Reviewed by: Amber
Rating (out of 5): 2 stars
Madeline Black has been on her own since she was a young girl, her father having been absent from her birth and her mother dying on the job. With her mother’s death, Maddy was forced to take on her responsibilities as an Agent of Death.
Being an Agent gives few opportunities to make friends or have any sort of a relationship, so when Gabriel, a potential new tenant, arrives on her doorstep, she’s a little flustered by his good looks.
Unfortunately with Gabriel’s arrival comes a slew of dangerous demons, nephilim and angels, all of who have an interest in Maddy. As she works her way through the mystery of her mother’s death, she begins to uncover her true power and with it come a world she never knew existed.
There were a few things that I enjoyed about Black Wings, namely Maddy’s job as an Agent of Death. The bureaucracy of death is an interesting set up so I was a little disappointed when it felt more like a side note most times rather than an important part of the story. I enjoyed the fact that there was a lot of action and I liked that the romance with Gabriel wasn’t resolved in this novel. Instant romance just doesn’t do it for me. I like a relationship that takes time to grow.
Sadly there were many things in Black Wings that bothered me past the point of annoyance. Maddy continuously blames her job for her lack of social norms, yet she has few pickups throughout the novel. Plus, pickups are planned out a week in advance, contradicting Maddy’s claims that she can’t have a social life. I have a hard time believing that no one can arrange an Agent’s pickups around a job, since being an Agent provides no paycheck.
On top of that, Maddy has never had a relationship. Being in her thirties, it’s incredibly hard to believe she’s never once tried to go out with someone. Of course there are going to be complications with her status as an Agent, but considering an Agent’s talents passed through family, obviously thousands of other Agents have succeeded before her.
Then there’s Maddy’s boss, J.B., who, as a side character, was great until he accuses Maddy of being a murderer. Angels and demons aren’t known to most of the world, so when Maddy tries to convince him that a crazed nephilim is devouring souls, it’s understandable that he’d be a little skeptical. But he blatantly denies the giant pile of evidence until a demon tries to personally rip out his insides. How he got as far as he did in the bureaucracy is a mystery when he won’t even investigate Maddy’s claim.
I think I could overlook all of the above if it weren’t for a blaring plot hole. Early on, Maddy learns that when an angel has a child with a human, the resulting nephilim is a crazy, bloodthirsty monster. Except not always because a particular character, who is revealed to be nephilim, clearly isn’t a monster. The reason why this character turned out normal is kind of vaguely insinuated by the end of the novel, but one would think someone might notice the non-monster-like behavior and appearance and ask a few questions.
In short, Black Wings was disappointing. There was plenty of potential, but it was poorly executed. There were so many things to nitpick at that the story was ruined for me.
Sexual references: Kissing