A Wild Light is the third novel in the Hunter’s Kiss trilogy by Marjorie M. Liu, and concludes the ongoing story ARC concerning the veil being torn between the world of humans and the demon prison. Maxine Kiss wakes from a world of nightmares to discover the body of her grandfather next to her, covered in blood, and a man she doesn’t recognise who tells her they are lovers. What follows takes Maxine to the very limits of her emotional resources as she discovers the secrets of her ancestors and tries to close the veil for good.
Strangely, this was my favourite of the trilogy. After reading the first two books and feeling generally underwhelmed and confused, I was not really looking forward to the third but wished to read it for the sake of completism. I’m glad I did. Although it wasn’t great, it tackled some of my issues from the first two novels and presented a much more linear plotline.
My favourite part, by far (and has been my favourite all the way through), are the demons that inhabit Maxine’s skin as tattoos during the hours of sunlight and become corporeal when the sun sets. Dek, Mal, Aaz, Raw and Zee are terrifying and cute in the very same moment – fabulously characterful as they hum Bon Jovi hits in Maxine’s ears and eat cuddly teddy bears. Maxine’s curious relationship with her ‘boys’ is the true highlight of the trilogy, and I was pleased to see more secrets concerning this being revealed in the course of ‘A Wild Light’.
Marjorie M. Liu also deigned to explain more of the ongoing situation – dealing with Avatars, Wardens, demons and zombies. In The Iron Hunt and Darkness Calls, I found myself struggling to follow the events of the books – I understood that the veil was failing, but much of the detail was lost on me. In A Wild Light Liu recaps in a manner that illuminates many of the characters and situations so that my enjoyment was maintained through the whole novel.
My general impression of this book, and of the trilogy as a whole, is that it is written in stunning fashion but lacks a driving plot or any real tension. The concepts are wonderful – demons that live on the skin, zombie parasites feeding on pain – but they nestle in a trio of books that don’t truly go anywhere. It is all style and no substance. Marjorie M. Liu’s trilogy is beautiful but ultimately forgettable.
This review appeared originally on www.fantasyliterature.com and parts of it were used in a trilogy review for Vector.