Marjorie M. Liu
Let’s get the disclaimer out of the way. I was sent a copy of this book for review. I received no other compensation, and the review is my honest opinions of the book despite having attained it for free.
After reading “Waking the Witch“, I think I had some idea what to expect when diving into this “paranormal fantasy”. And yet, it was quite a bit different. Part of that is that Waking the Witch was meant as a YA novel, while I don’t believe that A Wild Light was. And there are some very distinct differences in writing style as well.
A Wild Light is the third book in the Hunter Kiss series of books. I dislike picking up a book in the middle of a series. As an author, I think it’s important to make your books stand alone even if they are in a series, but I think it’s also incredibly difficult. Jim C. Hines touched on this issue recently when discussing the backstory to his Princess series. So, as a reader, I hate picking up a book like this merely because I know there will likely be bits and pieces that I just don’t get or understand because I haven’t read the previous books. Such was the case here. The first several chapters alluded to situations that I believe happened in the previous books and likely would have added more to the story had I known exactly what it was that was being talked about.
Liu’s writing style is very meaty. You get a good feel for the way the character is feeling and what her thoughts are. Most of the characters are deeply written, with the exception of a few who I couldn’t help but feel had been explored in previous books. If not, it was a glaring omission, I think. There is very little interaction with the paranormals and the normals in the book, which I found a bit odd considering it is set in modern Seattle. I did find the concepts fresh (although that could be contributed to my lack of reading experience in this genre) and well written. The ideas and melding of the histories of the characters with lore was also well done.
Overall, the A Wild Light was good. I’m sure that fans of Liu and of paranormal fantasy will find it to be a very good book. The chief detractors for me were the lack of history and the lack of interaction with non-paranormal characters. The first is really more of a failing on my part for not having read the rest of the series. The second was likely a choice made by the author. And is likely not going to be a problem for most readers.