Hi all, this is me popping in sometime after midnight with a review and much mumbling about missed sleep. I’m rather excited lately as classes seem to be getting off to a good start and I finally managed to find some red bean mochi and enough espresso Monsters to keep me for a couple of weeks.  Going to be job hunting for the next while, so my review schedule will still be a bit patchy for until I find employment.  That said, on to the review.

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

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