Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Release Day Review: A Wild Light

A Wild Light
Hunter Kiss, Book 3
Author: Marjorie M. Liu
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Ace (7/27, 2010)
Available from Amazon

Summary: For too long Maxine Kiss has felt an inexplicable darkness inside her-a force she channels into hunting the demons bent on destroying the human race. But when she finds herself covered in blood and crouched beside her grandfather’s dead body with no memory of what happened, Maxine begins to fear that the darkness has finally consumed her.

I read my first Hunter Kiss novel several months ago, and loved the dark urban fantasy series. I asked for a review copy of A Wild Light from the publisher in time for the release day today. The author has given the readers a third book that answers questions raised in previous books, but has also given us new mysteries and developments. Maxine continues to discover who she is and what her role is in the world. The series is such a fascinating look at the heroine and what sacrifices are necessary and which ones are only perceived that way. We tend to protect ourselves from pain, and those we love, sometimes pushing them away instead of communicating our feelings and fears. Though Maxine is in a battle against evil, she is also a woman. Some needs can't be ignored, and if they are, a person can't maintain a healthy frame of mind. I think this is a constant struggle for Maxine, as she tries to hang on to her humanity and compassion while fighting evil.

A Wild Light is a dark urban fantasy in a gritty setting with murder and mayhem. The battles are often ugly, and people are not what they seem. I'm reminded of epic fantasy books that raise philosophical dilemmas of right and wrong, while giving us some kick ass fight scenes. The Boys, Maxine's demon sidekicks, provide the reader with humor at unexpected times, and offer touching moments as well. They bring to mind that old adage "Don't judge a book by it's cover" as we find out more about their past and why they are with Maxine. The author has a mean wit that keeps the book from becoming too dark as things spiral out of control.

You could read A Wild Light without reading the series, but I think you would miss so much of the characters' growth and the journey they've been on since the first book, that it wouldn't be near as satisfying.

Fans of Vicki Pettersson, Stacia Kane, Dakota Banks and Rob Thurman will love Marjorie M. Liu without a doubt. The series is one to read over and over as new developments come to light, and the characters get under the reader's skin.

Find out more about the author and her books on her website here.

Release Day Review: Waking the Witch

Waking the Witch
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Pub. Date: July 27, 2010
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Hardcover, 320 pages

Summary: The orphaned daughter of a sorcerer and a half-demon, Savannah is a terrifyingly powerful young witch who has never been able to resist the chance to throw her magical weight around. But at 21 she knows she needs to grow up and prove to her guardians, Paige and Lucas, that she can be a responsible member of their supernatural detective agency. So she jumps at the chance to fly solo, investigating the mysterious deaths of three young women in a nearby factory town as a favour to one of the agency’s associates. At first glance, the murders look garden-variety human, but on closer inspection signs point to otherworldly stakes.

I requested a review copy of Waking the Witch in time for the release because I had heard good things about it, and was fascinated when I heard it was a crossover to Young Adult. I've read one other Kelley Armstrong book, that I bought and I have her first book, Bitten, on my shelf. I mention this because I felt Waking the Witch was a fine choice for a stand alone novel if you haven't read Ms. Armstrong's other books.

Foremost, I would classify Waking the Witch as a solid mystery novel. We have three murders, numerous suspects, small town cops, one big city detective plus our PI and main character Savannah, trying to sort through all of it for truth. The story is a fast paced, action filled read. I finished it in less than 24 hours because I couldn't put it down.

The main character Savannah is smart, independent, caring and she's a smart ass. Who wasn't at 21 years old? I thought her struggle to do what is right vs. her first instincts fascinating. For the romance fans reading this review, there is some sexual tension, as well as a relationship in Savannah's life that will leave readers wanting to know more.

Is Waking the Witch a "crossover" YA novel? Yes, I think you could say that, keeping in mind that the subject matter is for mature teens and there is some rough language. This would be a great book club choice to be read with young women and older women sharing their thoughts. There are instances of infidelity, betrayal, and choices made for the wrong reasons. There are also examples of unconditional love, friendship, loyalty and belief in ourselves. Yet, these lessons come wrapped in a cool, twist filled plot with magic, mayhem and murder.

I recommend Waking the Witch to fans of Claudia Gray, Kat Richardson, Patricia Briggs and Chloe Neill. Today is the release day in the United States, so pick up a copy online or at your local bookstore.