If You Like Chicagoland Vampires… Read Black Wings


If You Like... feature at Vampire Book ClubYou know how some books seem to take a little while to get started? The world is so elaborate or the language is so stylized that it takes some time to get used to it so you can really get into the story. For me Chloe Neill’s Chicagoland Vampires is the exact opposite. I instantly feel at home in that world and feel like those characters are old friends.

Christina Henry’s Black Wings is another series that feels like that to me. On the first page, I’m right at home in Madeline Black’s world. Part of that is because each book tends to pick up exactly where the last one left off, so I haven’t missed anything. But it’s also the heroines’ effortless narration and easy-going natures that make the reader feel at home. Both of these series are long running—Chicagoland Vampires #11 just came out and Black Wings #7 releases soon. (After some re-reading I realized that this feeling really starts around book 3. So if you’ve read the first one and stopped, consider giving it another chance.)

Both series take place in present day Chicago and share a reverence for the city that really resonates with me. I, like Merit, went to The University of Chicago, so it really is a sort of homecoming. But even without that background, the landmarks are easily recognizable—Daley plaza and the famous Picasso sculpture, The Watertower, and Wrigley Field, just to name a few. The love that Merit and Maddy share for the Windy City really comes through in their stories. Both heroines appoint themselves guardians of the city that they call home and take it personally when it’s threatened.

Black Howl by Christina HenryThey also share a love of Chicago’s food, though much of Maddy’s food-mindedness actually comes from her gargoyle Beezle. Merit, the consummate carnivore, introduces Ethan to Chicago hot dogs and Italian beef. Maddy and Beezle, the junk food junkies, crave cinnamon rolls from Ann Sather’s and use sweet shops as landmarks when giving directions.

On the surface, the heroines themselves may not be much alike. Merit, the vampire Sentinel, is a former ballerina and PhD candidate. She’s much more polished and sophisticated, not to mention coordinated, than Madeline. Whereas Maddy, the Agent of death, shows up at work in ratty slippers and if there’s something to trip over, she’ll find it. But they do have a few things in common.

Early in their series, they both find themselves with new powers that they don’t understand and that feel like a separate entity inside them. They’re both attracted to a much older man who is constantly pulling away. They both collect allies from a wide variety of supernatural sects and are closely allied with the local alpha werewolf. They both have serious daddy issues and problems with authority. And they both experience the same plot twist, but I won’t spoil it.

I’ve often thought that these series share the same world, but fill it with completely different characters. It really comes down to the feeling I get when I start a new book in either series. I sort of smile and relax and I’m happy to be home.

4 Responses to “If You Like Chicagoland Vampires… Read Black Wings”

  1. Amy says:

    Christina Henry always pops up in my “recommended” list on Amazon. I’ve seen the books / series around, but with everything else on my TBR list I think, for me, it’s one of those series that gets pushed aside.

    Your comparison with Chicagoland Vampires definitely makes me want to pick up Black Wings now!

  2. Manda says:

    I’m gonna read! Thanks for the recommendation!

  3. Sherri Williamson says:

    I’ve only read the first Chicagoland Vampires so far, and loved it. Now I’ll be adding Christina Henry to my list.

  4. Ang says:

    I need a new vampire read, this sounds perfect.
    Enjoyed the review.

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