Title: Black Night
Author: Christina Henry
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Madeline Black (Book 2)
Publication Date: July 26, 2011
Format: Paperback, 288 Pages
ISBN-10: 1937007065 (Ace Books)
ISBN-13: 978-1937007065 (Ace Books)
Reviewed by: Sheila
Madeline Black is an Agent of death, meaning she escorts the souls of people who have died to the afterlife. Of course, not everyone is happy to see her…
If obstinate dead people were all that Madeline 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 Madeline is Lucifer’s granddaughter, things are expected of her, things like delicate diplomatic missions to other realms.
Quick & Dirty: A woman forced to face her fears alone while being pursued romantically by lots of men save the one she wants. Witty and full of action; sprinkled with political machinations beyond the abilities of our heroine.
Opening Sentence: I stood in the alley between Damen and Wolcott in the recently trendy neighborhood of Wicker Park.
When we left Madeline in the last book, she found out she is related to Lucifer and that he knows about her true feelings for Gabriel. For the offense of killing one of Lucifer’s sons, Ramuell, Madeline agreed to do him one favor in the future. Lucifer has called upon that favor. Not only does she have to go on a goodwill treaty negotiation to the faerie court (which she knows nothing about) with her fiancé (that she can’t stand), but she must also navigate her way around without the help of Gabriel (who has gone missing). She also (by accident, really) agreed to help the werewolves (who have a long standing hate of Lucifer) find out who is killing off their packmates. All the while she dodges getting killed by her half-brother, Antares, and other assorted assassins. I believe Madeline said it best when she said, “…I’m just a thirty-something thrown in the deep end of the pool without a floatie.”
Several factions of supernaturals meet together in this book. Let’s start with the faerie court where Amarantha rules. She is queen of the local faerie court. She also happens to be J.B.’s mother, Madeline’s old boss and sometimes friend. This is where Lucifer is sending in Madeline as an emissary. There are so many protocols and ways to break them that Madeline is not sure whether she should feel honored or terrified by Lucifer’s request. She has no idea if she is sent in as a show of faith, or as a sacrifice. Maybe a little of both. No worries though, J.B. will be there to help her out. Not sure if that will help Madeline in the long run or not. So why is J.B. all of a sudden being so helpful? It certainly can’t be because he has feelings beyond friendship for Madeline, right?
Next are my personal favorites, the werewolves of the Red Pack of Wisconsin. Not only had Madeline inadvertently declared herself a friend of a pack that happens to be her (many greats) grandfather’s, Lucifer’s, sworn enemies but there is someone out there killing off members of their pack and trying to blame it on Madeline. Like she doesn’t have enough enemies as it is. A neat little fact about the Wisconsin Pack: their leader was chosen because he is the reigning Star Craft Champion. The alpha, Wade, always says, “En Taro Adun.” Don’t know what that means? Well, me neither. But then again, I haven’t ever played Star Craft. I just really enjoy the idea of werewolves sitting around a basement, playing computer games. Makes me giggle every time. They add a little extra to the long list of characters in this book. They are strong in their own right, enough to be taken seriously by the other supernatural factions, yet they are surprisingly upfront with Madeline. They take her side without really knowing about her personally. And that takes some serious cojones.
Finally, there are the fallen. Madeline is representing these guys even though her knowledge of them is scarce. Nathaniel, Lord Azazel’s right-hand man and Madeline’s fiancé, is there to help her out in the negotiations. Not that she wants his help but let’s face it, diplomacy is not Madeline’s area of expertise. Can she accept his help even if she doesn’t like or trust him? How far will Nathaniel push this engagement and his “rights” over his fiancé? Will Madeline stand for that?
Surpise! There is another faction of the fallen involved, Lord Focalor’s court. Can Lucifer deal with these guys? If there is to be a rebellion among the fallen, can’t he just come and take care of it himself? Why is Madeline getting involved anyway? Doesn’t she have enough people that want her dead? The rebels are also “courting” the faerie queen, and they brought a gift, the captured Gabriel. How far will Madeline go to rescue him? What are the potential repercussions of doing so?
So what the heck do all these factions have to do with Madeline? Easy, she is now a major player in the fallen community and she has to learn to play the political game. For someone that needs help in the tact department, this is quite a quandary. It’s fun watching her, a newbie, deal with these political heavy weights. Can she learn to survive in this new arena? Or will she be killed before she gets a chance to try?
I truly enjoyed the second installment in this series. I look forward to what’s next for Madeline and her doughnut-loving gargoyle, Beezle. I also hope that the feelings between Madeline and Gabriel get addressed and resolved in the next book. I don’t like novels that drag out love interests too long. It doesn’t feel authentic to me. A person can only take so much before they either give in or move on.
“So where’s the big reveal? How come you were so all fired up that I shouldn’t come and get you?” I said.
Beezle sighed, closed his eyes for a moment and pointed behind me. “Because of that.”
As he said it, I became aware of fine earthquake tremors in the ground, and the water lapping against the backs of my legs. The scent of sulfur grew stronger, and Nathaniel stood up, eyes hard and watchful.
I huffed out a deep breath. “It’s something huge, isn’t it?”
Beezle nodded. “Yup.”
There was a sound of several limbs splashing in the water. “Is it all squishy and tentacly?”
“I hate my life.”
The Madeline Black Series:
1. Black Wings
2. Black Night
3. Black Howl
FTC Advisory: Penguin/Ace Books provided me with a copy of Black Night. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review. I get paid only in hugs and kisses from my little boys.
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