A Wild Light
by Marjorie M. Liu
Reviewed by Nu Yang

Being a demon hunter has taken its toll on Maxine Kiss, the heroine in Marjorie Liu's Hunter Kiss novels. In A Wild Light, the third book in the series, Maxine is forced to confront the darkness inside her. When Maxine finds herself covered in blood next to her grandfather's dead body, she fears the possible evil residing in her may have awakened. The only problem is she doesn't remember what happened. I gobbled up the first two books (The Iron Hunt and Darkness Calls ) last summer, so I was excited to read the next installment and meet the characters again, especially Killy (a psychic ally) and Father Lawrence (a werewolf ally).

Although I enjoyed the mystery and the plot of A Wild Light, I was not a fan of the amnesia storyline. Maxine pretty much remembers herself and her powers. The only thing she doesn't remember--besides the moments before her grandfather's death--is her lover Grant Cooperon. I found it was more convenient for the author to have her heroine not remember her lover in order to develop the relationship and romance. As I mentioned, I already read the first two books in the series and I was aware of the love story between Maxine and Grant. To have Maxine forget Grant was sad, but the memory loss should have stayed tied in with the central storyline of her grandfather and Maxine’s possible responsibility for his death. 

The book moves the series along, answering questions on the origin of Maxine's powers and at the same time setting up future conflicts and storylines. I only wish that we got to see more of the secondary characters like Killy and Father Lawrence. 

What I always like in Liu's books is her world building skills. She does a great job with creating her magical system and sticking to the rules. I love that Maxine's demon tattoos come to life (and that each demon has a distinctive personality). I love that Grant can see auras and uses sound through singing to manipulate energy. I love the idea of zombies, Reaper Kings, and the Blood Mama, queen of the zombies. A Wild Light is not your usual dark urban fantasy story. Sure, it has the same elements as others in the genre, but its unique world and magic system sets it apart.

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