I really enjoy the Black Wings series by Christina Henry. It’s a nice and fresh UF. I admit it has been a while since I read the previous 2 novels in this series, so it took me about a chapter into Black Howl to recall details about the prior plots and characters. But, once I did, I hated having to attend to real life duties and putting it down *G*.
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-fiance Nathaniel is out of the picture–or so she thinks…
Now don’t let that blurb fool you. There is SO much more going on than what it alludes to. However, I can’t really give you much more without involving some major major spoilers. Let’s just say that the events Maddy sets out to investigate end up sending her on a chase. Revelations of who is behind all the problems is someone that she never would have imagined.
Since Black Howl is book three, most of the world building is complete, so there isn’t much time spent on it. I would recommend reading the previous 2 novels, Black Wings and Black Night, before reading Black Howl, so you can get a good grasp of the world and the pertinent players. However, Henry does do a decent job of weaving in background information from the prior two books, so a new reader may not feel completely lost. Re-introducing the world like Henry does was helpful for me since I’d read the other books several months and many many books ago. I am not going to bore you with my thoughts on the characters as you can see my reviews on Black Wings and Black Night for those (the reviews can be found here and here). As I have previously mentioned, I thought Maddy would be a heroine who always ends up in trouble. Yep…must say I’m right and everyone seems to remind her of that in Black Howl. Though, I will say…I want a gargoyle! I LOVE Beezle. For you Allison Pang fans, you can liken Beezle to Phin the Unicorn and their respective roles (part comic relief, part helpful secondary characters who have important knowledge to pass along).
The pacing was pretty solid throughout Black Howl. At about 3/4 of the way through the book, there’s a big action scene and I was thinking, this should be the crux of what happens between Maddy and the main antagonist, but….I still have 60 pages more. What does Henry still have in store? Well, she did NOT let me down, and I relished getting two big confrontations. Also, HOLY CRAP, that second confrontation led to some huge, plot changing revelations! Then, there’s the ending which you get to after a really teary and “I can’t believe she just did that” moment. Holy smokes, batman…cliffhanger. Gah! But back to that moment…it hit me HARD. I was bawling like a baby. I can’t say more without giving away some major spoilers, but you will feel for Maddy and all she’s been through, especially after she’s hit with this. I’m still in shock! If I could get my hands on book 4 NOW, and yeah I’m confident there will be a book 4 after Black Howl‘s ending, I totally would.
So to all my fellow UF fans, if you haven’t read the Black Wings series…go pick it up and get caught up before the release of Black Howl on 2/28/12. If you’ve read the first two novels, make sure you add Black Howl to your list of books to grab on your weekly run at the end of the month.