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A Wild Light: Hunter Kiss Book 3    by Marjorie Liu order for
Wild Light
by Marjorie Liu
Order:  USA  Can
Ace, 2010 (2010)
Paperback, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Book one of Liu's lyrical and imaginative series introduced Maxine Kiss as one of the few remaining Guardians tasked to guard the world from demons that are breaking free of a crumbling, otherworldly, millennia-old prison. Helping her are her boys - Zee, Del, Mal, Aaz and Raw - who by day, are tattoos that mark her entire body. By night, these markings writhe to dangerous life and become sentient creatures that protect and help Maxine track these escaped demons. Also by her side is her lover, Grant Cooperon, a man whose own peculiar magical abilities and enigmatic nature provides an interesting and provocative counterbalance to Maxine's character.

Over the course of the first two books readers learned of Maxine's background, of how and why her mother was murdered, and of course deeper aspects of Maxine's troubled personality, as well as the fact that she is the last of her kind and that, unless she has daughters, her family legacy will die with her. We also learn that each of her boys has a particular talent, most notably Zee, the most dominant of her demonic sidekicks, who's able to sense danger and who, in the opening pages of A Wild Light warns his mistress that there are 'whispers of trouble to come'.

Maxine doesn't want his dark murmurings to detract from her birthday celebrations and time with her beloved grandfather, Jack. But when she's found crouched beside his dead body the next morning, clutching a knife meant only for her touch, and with no recollection about Jack's murder, or more shockingly, her own past, it's up to Grant and the boys to help her put the pieces of her shattered life back together.

Liu's vivid imagination and world building, and her lyrical writing are certainly at the forefront here as Maxine, her boys, and the enigmatic Grant struggle to understand how and why her immortal grandfather was murdered. Through the course of their investigation, the boys are at their best, all of them an enthusiastic blend of child-like playfulness and curiosity, coupled with vicious protectiveness for their mistress, and clear affection for Grant.

For those readers who may not have read the first two Hunter Kiss novels, Liu also does a great job in filling in necessary details about Maxine's work and background as well as her relationship with Grant. A Wild Light is definitely a treat for readers looking for a fantasy that's a bit above the norm.

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