Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Review: A Wild Light

A Wild Light
Marjorie M. Liu
Urban Fantasy
Hunter Kiss/Book 6 (3 novellas)
Ace/August 2010

From the back cover ~

Obsidian shadows of the flesh... tattoos with hearts, minds, and dreams. By day, they are my armor. By night, they unwind from y body to take on forms of their own - demons of the flesh, turned into flesh.

For too long Maxine Kiss has felt an inexplicable darkness inside her-a force she channels into hunting the demons bent on destroying the human race. But when she finds herself covered in blood and crouched beside her grandfather's dead body with no memory of what happened, Maxine begins to fear that the darkness has finally consumed her.

With blood on her hands and her sanity in question, Maxine must face the truth about who she really is and embrace the love of the only man who can help her - before she loses what she cares about most: her family.

Happy Birthday Maxine! To celebrate Maxine and her odd assortment of family members get together for cake. But in Maxine's world a simple birthday party can turn to something dark and dangerous. This time it's a family member who is the victim. Maxine must figure out what happened and why she has no memories of the man she loves.

Why do I not hear more about this series? Liu is an amazing author with the gift of bringing her world alive for the reader. And why haven't I started her Dirk & Steele series? I have the first 6 or 7 books, seriously need to start that series. If it's anything like the Hunter Kiss series, I will be one happy reader.

Maxine Kiss is the kick ass heroine who sports tattoos all over her body, at least during the day. At night those same tattoos come alive in the form of Zee, Raw, Aaz, Dek and Mal. I adore these guys! The boys are well developed characters with their own unique characteristics, even though Zee, the leader, is the only one that talks and he is stingy with words. I love how Maxine interacts with "her boys", treating them as family, trusting them completely and loving them as only a parent can.

The boys are demons who help Maxine hunt zombies. These zombie are not your risen from the dead type but humans who are possessed by demons. Maxine exorcises the zombie out of the humans and the boys eat it. In fact, the boys pretty much eat anything. In A Wild Light we find out more background on the boys and Maxine's. The plot is fast paced with a complex world that Liu keeps in check with her ability to make the complex flow in a logical path, while still maintaining that uniqueness that sets it apart from other urban fantasy worlds.

The heart of the story is Maxine, Grant and family. After the murder, Maxine's memories of Grant are buried deep, leaving Maxine to question her ability to trust him. Grant shows his patience and intelligence when confronted with Maxine's memory loss. He continues to reassure her of his love, even while we see it hurts him that she doesn't remember him. Maxine gets to experience some of her "firsts" with Grant all over again. Still, she is unsure of herself and her reactions to Grant. It was sweet and touching, showing a side to Maxine we don't see often. If there was ever any doubt that these two belong together, it was laid to rest. They are, despite their differences, a solid couple that work well together.

The family of misfits all have their strengths and Maxine needs their help. In learning why Jack, her grandfather, was killed, Maxine discovers more about her ancestors and the boys. The pieces of the puzzle start coming together and Maxine is put in a tenuous position of making a decision with far reaching consequences. One of the things I like about this series is that everything isn't always black and white. There are many shades of gray and Maxine is aware that she could slip into that gray area, that she might have to if only to keep the darkness within her from taking control.

The series is different from many UF series in that it has a very lyrical feel to it. Liu has an ability of describing the characters and world in such vivid imagery, giving them life in a way only a gifted author could. I would say this is heavier on the fantasy, with characters moving through time and space, facing creatures that are not of our world no matter how much they want to be. Definitely a series I recommend.

Rating: A


  1. Wow, Leslie. What a fantastic review. I have been curious about this Liu series since it first came out and I believe I even have the first 2-3 books thanks to my book fairy! And you're right! Why aren't more readers blogging about this series? It sounds so good!

    And why haven't I started her Dirk & Steele series? I have the first 6 or 7 books, seriously need to start that series.

    OMGOSH! Me too!!!!
    I feel a 2011 reading challenge coming on ... what about you?

  2. Christine ~ This is one of my favorite series but I don't hear much about it. If you already have the books, then definitely give it a try.

    Are you already thinking about challenges? I have so many series sitting on the tbr pile - it would certainly make a good challenge!

  3. It happens with some authors. It seems that they are big one moment and the next, we don't really hear from them anymore... but I think part of the issues with Ms Liu is that she was with Dorchester... although she was one of the lucky ones who were able to switch to Avon.

    Hmmm, I know you love this series... I wonder if I kept book 1.

  4. Nath ~ the whole Dorchester thing really left some author's in a bad situation.

    Did you read book 1 & not like it or couldn't get into it? I don't remember. :)

  5. Leslie, I know what you mean! I read the novella that introduced this series and really loved it! I meant to go on with this series, and then... well... it just fell through the cracks. But it sounds SO good!

    I must give it a shot! Great review!

  6. Hils ~ If you liked that first novella you should like the rest of the series. Liu's writing is just beautiful.