Life's never a dull moment when you’re Madeline Black, Agent of Death who escorts souls to the afterlife. Maddy just happens to be the daughter of a fallen angel named Azazel who still wants her to marry Nathaniel and is Lucifer’s second in command. Her mother was also an Agent of Death before she died; a position which Maddy now holds.Maddy is also the granddaughter of the Morningstar himself Lucifer, and carries his sword as well as a henna tattoo of a snake on her right palm that gives her some awesome new abilities. Lucifer has tried hard to get Maddy to be his heir and be in his inner circle. Something she has strongly refused to be lured into.
She now has Samiel, Gabriel’s half-brother, staying with her, Beezle and Gabriel, after coming to an agreement with him after he took her left pink and ring finger in a battle to the death. *See Black Night for more information*. Gabriel has agreed to train his brother in the ways that matter so that Maddy has yet another protective shield from those who want to kill her.
The most painful aspect of Maddy’s life for the first part of this story may be her relationship with Gabriel who is considered to be Maddy’s thrall or slave now that she saved his life in the previously referenced death match. Gabriel used to be Maddy’s bodyguard and unrequited love of her life.
It appears that something really hinky is going on in Maddy's native Chicago. According to her boss J.B, who still harbors a crush on her, there have been more than a dozen unscheduled deaths in one week, and it appears the ghosts are wandering around without any desire to move onto to the afterlife.
If that weren’t enough, Jude shows up at Maddy’s door reluctantly asking for her help after Wade, the werewolves pack Alpha, goes missing along with the wolf cubs of the pack. Like I said, it’s never a dull moment when you’re Madeline Black.
Christina Henry’s Black Howl is the third installment in the Black Wings Series and Madeline is as stubborn as ever. She is completely hard headed, naive in some ways and loyal to a fault to her friends. She walks into situations without thinking and ends up making decisions by the seat of her pants.
*Favorite Moments/Quotes from the story*
"“Enough!” I shouted, rubbing my eyes. “Gods above and below. I know too many men. I need to get some girlfriends.” Beezle snorted. “Yeah. I can totally see you drinking cosmos and talking shoes with a bunch of chicks.” Okay. So maybe that was absurd. But the fact remained that there was far too much testosterone in my life."
“As I am the Morningstar, you shall be my dark start, the hand of my will, my bringer of justice. All rise and say hail to my Hound of the Hunt.” After Maddy kills the Hound of the Hunt sent to retrieve Samiel and Lucifer finally gets his wish to have Maddy in his inner circle.
“Sometimes I wonder if J.B’s right about me Three-Stooging my way through life,” I said out loud.
Gabriel is as stoic as ever in the beginning of this book. He is trying to distance himself from Maddy since they can never have a relationship. It also doesn't help that his status is nothing but a slave in their realm. By the end of the book, things have taken a radical turn to the right when Lucifer steps in with a surprise announcement in regards to Maddy’s relationship with Gabriel.
J.B. becomes a part of Team Maddy now that the love spell has worn off that his own mother put on him in order to have a child with Maddy. J.B. is a very good friend to Maddy and goes above and beyond in order to help rescue Wade. He is also very un-Wade-like in this story when he actually breaks his own rules and helps Maddy find out who is responsible for stealing people’s souls.
Beezle is the comic relief in these books. There is a point to being sarcastic and funny. There were points in the book I wanted to choke Beezle or tell him to shut his pie hole for 5 minutes. I’m sure it was meant as a way to keep things from being too serious as Maddy and crew are running around trying to save Wade and the cubs and find out who is responsible for Chicago’s new ghosts.
Jude is the surprise of this book. Jude has made it extremely clear that he does not like Maddy or anyone of Lucifer's ilk in any way and we learn the truth about how old he actually is, and what happened to him to cause him to have these opinions. By the end of the book, Jude has earned my respect, and he now respects Maddy as well.
There are several surprises that are revealed along the way. Of course, it is no surprise to find out it is Amarantha and Focalor are once again at the forefront of Maddy’s troubles. What shocked me is who else was involved in the plot to overthrow Lucifer. I guess those who have read this series from the start, shouldn’t have been surprised at the revelation or the fact that Maddy’s half-brother is also part of the conspiracy.
The ending broke my heart and I can only hope that Ms. Henry fixes what happened so that Maddy isn’t left to her own vices. Yes, Maddy makes some stupid and silly mistakes. Yes, she is rash and judgmental at times. But, she is also fiercely loyal and protective of her little family and friends and would do anything to help them and keep them from being hurt because of her.
Black Lament releases October 30, 2012