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Maxine Kiss is the last Demon Hunter on Earth, a hereditary position passed from mother to daughter when the mother (always violently) dies. In this book Maxine and her lover Grant have been targeted by an Avatar, a being of energy which uses human bodies as a skin to wear. Whilst her enemies certainly want Maxine dead, proven when someone tries to put a bullet in her brain just as the sun begins to rise but before her own demons have attached themselves to her skin, Grant is another matter entirely; someone or something powerful enough to completely destroy an Avatar.

Again Maxine kicks demon a** throughout this book whilst fending off assassination attempts orchestrated by the Catholic Church believing she will destroy the world. She is still hunting unanswered questions and dealing with additional issues, such as the growing dark power inside her and the mysterious ring she wears, aided by Old Wolf, Grant of course and the suddenly equally vicious Mary.

"Darkness Calls" is a far better and certainly a more cohesive read than its prequel; the confusing and jumbled "Iron Hunt". The plot line is far more structured and the reader can understand what exactly is going on despite the twisting story line, the leaps through time as Maxine again encounters her Grandmother in the past, and the secrets which are revealed which lead to further unanswered questions. This series is definitely worth persevering with and with an increasingly complex yet highly unique and interesting plot line, I eagerly await the next adventure Maxine Kiss and her posse find themselves involved in.
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Darkness Calls is the second book in the Hunters Kiss series by Marjorie M. Liu and I was looking forward to spending more time with Maxine and her "boys". I really enjoyed the first book The Iron Hunt but in my opinion Darkness Calls was even better. I like the fact that Maxine doesn't know the full extent of her powers and that we are discovering things alongside her. Although I enjoyed The Iron Hunt I did find myself getting confused by some of the plot twists but Darkness Calls was a much smoother journey and I didn't want to put the book down.

Maxine is a unique heroine and I love her "boys" - the demons who are there to protect her. During the day they magically attach themselves to her body in the form of tattoos and protect her from any harm - they can stop a bullet or any other weapon which comes in very handy if you're a demon hunter. At night the 5 boys Zee, Aaz, Raw, Dek and Mal peel from her skin and come to life - at times like children they are affectionate to Maxine and love to chew on teddy bears but they are also deadly fighters who will protect her no matter what.

We get to learn a lot more about Grant and his musical abilities in this book which is something I was hoping for after readinbg The Iron Hunt. Maxine obviously loves him deeply but she worries about putting down roots and the fact that the demons could use the people she cares about to get to her. It was nice to see Maxine's friends rally around her in this book though and I can't wait to read the next book in the series A Wild Light.
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on 8 March 2011
Darkness Calls is the second book in the Hunter's Kiss by Marjorie M. Liu, and I would like to tell you about the plot, but I honestly can't! I don't mean that to sound mean, and I'm conscious that it comes across as extremely negative - but I found Darkness Calls a tough read in terms of comprehending what went on. From what I can tell, a new Avatar is on the scene and wants to take control of the power wielded by Grant, Maxine's partner - who happens to be some kind of immortal Lightbringer (something that is never quite explained). It ties into the story started in the first book as the veil between Earth and the demon prison begins to fail, but this novel takes you through time and space, and introduces many supernatural elements.

I didn't like it. And yet I did. Marjorie M. Liu writes a sharp story, with absolutely beautiful prose, but I'm not quite comfortable on the journey. I don't know where she's going. I don't know what she's doing. I'm not even sure about the characters!

As an example of my confusion, take the relationship between Maxine and Grant. When we first met them in The Iron Hunt, they had already been together for a number of months, but we never actually saw the start of their relationship (I believe it is detailed in a novella by Liu). On one hand, I enjoy that, because it is fairly unique in paranormal fantasy. On the other hand, I seriously dislike it because I have no investment in their love - I didn't see why Maxine chose Grant. I didn't see why she decided to reveal her big secret. For me, this makes the relationship feel empty and therefore I don't understand why Maxine is willing to risk life and soul for this man.

Another aspect of the characterisation I find tough is that everyone seems to have some kind of secret power. We haven't met anyone who is normal - for me, this makes it hard to care about them. We see Avatars, Wardens, zombies, demons, Lightbringers - where are the everyday people who usually inhabit a tale such as this. It just adds to the clinical feel of the novel.

The emotional heart to the book was Maxine, and I genuinely enjoyed her confusion about her role and her conflicting desires to follow her mother's path and to stay in Seattle with Grant. I mean, I didn't enjoy the fact she was so torn, but Liu wrote it wonderfully and I would have liked to see much more of this, rather than the supernatural elements that imbued Darkness Calls.

In The Iron Hunt we veered a number of occasions into odd, dreamlike segments that seemed to come out of nowhere - in Darkness Calls this happens more often and hence my enjoyment in reading Liu's wonderful prose lessened.

So, overall, I firmly did not like Darkness Calls, but I am desperate to see what Marjorie M. Liu could do with a decent story.
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on 8 September 2010
Marjorie Liu has one massive imagination. Her books move along at a cracking pace and the "boys" are hilarious - they are obsessed with Bon Jovi and break into songs such as I'll Be There For You and Blaze of Glory, depending on the mood and particular action of the moment they find themselves in. Zee often nips off to fetch things like blankets and tents back - goodness only knows where from!

The Hunter Kiss series is certainly original - what with a heroine whose tattoos peel off at night time, making the boys come to life. I found The Iron Hunt a bit confusing and, like many other readers, thought the prologue to that book felt as if the book was a sequel rather than the debut of a trilogy. Also, in Darkness Calls, many a time the plot takes such twists and turns it's difficult to keep track of who is a demon, who a zombie, spirit and who created whom and for what purpose. The mysterious Mr King's first appearance in this book seemed a bit pointless. Still, it doesn't really matter. The author paints a rich and disturbing world and you can't put the story down. I'd recommend this if you like this genre.
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on 18 October 2010
As with other readers, I found this second book to be easier to understand than the first book, but still had moments where I re-read a section and my response was still 'eh?'. I think that this is sometimes due to the way that the book is written and the structure of the sentances. I've found that if I simply accept what's written on face value and keep reading, eventually all becomes clear.

That said, I am thoroughly enjoying this series and like all the characters, although I am looking for some depth in the coming books around some of the peripheral characters - Byron and Mary, in particular. We get a much better understanding of Mary in this book, but there are still a lot of questions. I like the pace of the book and the relationships between the characters. I am already reading the third in the series and am not disappointed so far.
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on 3 March 2011
I loved all these books, it's a great series. I found the humour was great and it was an amazing read, it sucked you in.
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on 29 June 2016
Enjoyed the book loads.
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