Monday, August 10, 2009

Review: Darkness Calls by Marjorie M Liu

*********************** SPOILER ALERT ***********************************

For those who haven't started this series, be warned that there are spoilers ahead. As always I will try to keep them to a minimum, but this is a series that builds on the information given in previous books.

Published: July 2009 by Ace

Number of Pages: 303

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Stand Alone/Series: Book 2 of Hunter Kiss series
Prequel: Hunter Kiss novella in Wild Thing anthology or e-book
Book 1: Iron Hunt

Why This Book: Iron Hunt was one of my best of 2008 so this was a must read for me. And I really enjoy reading Marjorie M Liu stories.

From the Author Site:
They are the obsidian shadows of my flesh - tattoos with minds, hearts, and dreams. By day, they protect me. But when night calls to them, they leave my body, dissolving into their true form - as demons…
Nomad born and bred, demon hunter Maxine Kiss has always relied upon herself to fight the darkness that surrounds her, the predators-human, zombie, and otherwise - who threaten the earth. But one man has penetrated her lonely life: Grant, the last of his kind. With music he is able to control any living creature…including demons. And now his life is in danger.

Haunted by the past, determined to change the future, Maxine soon understands that to save Grant, she has only one choice-to lose control, and release her own powers of darkness…

Read excerpt here.

Heroine: Maxine Hunt is the last of the Wardens and the Veil that keeps the demons from entering this dimension is failing. But the Veil isn't Maxine's only problem, there is yet another rogue Avatar on the loose causing all sorts of havoc and mayhem, killing and destroying and must be stopped. If that isn't enough, there is also a darkness growing within her and one that threatens to destroy all that she is as well as hasten the end of the world. And the end of the world is coming, that is inevitable. But as to what end, it will be up to Maxine to decide.

Hero: Grant Cooperon is a Lightbringer. But he must find out what that is and who it will make him. He always thought he knew his history but now he past is covered in mysteries. It's no longer just Maxine's war but his as well. He must face the darkness, both in her and his murky past, and hope to come out sane and safe on the other end. Grant truly loves Maxine and knows that she probably won't grow to be an old woman but will die in her prime. So he writes a letter to the daughter they may one day have. One that he might not know. You can read it here.

Other Notables:
Jack Meddle aka the Meddling Man aka Old Wolf: Maxine's grandfather and an Avatar. Maxine's lineage was always from mother to daughter for countless generations with no mentions of fathers. Now that has changed in part due to Jack being an Avatar. The Avatars created Maxine's lineage and they fear what they had created. But by mixing her bloodline with that of an Avatar, he created something else. What and who is still a mystery and something to be feared.

The Boys (Zee, Raw, Aaz, Dek and Mal) aka Hounds: Maxine's eternal family. The family handed down from mother to daughter since the beginning of Maxine's line. By day, they reside on Maxine's skin as tattoos, making her invulnerable. By night, they are her guardians and aid her in her battle. But they have secrets, secrets about Maxine's past as well as the secrets of her complete bloodline. Very dangerous secrets.

Review: Another wonderful story by Marjorie M Liu. This is not like the her Dirk and Steele series. This is urban fantasy at its best! Dark and gritty with insurmountable odds and a no win situation. The end of the world as we know it coming, and it is inevitable. The how soon and who will do the destroying is what Maxine controls. There is no happy ending. Just more darkness ahead.

The story picks up pretty much right after the end of Iron Hunt. Maxine is still living with Grant Cooperon in Seattle. And still wondering about whether this was a good decision. She truly cares of Grant but being a nomad was bred into her. Being in one places still makes her itch. Her newly found grandfather, Jack, is missing. And strange events are pushing her and Grant into what they know is a trap but they must go anyway. The darkness grows and the end is coming closer.

The story continues in its first person narrative but this installment is action packed from beginning to end. The novella and first book did much more of the world building and character development. Those who did not enjoy the first book should really give this series another chance. The narrative style of this book is more action related and less of Maxine's internal turmoils.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and it is definitely going on my best of 2009 list. I liked how there was a no win situation. Its darkness and grittiness was refreshing as well as dealing with the issue of knowing that you have to do what you have to do and deal with the consequences later and that everything has a price. I can't wait for the next installment. The novella Armor of Roses will be included in the anthology Inked coming out in January 2010.

What I liked best: I love them boys! Even though they are countless centuries old, they are still children. They look to Maxine for love and support while still protecting her anyway they can. They add just the right touch of lightness to the story to keep it from being too overwhelmingly dark. Their baseball fascination as well as their love of Bon Jovi and teddy bears keeps you smiling even through the darkest parts of the book.

What I least liked: Nothing. Loved every word of it. Appropriately hated the villains as well as cheered for the good guys even when they weren't so good.

Keeper?: Yes

Recommendation: This series is best read in order. Although some have read this book without reading Iron Hunt or the novella Hunter Kiss and still enjoyed this story. For those who didn't enjoy the first book, truly consider giving this series a second chance.

Grade: A+
Series Grade to Date: A


Mandi said...

I sooooo want to read this author. Great review!

Cybercliper said...

Great review. I read the novella Hunter Kiss in the Wild Thing anthology and loved it. I have Iron Hunt and Darkness Calls on my TBR pile but haven't made it to them yet!!!

Aymless said...

Mandi: Yes you need to read Liu!

Cybercliper: You should move them up on the TBR.

orannia said...

Thank you Aymless :) I attempted to read the novella Hunter Kiss last year, but it didn't hook me. However, your review has me torn. Do I need to read the novella to make sense of the first book?

Aymless said...

O: the short covers a some key world building, I think it makes the 1st easier to understand.

Katiebabs a.k.a KB said...

This was my first book by Liu and I was blown away. More Maxine and her boys please!

Aymless said...

KB: I like her Dirk and Steele series as well.

orannia said...

Thank you Aymless :) I know the library has it (the short story and the first book) so I will hunt the short down....


Copyright 2007 ID Media Inc, All Right Reserved. Crafted by Nurudin Jauhari