Why did I read it: I’ve really enjoyed this series and wanted to read the latest installment.
How I would rate it: 3 out of 5 stars.
When the bond Maxine Kiss shares with the demons tattooed on her skin is deliberately severed, the demon hunter is left vulnerable and unprotected. For the first time in ten thousand years, the demons have a taste of freedom. And as the little demons grow more violent and unpredictable, Maxine starts to fear they will lose their minds without her. Reuniting won’t be easy, since a greater temptation waits for these hellions: a chance to return to their lives as Reaper Kings, and unleash hell on Earth.
Review: This is a hard, hard review to write. It is one that I have tried to stave off by not finishing The Mortal Bone, but it wasn’t a long book and I’m done with it now. Which means I ought to review it. So here goes…
I’ve come to accept in Urban Fantasy series that the main character is always going to be absurdly special. I’ve also come to accept that said main character’s books are going to be in a constant need of more forward momentum which will often mean upping the ante. But at the end of the day, I cannot and do not think that raising stakes to the nth degree is necessary nor likely to improve the quality of any given book in any series I’m reading.
In the case of The Mortal Bone, I was just irritated beyond belief by the way things progressed throughout the first 100 pages or so. Part of me appreciated Maxine’s struggles, but part of me was really wondering why everything but the kitchen sink had to be thrown at her in a book that wasn’t even 300 pages long or likely to be the last book in the Hunter Kiss series. I will say it is an improvement on A Wild Light, which featured amnesia from a first person point of view, but I got really tired of Maxine having four minutes to save the world. Not to mention having the same old conversations about power, destiny, corruption, demonic morality, and responsibility. I am also not sure how much I like demons, Grant, and Maxine being made out of star stuff, but that could be because none of that was explained particularly well.
None of this is to say that The Mortal Bone was a horrible book with no redeeming qualities because that is patently not true. Not at all. Liu’s writing was as good as usual. By the end if not the beginning, there was a lot of heart to this story too in terms of Maxine and for Grant as well as the boys. I loved also seeing Maxine and the boys separate from each other as well as watching them make good and really bad decisions to protect themselves and each other. Their connection is touching and the boys are always fun to read about. Particularly when they’re eating teddy bears.
There were really wonderful moments sprinkled throughout that I loved, and some of the fight scenes were really well done. I just wish there had been more of an organic approach to character growth rather than constantly hurling plot grenade after plot grenade at the main characters. I also think that honing in on more personal issues and not just dealing with larger, world-altering ones would have given the book more dimension. Unfortunately there wasn’t enough of a real separation between the two sets of problems since more often than not anything personal was also world-altering.
In conclusion, good but not without some major flaws. I’m a little concerned about where this series will go since the stakes are rapidly running out of places to raise to, and I really hope the next book allows for more day-in-the-life sort of moments. That said, I will definitely be back for more.