Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Black Lament by Christina Henry

Inevitable spoilers for books 1-3 ahead, go away if you wish to read those with some element of surprise.

photo via author website
As an Agent of Death, Madeline Black deals with loss every day. But when tragedy touches her own life, Maddy will have to find the strength within to carry on… 

Devastated and grieving, Maddy unexpectedly finds hope with the discovery that she is pregnant. But Maddy’s joy is short lived when Lucifer informs her that he wants the baby, hoping to draw on the combined power of two of his bloodlines. Maddy is determined that her grandfather will never have her child, but she’s not sure what she can do to stop him. 

Being pregnant is stressful enough, but Maddy suddenly finds herself at odds with the Agency—forbidden from meddling in the affairs of the supernatural courts. When a few of her soul collections go awry, Maddy begins to suspect that the Agency wants to terminate her employment. They should know by now that she isn’t the sort to give up without a fight…

synopsis via Goodreads

So, like, all of the books are fun, with plenty of action and occasional hilarity. But they aren't really very deep, both in content matter and in characterization (which is totally fine, I like fluffy books). This book feels particularly shallow because Maddy's husband was murdered but her grief never feels authentic (not that there is a right way and a wrong way to grieve or feel grief IRL but this is fiction, the rules, they be different). It's been only a couple of weeks since Gabriel died and she's just found out she's pregnant and her sadness feels like so much lip service.  "I am sad" is really not a sufficient portrayal of sadness. Realistically though, emotional depth has never been the strength of this series. The romantical aspect was definitely under-fed in the previous books so it makes a sort-of weird sense that the other emotional aspects have been neglected here? At least it's consistent.

As a whole, it's written competently and is paced well (the pace, btw, is FAST). The end wraps up a little bit too quickly, but it's neither super-predictable nor zany-out-there.The dudely love interests (for lack of a better term) sound pretty foxy and even though we get a Sassy Best Friend, Beezle (Maddy's pet/best friend/gargoyle) is neither red-haired nor human and manages to evade being quite a cliché. The weird pregnancy-detecting fallen angel skillz were pretty creepy and hitting on a pregnant lady whose husband has just died is in pretty bad taste, but over-all another solid entry into the Black Wings series.

Read this if you like very fluffy Urban Fantasy that's heavy on witty dialogue and light on emotional investment.

Black Lament by Christina Henry
Series: Black Wings
Previous book: Black Howl  Next book: Black City (forthcoming Feb-2013)
P.O.V. Third person
Language: Mostly clean, maybe a couple of f-bombs? I don't exactly recall
Sexxxoring: There was a super-vague dream-thing but otherwise ZERO
Where from? Borrowed from das Library