Review: The Iron Hunt by Marjorie M. LiuThe Iron Hunt by Marjorie M. Liu
Series: Hunter Kiss #1
Published by Ace/Roc on 2008-06-24
Pages: 320
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Source: Purchased myself
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By day, her tattoos are her armor. By night, they unwind from her body to take on forms of their own--demons of the flesh, turned into flesh. This is the only family demon hunter Maxine Kiss has ever known. It's the only way to live, and the very way she'll die. For one day her demons will abandon her for her daughter to assure their own survival--leaving Maxine helpless against her enemies.

But such is the way of Earth's last protector--the only one standing between humanity and the demons breaking out from behind the prison veil. It is a life lacking in love, reveling in death, until one moment--and one man-- changes everything...

Thoughts: The first line of this book was so damn good, I actually tweeted it. At the time, I thought, “This is going to be the perfect Urban Fantasy.” Unfortunately, I was proved wrong. And it truly is unfortunate, because this really really could have been a great book.

Ok, let’s start off with the prose. In UF, I tend to see the writing as a means to an end. If I become attached to the characters and understand the universe = good writing. But if the characters fall flat and the plot holes start showing = bad writing. There are numerous exceptions to that rule, but on a whole it applies. But The Iron Hunt takes different approach – one that I consider characteristic of literary fiction: gorgeous sentences with a tangential plot.

Now, this could have worked if it hadn’t been for the fact that the plot became impossible to follow. The universe wasn’t that complicated and neither was the action – but Liu’s style meant I had to re-read simple dialogue scenes in order to understand what was going on! It required a level of concentration that detracted from the story and was, quite frankly, unpleasant.

And then there’s the story itself. In short: nothing special. There’s nothing original about Liu’s characters or universe – been there, done that. Our heroine, Maxine, was a bore and rather emo. Her supporting cast of demons could have been interesting, I suppose, but they were too simple to engage with. And then there’s the “love of her life”… by far the most yawn-inducing man I’ve ever had the misfortune to read about. Unlike most UF, Liu introduces her heroine in an already stable and loving relationship. Well, at least that’s what we’re told. From the 3 scenes he’s in, all I can tell is that he has the personality of a wooden plank. Can’t see what anyone would see in him.

All in all, a very disappointing read. I had had high hopes for Liu, but she didn’t deliver. She has the potential to be a fantastic writer. Perhaps her talents would be better suited to short stories or poetry… but she should stay away from Urban Fantasy.

Bottom line? Don’t bother.

Kay

Your ghost host at Dead Book Darling
Kay's been blogging about urban fantasy, young adult and werewolves since 2009. She's a firm believer in the many uses of the towel, the science of deduction and other fandom in-jokes. To support her book-buying habit, Kay keeps up a day-job as a science journalist (so feel free to ask her about Physics).

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