Agent of Death Madeline Black can’t catch a break, deaths are happening outside of what should be, she faces attacks from both inside her own family...more Agent of Death Madeline Black can’t catch a break, deaths are happening outside of what should be, she faces attacks from both inside her own family and without, and dear old Granddad wants her to go on a diplomatic mission for him. A diplomatic mission to the faerie court where the last, better trained, diplomat was beheaded. Add to that her bodyguard’s disappearance and what’s a girl to do?
In reviewing Christina Henry’s Black Night I really wish that I’d taken the time to also read the first novel in the series, Black Wings. It wasn’t so much that this book didn’t stand on its own as that I felt a bit like the new person in a social group who has to have all of the in-jokes explained to them a few times before they get it. The first person may have had something to do with that, Madeline’s speech patterns can get a bit formal in places and she has a tendency to repeat her opinions regarding other characters every time they’re mentioned. Not that either of those are bad necessarily, just that they have the potential to throw a reader out of the narrative flow. There was a side plot involving werewolves dying outside of the natural order of death that could have been expanded on easily for another novel that was mostly left alone.
I’m going to admit that some of the sympathy for the devil aspects of the book threw me big time, this is one of the main reasons I wish I’d read Black Wings first. Madeline seems completely not freaked out that her father is a fallen angel and her grandfather is Lucifer himself. She gets bothered by their methods and the fact that they want to use her as a playing piece in some vast power play, but what they are doesn’t really seem to play into her reactions too much. I would have liked to have seen her initial reaction to finding this out.
There was enough courtly intrigue to make me really want to see the faerie queen, Amarantha, take a long walk off a short pier along with just about every other named faerie. Really, the faeries here seem to pretty well be an entire race of jerks with over inflated sense of self worth. I can’t say that I was a big fan of most of the side characters, but I did enjoy reading Beezle and Madeline’s interactions. Gabriel was probably supposed to be sympathetic, but he just came across as a bit of a nothing character or a pretty piece of scenery for Madeline to worry over. I’d want to see more character development for just about everyone down the road.
So, what’s the verdict? I enjoyed Black Night while reading it, but it isn’t terribly memorable. I get the feeling that I would have enjoyed it more as part of the series because the writing is fairly solid, but as a standalone novel it’s kind of bland. I give it a three out of five and a check through the local bookstores for the first one. (less)
Atira of the Bear values her freedom above all else. Heath of Xy would do anything to protect his queen. Both hunger for each other and maybe somethin...moreAtira of the Bear values her freedom above all else. Heath of Xy would do anything to protect his queen. Both hunger for each other and maybe something more. But trouble is brewing in the court of Xy and it will take all they have to uncover the players involved and find what is truly dear to them.
Keir and Xylara are headed back to Waters Fall for the birth of their child, but this isn’t their story. Front and center in Warcry are Heath, Lara’s childhood friend, and Atira, the plains woman whose leg Lara healed way back in Warprize. Both Heath and Atira were fairly minor characters for the first two books but the promotion to lead character doesn’t feel forced. Both are dedicated to protecting their leaders and each other. Both are stubborn and strong and they play off of each other really well. Atira’s temper meshes well with Heath’s level headedness and it was just hilarious to read his reactions to her teasing. It was interesting to see Atira’s reactions to the city and its people as well as her responses to Xyan culture. It was also kind of nice to see that she and Heath were, for the most part, on even footing when it came to fight scenes and verbal sparring.
I will admit that I was a bit disappointed with the villains. I understand that Lord Durst wants to avenge his sons and that he doesn’t want the royal family to mix with the conquers who killed them, but he also gets into using some fairly misogynistic language towards Lara and doesn’t seem to get why anyone would take offense to it. This guy’s supposed to be a powerful lord and the leader of a conspiracy? There’s also Lanfer, who was apparently Heath’s rival from childhood. He has no real reason to join the conspiracy; he’s just doing it to make Heath suffer. But why, I never got what Heath did to make Lanfer want him dead. There were a few instances of heroes holding the idiot ball, but those were forgivable due to circumstances within the novel.
I had a small number of problems following bits of some conversations due to not having read the third book, but it was more like having missed a few episodes of a soap opera than anything big. Warcry gets a four out of five for solid writing, likeable characters, and continuing the plot of the last three books in the series without getting stale. (less)
I picked this up because I wanted to read the sequel Wanderlust and it bothers me to read books out of order. We start off with Sirantha Jax, a jumper...moreI picked this up because I wanted to read the sequel Wanderlust and it bothers me to read books out of order. We start off with Sirantha Jax, a jumper who may or may not have accidentally killed everyone else on ship during her last jump. She is quickly saved from the corporation's mind torture by March and doesn't realize she may be in as much trouble going with him as she was just staying put when the rest of the cast is introduced. There is Dina, ship's mechanic and techno-voodoo lady, who had a thing for the ship's now dead jumper. Doc, who has a bit of a mad scientist streak, but is otherwise one of the nicest characters in the book. Loras, the rubber forehead alien with genetic pacifism, is just sort of there at the beginning. Then the story kicks off, and while everything is seen through Jax's eyes there is still an incredible amount of character growth all around. That alone made it worth my while to continue to the second novel. Add in plot twists that don't feel overly contrived and world building that feels like sitting and listening to a friend talk about a trip, and the book becomes one that I would suggest to any of my friends.(less)