Darkness Calls (Hunter Kiss #2) by Marjorie M. Liu
Orbit (June 2010) | Paperback, 359 pages | Urban fantasy
Anyone who has read my review of the first novel in Liu’s Hunter Kiss series knows I was very disappointed in it. That is becoming a familiar theme as I’ve now read Darkness Calls. Don’t get me wrong, there is potential. Maybe that’s what grates on my nerves so much. I don’t think Liu does them justice. She has flashes of brilliance, but it never seems to follow through.
Maxine annoyed me in The Iron Hunt, and in Darkness Calls I’ve gone past annoyance and into…why? Take her out of the equation and write a book about her lover, Grant. Who is much more interesting and has more layers than Maxine has tattoos.
Grant is something called a Lightbringer; though that’s not really delved into with much depth; he can control people and demons through his music, he also has a brain disorder that means he sees sound in colour. He’s an ex priest who now runs a homeless shelter. He’s a little broken, he’s very powerful, and has a good heart–but you know he has the potential to go bad if he wasn’t so darn pure.
Thank god this novel revealed more about him because I’m not sure I could have gotten through it without him. I might not have liked all the directions Liu pulled him, but he captured my interest enough to want to know what happened to him next.
I know I shouldn’t let my feelings for the other book intrude on this one, but it was hard not to let them trickle over. Maxine had the potential to be just as layered and interesting as Grant, but, to me she spends too much time whining and letting her boys do all the hard work.
Her boys are the demon tattoos that peel off her skin as darkness falls. During the day they sleep on her skin and look like tattoos making her literally invincible, and during the night they come to life and help her hunt demons. They protect Maxine and are deadly in a fight. They’re funny; they love Bonjovi, and will eat you in a heartbeat if you’re a demon or a threat. I know they’re there to protect Maxine, that they’ve been passed down from mother to daughter for generations, but Maxine relies on them way too much.
From the glimpses we get of her mother that was not the case with her. There’s another story I wouldn’t mind reading. Maxine’s mother; even her grandmother are more interesting than her.
This novel was definitely more about Grant and revealing what he’s capable of, and that is what kept me reading, but again I had the sense like I was missing something vitally important, some kind of history or an explanation of Lightbringers that went into a little more depth.
I do like the established relationship between Maxine and Grant; I like the little looks, touches and intimate conversations that make them both seem more complex and real, but when reading about an established relationship I need the author to make me care about them, and about them staying together, I didn’t care enough about Maxine to feel like that. I felt like Grant’s mother saying ‘she’s not good enough for you!’ and then looking at all the other characters as potential girlfriends for him!
Personally, I’m not enjoying this series; there are plot points and character traits I just can’t get over. I feel like there’s some kind of missing chapter or footnotes that I never got, and that coupled with a protagonist I just couldn’t gel with made me an irritable, cranky reader. I wanted to know about Grant’s story, but I didn’t want to go through Maxine to get it. I can see why some people would love this novel, but I just wanted and expected more.
BOOKS IN SERIES ORDER
- The Iron Hunt
- Darkness Calls
- The Wild Light
- The Mortal Bone
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