She's an Agent of Death who really needs to get a life.
As an Agent of Death, Madeline Black is responsible for escorting the souls of the dearly departed to the afterlife. It's a 24/7 job with a lousy benefits package.
Maddy's position may come with magical powers and an impressive wingspan, but it doesn't pay the bills. And then there are her infuriating boss, tenant woes, and a cranky, popcorn-loving gargoyle to contend with.
Things start looking up, though, when tall, dark, and handsome Gabriel Angeloscuro agrees to rent the empty apartment in Maddy's building. It's probably just a coincidence that as soon as he moves in demons appear on the front lawn. But when an unholy monster is unleashed upon the streets of Chicago, Maddy discovers powers she never knew she possessed. Powers linked to a family legacy of tarnished halos.
Powers that place her directly between the light of Heaven and the fires of Hell..
Eek! I read this years ago and now I'm just getting round to writing my review of it due to a massive backlog of review notes to turn into finished reviews! Still, better late than never I guess!
Maddy is the person who turns up when someone is scheduled to die to help the confused soul find their way onwards, a job handed down through each woman in a family. So she has no choice but to do her duty, just as her mother did until her death. Things seem to be looking up with the arrival of a new tenant Gabriel at the building she owns but it turns out that he is a bodyguard sent to protect Maddy from a demon that is eating souls before they can be moved on-the demon that killed her mother and best friend Patrick. Finding out that a demon is hunting you down is bad enough without being told your dad is Lord Azazel, one of Lucifer's fallen angels and that he wants you to marry a useless berk at his court called Nathaniel, when you really love your bodyguard.
The first thing I liked about the book was Maddy. She doesn't really have a social life, is irritated frequently by her boss, doesn't really want to do the job that she has and overall is finding things pretty dull. A lot of people could relate to that part of her life. Her only friends are co-worker Patrick and her popcorn addicted gargoyle Beezle, who is snarky, rude and funny! I would have liked to have seen more of Patrick in the story but with him dying early in it, it didn't really seem likely. Beezle, however, was just brilliant and I loved him! I want a Beezle of my own!!! I liked the characters that appear in the book like the boss JB and I personally want to slap slimy Nathaniel. Ugh! Who'd want to be engaged to that prat!
I am not a fan of any kind of romance in my urban fantasy as those who follow my reviews know. It takes well written stories by authors like Kelley Armstrong, Patricia Briggs and Jeaniene Frost for me to actually enjoy romance plots and root for the couples involved. I mean who doesn't love Clay and Elena, Mercy and Adam, Cat and Bones? This was one of the books where I actually liked the romance between Maddy and Gabriel and hoped that there could be a way for them to be together. For me it was an example of a love story adding to, instead of overshadowing the book plot so in this case I was ok with it.
I also am not a great fan of Courts in my urban fantasy-I avoid books with Fae Courts like the plague as I just find that kind of thing a bit dull. In this book Maddy does visit the Court of her father but it is a short plotline and didn't affect my enjoyment of the book. I just hope that the rest of the series doesn't revolve too much around the Court side of things.
There was enough action to keep me happy with lots of battles against various demons and civilians being under attack. There was the snark and humour which came from Beezle and JB. There was a bit of sadness about the somewhat doomed love affair between Maddy and Gabriel. There is the desire to punch Nathaniel. I think the book had a lot of interesting things to offer the urban fantasy fan. I found that I was quite engrossed in the plot and read it with few interruptions which is a sign that I'm enjoying it.
Overall I thought this was a good urban fantasy read with interesting characters. I look forward to seeing what happens in the rest of the series.
Read November 2012.