Monday, February 21, 2011

The ‘IT’ Factor – Debut Author Christina Henry

Black Wings
November 2010

Book Blurb:
Escorting souls into the afterlife leaves Maddy little time for socializing-until devilishly handsome Gabriel Angeloscuro agrees to rent the empty apartment in her building. But when demons start appearing on Maddy’s front lawn, she realizes there’s more to her new tenant than meets the eye...


The Main Characters:
Maddy is an agent of death, complete with black wings which sprout from her back when she’s on assignment, who escorts the newly departed to “The Door” so they can get to where they need to go. It’s an unpaid job, handed down through her family for generations.

Gabriel is a hot half-angel/half-demon sent to protect her from the otherworldly creatures that have suddenly started showing up on her doorstep wanting to kill her.

I started out liking both characters. Maddy’s got a smart mouth and humorous things just seem to happen around her. Gabriel is hot and mysterious. Then I found out she was a 32 year old virgin. Palease! In modern day Chicago? Why, might you ask? No deep, dark reason really. She’s just been busy writing recipes for magazines alone in her kitchen while she waits for her assigned soul pickups. Silly, really. She’s also not a deep one. Her best friend gets eaten by a demon and half of her coworkers end up sliced and diced in front of her and she mechanically goes through the reactions and emotions before moving on rather quickly. I never felt her sorrow, her loss. When you’re writing in 1st person, the emotions should come across deep and raw. This didn’t happen with Maddy. Then poor Gabriel lost his hot factor as the book wore on. Somewhere along the way he went from alpha to omega and never really got his sex appeal back.

Beezle is the best of the bunch. He’s her gargoyle sidekick and an absolute hoot.


The Romance:
There’s a few sparks between the two when they first meet. As soon as she clamps eyes on him, she’s thinking “I’m gonna give it up to this guy.” Nope. Didn’t happen. She’s still the big V by the end of the book.


The World Building:
I think this is the part I had the most trouble with. In Ms. Henry’s world, if fallen angels do the nasty with human women, their kids are born nephilim – red-skinned demon creatures who like to eat people. Got that. Unfortunately, there appears to be exceptions to this rule. Otherwise, our intrepid heroine would be one of the big, bad uglies since her daddy turns out to be a fallen angel. I can usually follow along with the best of them, but I kept getting confused on why some of the fallen’s offspring were born evil and red and others were born more human-like with powers and wings, like Maddy. There was no consistency in it that I could tell.


The ‘IT’ Factor:
I honestly can’t say what sold this book. While it certainly wasn't a wall-banger, there was also nothing ground-breaking here. Fallen angels, agents of death, demons -- they’ve all been done before. The author’s voice is often humorous but then she would get very mechanical in her writing: I went here. I did this. I felt sad. And so on. I have to say I liked the 1st half of this book if I overlooked the whole silly virgin thing and the jumbled world-building. But the 2nd half lost steam for me and by the end I really didn’t care if Maddy and Gabriel hooked up or not.