of stalwart hunks seemed like little more than a gloomy flock of crows, predicting doom and gloom while Maddy kicks butt.  The chemistry in BLACK HOWL was infinitely more satisfying, as the machismo and banter added slap-stick spice to the action.  And oh what action, as Maddy takes on the world of stuffy, entitled Grigori and continues to grow into her own.

Even better than chemistry on the battlefield, BLACK HOWL provided forward momentum for Maddy’s love life as well (though with an ending that prompted me to add some howls of my own).  While this series definitely weaves in some of my less favorite tropes (star-crossed lovers, triangles, and save-the-day magic to name a few), Henry has definitely put her own spin on these themes.  Romance moves forward, new friendships gel, and of all the characters I didn’t expect to redeem themselves, J.B. and Lucifer are definitely growing on me.  This is made all the more satisfying by the contrast of the characters who didn’t redeem themselves (and get their just desserts).

While the violence in BLACK HOWL still seems a bit cartoony, if only because magic usually does save the day, it can’t be said that the battles don’t have consequences.  Whether it be Maddy’s missing fingers or the greater losses suffered in this book, this series is on the cusp of taking on a more emotionally valid feel.  Color me skeptical, however, as this genre has it’s share of last minute saves and resurrections.  I think I’ll believe the sadness and finality of this ending when I see how it plays out next book… and that uncertainty will be enough to get me to tune in for at least one more book. 

Previous Books in Series
Also Reviewed By:
  1. Black Wings – 4/5
  2. Black Night – 3/5

6 Responses to “Review: Black Howl by Christina Henry”

  1. Kt Clapsadl

    I'm not really sure of the direction things are headed either. That ending was quite killer, but I'm skeptical on its permancy as well. There may be a problem with believability in the next installment as a result.

  2. Julia

    It's a quick, fun series, Elin, though a little flawed. Definitely great beach books, if you're gearing up for spring 🙂

  3. Julia

    I feel the same way! I felt a little hypocritical, as I loved the twists in the Chicagoland Vampire series, but I don't think Henry has laid a good enough foundation for her characters to pull this off. Just one more set of dire circumstances where Maddy defies the laws of magic? Yawn…