I just finished reading Black Wings by Megan Hart, and I have to say it was a damned good read. The premise is one I’ve seen before; genius kid turns evil and cooks up a wicked scheme of some sort or other. However, while the overall theme might not be original, I thought Hart did an excellent job of taking that trope and making it her own. I was kept guessing as to the direction the story would take, almost until the conclusion.
The story centers around Marian Blake and her relationship with her daughter, Briella. Briella is an off-the-charts level genius child who, after having trouble fitting in with her classmates and struggling with a public-school system unable to meet her needs, is transferred to Parkhaven, a special school for highly gifted children. Creepy and worrisome events begin to take place, and Briella starts down a dark path.
As I mentioned earlier, Hart does a great job of unfolding the story without giving out much as to what will be coming next. I remember closing the book at one point and thinking that there were at least four or five directions the story could be going. I won’t go into detail, no spoilers here, but the story, at different points, looked like it could possibly become a dark urban fantasy, a ghost story, a tale of possession (of sorts), a creepy cautionary tale, or perhaps sci-fi horror. The novel ended up having bits and pieces of all that, but ultimately the story removed all those hats and forged its own identity.
I read the last forty pages in one sitting. The tension was high enough and the mystery of what was going to happen kept me going till the end. The ending…well, it blew me away. I did not see it coming, yet in hindsight, it was in keeping with the characters’ personalities and should have been patently obvious. Kudos to Megan Hart for a skillfully woven tale that kept me guessing.
I recommend this book to not only fans of horror fiction, but to anyone who enjoys a good story. More than anything else, the novel centers around relationships, and the effects that one’s actions have on the relationships with other people. Hart did an excellent job of exploring the personality and motivations of all the characters involved, giving us a well-rounded cast of three-dimensional individuals. I give this story four stars.
Disclaimer: Flame Tree provided me with a free advance reading copy of the novel, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any compensation, other than the book, for this review, and the thoughts and opinions expressed herein are completely my own.