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Black Night by Christina Henry
Cover Artist: Kris Keller
Review by Meagen Voss
Ace Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9781937007065
Date: 26 July 2011 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /

As I've said before, the second book in a series will either make it or break it. Well, Christina Henry's Black Night has managed to defy categorization. Because after reading this book, I can't quite tell whether this series will sink or soar.

Also by Christina Henry:
Black Wings
This book continues the story of Madeline Black, a woman whose only worries used to be cobbling enough freelance jobs together to pay the bills and making sure that dead souls moved on to the afterlife in an orderly fashion. Of course, that was before Maddy found out she was Lucifer's granddaughter, that she was engaged to an angel whose idea of marriage is medieval, and that she had been volunteered to negotiate a treaty with an erratic faerie queen who has a penchant for chaos. On top of dealing with her new responsibilities, the two beings she loves most in her life--her smokin' hot bodyguard, Gabriel, and her adorable gargoyle, Beezle--have vanished. And Maddy will do anything to get them back.

The style of this book is just like the first book in the series--playful and light, yet also adventurous and dark. Maddy is still the plucky heroine she was in the first book. The rest of the cast hasn't changed very much either, and that's a good thing. Henry's unique characters are one of the greatest strengths of her writing, and I will admit that after reading this book, I am invested in continuing to get to know her characters--enough that I plan to read the third book.

But at the same time, if Henry insists on this series being a stomach-turning roller coaster ride of non-stop action, then I'll have to pass. While the first book had its fair share of action, I felt like there were moments where the story slowed down and the characters had a chance to reflect on what was happening. It's moments of reflection, I feel, that gives a story depth, and this second book just felt like it was an endless stream of unfortunate things happening to Maddy. I don't think Maddy had a spare moment to breathe the entire book, and while I still appreciate her as a steadfast heroine, I don't feel like she was given much of a chance to develop because she was constantly getting beat up.

The bottom line is that if you enjoy adventure stories, you will enjoy this book, especially if you're a non-stop action junky. If you're looking for a more thoughtful tale, then this one's not for you. Also, find another book if you're hoping for steamy paranormal romance. Readers of the first book will likely be disappointed with the romance scenes in this installment.

I don't know what it is with authors and the impression they get that hitting readers with action scenes like waves hit the beach leads to a great storytelling. Henry definitely went down this route with Black Night, but I have some hope that she will realize she caught the Hollywood-action bug before she finishes the third book.

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