Grade: 4 stars out of 5
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.
Black Night is as hot and action-packed as its prequel, Black Wings. From the very first chapter, Christina Henry will take readers from the ground to the sky, from angels to werewolves to vampires to faeries. It’s almost impossible to settle down before being rocketed off to the next fight-for-your-life adventure that Maddy Black seems to be dealing more of.
The beginning lagged in my opinion that took a while for the plot to finally pick up. Throughout the entire novel, there was one question on everyone minds: who is killing the werewolves? That answer is ignored until the very end, which puts it in an awkward position. There was already a climax that proved to be a showstopper and yet Christina Henry went as far as to create another climax at the end shocked me. I had wanted Henry to weave the two problem, Gabriel’s disappearance and the murders, together and yet they were as a separate as can be. It proved to be a clunky read.
A problem that I originally had with Black Wings reappears yet again: the onslaught of names and paternal/maternal linage. At one point in the book I threw my hands up and thought to myself that everyone must be related to one another by some distant relative. They could be cousins (second twice removed blah blah), uncles, sisters, or something. Halfway through I resigned myself to not caring and ignored whether or not if a new character was related to Maddy.
Maddy for the matter remains to be the strong heroine who can deftly kick butt. With a sword that can do almost anything by her side and magic powers that rival many, Maddy tries to protect her life and her loved ones. As her power grows, as do the number of enemies she accumulates. Yet despite that, Maddy is still that rock-headed girl readers know from before. For all her flaws, Maddy continues be one my favorite heroine because she’s soft and hard at the same time. She doesn’t pretend to know everything and is unafraid to ask for help or shed a little tear. Even then, she’s hard when she doesn’t show her fear, tears, and sadness in front of the enemies.
The cast of Black Night develop in a way that I would have never imagined. Strangers become familiar, and ones that we thought we knew suddenly casts a shell around them. Gabriel is first and foremost the male lead I liked from Black Wings. In Black Night, Gabriel does not appear much. When he is rescued, his relationship to Maddy is altered completely. For better or for worst is to be determined in the sequel.
J.B. and Nathaniel’s personalities are finally unleashed in Black Night. I was able to understand them better and connect them to a level further than another-guy-that-might-like-Maddy. Their lives do not revolve around Maddy, but undeniable it is affected by her actions. I may have felt a bit bad for Nathaniel after Black Night (surprisingly since I did not like him in Black Wings).
The humor takes the constant pressure and stress of fight scenes off the novel whenever Beezle, the animated comic-relief character, talks.
With added characters, Black Night becomes a political battleground with fists and magic instead of pens and heated words. Black Wings series starts to shape itself as the chapters go by and hopefully by the third book, readers will find themselves with the full cast and the climax as a high. I am counting down and preparing myself for whatever next Christina Henry will throw at readers.
Source: unsolicited ARC from Ace
Published: 2011 July 26