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WesternSFA
Black City
by Christina Henry
Ace Books, 2013, $7.99, 276pp
Release Date: March 5, 2013
Madeline Black is back, in this the 5th of the Black Wings series. Maddie had to do a lot of grieving in Black Lament (#4); now she has to focus on a problem with vampires who, thanks to Azazel’s meddling, are immune to daylight, which means that afternoon rush hour is the new vampire Happy Hour. On a more personal note, Bryson has decided, with or without Agency approval, to classify Maddy as a renegade and to take her out. Oh, and Maddy’s nemesis, the psychotic Evangeline, has a new plan for displacing Maddie from Lucifer’s affection. As Evangeline reckons, who would Lucifer love more, a problematic grand-daughter like Madeline, or a consort pregnant with Lucifer’s son?

Maddy is handicapped on two counts: she’s pregnant herself, and she has lost her wings. But Nathaniel still has his, and he still seems determined to place himself between Maddy and every danger from bullets to day-walking vampires.

Maddy’s gargoyle-familiar, Beezle, is feeling more and more like Jiminy Cricket with an errant Pinocchio, as Maddy brushes aside his warnings.

Then Madeline triggers Nathaniel’s latent power and awakens her own, full powers – and after that, all bets are off.

There are many moments of emotional payoff in this book, as well as climactic showdowns. Maddy’s narrative is still a bit sparse when it comes to descriptions, but her perspectives and inner landscapes are slowly maturing.

The story ends on a howler of a cliff-hanger that ensures a fierce interest in the next installment. It will be interesting, to say the least, to see what happens next with this agent of death. – Chris R. Paige

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