Black City
Black Wings, Book #5
By Christina Henry
ISBN: 9780425256589
Author’s Website:

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Marie-Reine

*Beware of possible Spoilers*

Like its title suggests, darkness has descended upon Madeline “Maddy” Black’s city. Hordes of vampires, immunized against their sensitivity to sunlight through Azazel’s serum, pour forth from every orifice and begin to devour Chicago’s citizens. Pregnant and without wings, a demoralized Maddy must find a way to soldier on, as she has always done, and save her city from this new plague. With the help of her friends, she must also continue her fight against all her other enemies, who continue to stalk her, and against herself as she keeps showing signs—as her gargoyle Beezle aptly puts it—of going darkside.

Luck never seems to grace this series’ heroine. Still mourning her husband’s death and having only just dispatched her father, Azazel, a vampire apocalypse kicks off in her front lawn. Not to mention that anyone who comes near her gets caught up in this whirlwind of catastrophe and death. Her friends are always in danger of being killed, or getting kidnapped and held for ransom. At this point, such a pace only serves to fatigue the reader. Maddy never seems to go a few chapters without fainting or being close to death and having the pacing maintained at a fever pitch dulls the excitement of the book as a whole. She conveniently gets herself in and then, predictably, gets herself out—more often than not, has someone drag her out—of danger again. What’s another stab wound, another scar, another threat, especially when there always seems to be an angel nearby to patch her up again?

The author, Christina Henry, has portrayed Maddy as a strong and independent woman. Henry continues this portrayal in this book as well, and despite Maddy’s apparent knack for becoming a target for destruction (and miraculous recoveries), she endures it all. This makes the development of a love triangle hard to bear, especially when Maddy makes precipitated decisions at every turn. It seems difficult to believe that she would not be sure of herself or would continue in uncertainty for so long. This volume is not the conclusion to the series, and so this and many more questions remain unanswered and somewhat abruptly suspended.

Despite the wearying pacing, Henry continues to unfold a complex and engaging universe. The monsters and mythological creatures encountered are dark and delightfully horrifying. And in a universe where darkness permeates every page, Henry succeeds in imbuing her main characters with that same complexity and darkness present in her narrative—characters grow, some change their alliances, others become more powerful. Because of some of the content, this book would be more appropriate for mature young adult and adults. For those readers who are new to the series, the intricacies of the plot may be confusing and therefore, starting at the beginning of the series is recommended.