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