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Black Wings (Black Wings, Bk 1)
Black Wings - Black Wings, Bk 1
Author: Christina Henry
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...  more »
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PBS Market Price: $8.09 or $4.19+1 credit
ISBN-13: 9780441019632
ISBN-10: 0441019633
Publication Date: 11/30/2010
Pages: 304
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.

3.5 stars, based on 88 ratings
Publisher: Ace
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

mreneerouser avatar reviewed Black Wings (Black Wings, Bk 1) on + 127 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 15
The rambling and ranting review of a bookfanatic!

Ok, I do not get it. I really had a hard time with this book. I kept putting it down because I found it boring and frustrating. In fact, I ended up reading a novella in-between just to get through this book.
Here is my rants-(Yes, Im reverting to the ole bullet point list- work with me people.)

Madeline Black is one annoying character. I know other reviews talked about how much they enjoyed her but frankly, I was just the opposite. She was whiny, and stupid! She supposedly has been on her own since the age of 13 (Ill come to that later) but manages to dive into one dangerous situation after another without any forethought. Then, when she gets beat up, bruised, and tossed around, she whines about it- non-stop.

She is a virgin. Now, do not get me wrong. That in itself is NOT a bad thing at all. No, in fact, since the book was not focused on puncturing her maidenhead (can you tell Ive been reading some historical romance recently), it was nice to have Maddy as a virgin without further explanation. HOWEVER, she sure did not act like a virgin with Gabriel. She goes from who the heck are you and I dont trust you to take me Gabriel. The explanation given why Gabby would go from mistrust to lust was a bust (I couldnt help myself) aka very under-developed.

She is a virgin. Yes, I know this is a repeat, so sue me. A scene bugged me about a particular demon smelling her virginity. Now, Ive read a lot of UF and Ive seen this before in books but this particular demon has a particular relationship to Maddy (which I cant say-spoiler) and the entire scene was gross, and as far as I know (at least in book 1), smelling her virginity seemed unnecessary to the story.

Background info. There were so many gaps in this story. Some of the gaps were filled in eventually but the more the author tried to fill in the gaps, the more the story seemed to lose its way.

She has been on her own since 13! This was casually mentioned as if it was no big deal. I felt the author missed some serious background info by not diving into this other than the casual reference.

The writing. Here is an example-

His face was very close and I was careful not to look directly into his eyes. I did not want to fall into starshine again and have my will sucked out of me. The pressure on my wrists was firm, but he wasnt hurting me. I struggled even though it was clear he could hold me there all day without sweating.

The writing comes across so mechanical or technical. The author wants me to be in Maddys head but I feel like Im reading a technical manual instead of the thoughts and feelings of a girl struggling.

Ok, so I had many problems with this book but Im still giving it two stars. Why? Because I managed to finish it and the last 10 or so pages were not that bad. I know everyone else is loving this book and I feel a bit left out but Ill remain odd man out (ok, odd woman out) on this one and not continue with this series.
mariep avatar reviewed Black Wings (Black Wings, Bk 1) on + 51 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Completely agree w/ Michelle's review. I'll even go one step further...this book is the poster child for underdeveloped characters and plot. Very little world building, what was done was rushed and confusing. The writing was techincal at best.

Trying not to to be spoilery here...but as an example, one character is introduced and killed off in less than one chapter...this person was supposedly important to Madeline, yet no grief, nothing. The romance interest was so underdeveloped it really was nothing more than a 'who cares' for me.

I gave this book 2 stars. Most undeveloped book I've read in a long time. Not sure if I'll bother to give the next book a chance.
moondance120 avatar reviewed Black Wings (Black Wings, Bk 1) on + 422 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Maddy Black is an agent of death that escorts souls to their next destination. Her new tenant is a mysterious gorgeous man who seems to know far too much about her. Throw in fallen angels, demons and souleating creatures to complete the story. Of all of the above, Beezel the gargoyle is my favorite. He had some of the best dialog. 3.5 stars
ophelia99 avatar reviewed Black Wings (Black Wings, Bk 1) on + 2527 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
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.
barbsis avatar reviewed Black Wings (Black Wings, Bk 1) on + 1076 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
What an exciting start to the Madeline Black series. This is rather different than the normal angels vs demons storyline. Madeline Black is an angel of death. She escorts souls to the afterlife. Her best friend is a gargoyle named Beezle. Gabriel is sent down to protect her from all the demons who've just come out of the woodwork with one intention...to kill her! Her half-brother, Antares is trying to kill her. At her fathers insistence, she's engaged to Nathaniel, someone she barely knows but instantly hated. She's in a relationship with someone she absolutely cannot have as he is no better than a slave and way beneath her social status. And the fun just keeps mounting.

This is action packed from page one and totally un-put-downable. I read it in three continuous hours. Just spectacular. Absolutely cannot wait to see where the story goes. How she gets out of the engagement with Nathanial and whether she figures out how to make her budding relationship work.
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ra7 avatar reviewed Black Wings (Black Wings, Bk 1) on + 876 more book reviews
Maddy (Madeline) is an Agent of Death (think grim reaper). She has been working and living on her own since her mother's murder at the age of 13. She is 32 at the time this book occurs. The AoD job an an inherited one, one can't chose to do or not do.
Interesting concept, I thought the world be interesting. However, there was too much I was either ambivalent about or just didn't like. I found Maddy annoying. She is 32 old virgin and all the guys are drawn to her (because of course). I thought she acted a lot younger than she was. She has a forbidden love thing going on with her protector, Gabriel.
This is a world that has ghosts (check), werewolves (check), fairies (check), vamps (check)......but not demons or angels. Because they couldn't possibly exist! Yeah, right. Eye roll there. That didn't make sense to me, but was part of the plot (Maddy not knowing some of her heritage). Maddy's SPECIAL.
I didn't care for the secondary characters either. Beezle, a gargoyle and who she considers friend and family, was supposed (I think?) to be cute and maybe get a laugh or two. But, he wasn't. I didn't think he was all that funny, supportive, etc. I was just annoyed.
The rest of this series? Pass. I was probably generous with the 3, but it did keep me entertained even if I did roll my eyes more than I could count.
gamermom77 avatar reviewed Black Wings (Black Wings, Bk 1) on + 14 more book reviews
It started off interesting enough. It reminded me a bit of the old tv show, Dead Like Me. Reapers=Agents in charge of ushering the departed to The Door.

I loved Beezle, I'd love to have my own snarky but sweet gargoyle. I'm not a huge fan of "angels" in books but there have been a few exceptions. This is one of them. I like the Nephilim idea (though not a unique idea of itself) and I like this incarnation. I liked Gabriel, and I'm not happy that he has that whole "issue" that keeps him and our main character apart. I really REALLY don't like Nathaniel.

I like the way the fallen angels were portrayed, not good or evil but certainly lacking any humanity.

If you asked me if I was going to continue the series at page 100, I would've given you an apathetic maybe and rated it a 3*. At page 200 though, I was hooked and continued to read (with the book hidden under my desk) well after my lunch hour was finished just so I could see what was going to happen next.
Entilzah avatar reviewed Black Wings (Black Wings, Bk 1) on + 55 more book reviews
I sat and read all three books in a row and loved them all. First I see a few people going a Virgin? Wow at her age? Well she is an agent of death and I had a hard enough time with relationships and working a normal job. And being raised by an over protective gargoyle since age 13 would put a damper on boyfriends.

I know how she felt with Gabriel I looked in to his eyes and was wham in love. I didn't really trust him hey only an idiot trusts someone they just met. However there is love at first site and I should have run.

I gave the book 4 stars only due to it is her first and hey nobody is perfect the first time out.

I love Beezle he is awesome. I can't get the thought of Bucky Katt out of my head when I read about him.


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