Read Darkness Calls by Marjorie M. Liu Online

darkness-calls

View our feature on Marjorie Liu’s Darkness Calls.Demon hunter Maxine Kiss, inked with living tattoos, is on a mission to rescue the man she loves from a bloodthirsty army. To save him, Maxine has only one choice: to lose control—and release her own powers of darkness....

Title : Darkness Calls
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780441017300
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 303 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Darkness Calls Reviews

  • Kelly
    2019-01-03 04:31

    I loved The Iron Hunt, and was eagerly looking forward to the sequel. (Has it really only been a year?) I'm happy to report that Darkness Calls is a worthy successor. This time around, Maxine and her boyfriend Grant are being hounded by a mysterious group of religious fanatics and by a horrifically creepy being who introduces himself as "Mr. Erl King," a name that will probably be familiar to myth-geeks like me. Seriously, this is one icky villain. I'm feeling nauseous right now, just remembering some of his scenes. *shudder*Anyway, like The Iron Hunt, Darkness Calls features lots of action, some humor, quirky secondary characters, and plenty of nods to mythology and folklore. I enjoyed it quite a bit.Around the middle of the novel, I got briefly bogged down because I was a little confused about what was going on. Part of this was almost certainly my own fault. I didn't reread The Iron Hunt before starting Darkness Calls, and I'd forgotten some of the terminology and some of the world-building, which meant I couldn't always remember who belonged to what supernatural faction and who was trying to kill whom for what reason. Another aspect of the confusion was intentional. Maxine herself doesn't understand everything that's going on, especially not at first. The attempts on her and Grant's lives keep her running and fighting 24/7. When she does have the chance to take a breath and have a deep conversation, the "wise old sage" characters in her life are often more cryptic than helpful.This feeling of confusion passed quickly, though. I was captivated by the events leading up to Maxine's showdown with the Erl King. The climactic scenes are harrowing and highly emotional. As an added bonus, there are a few more Labyrinth scenes and mystic-vision scenes. These are where Liu's prose and the epic scope of her imagination really shine.Another thing that was done really, really well: the romance between Maxine and Grant. In The Iron Hunt, Grant was almost background. Maxine was dealing largely with her own personal demons (real and metaphorical). Here, Grant is an integral part of the plot, and so is the relationship between him and Maxine. Many urban fantasy series focus on the formation of new relationships, or on the dramatic turmoil of relationships in crisis. What Liu depicts is rarer in the genre: a long-term relationship that works. Maxine and Grant face tons of problems, but you get the sense that their love and commitment are a match for whatever comes their way.Read this and my review of The Iron Hunt at fantasyliterature.net

  • Carol.
    2018-12-30 02:31

    Three and a half stars. I found it even better than its predecessor, The Iron Hunt, however, it still suffers from some of the same narrative confusion. One of the less coherent parts of Lui's narrative is when she has Kiss, the lead character, unintentionally jumping through time and space. I think most of the confusion stems from Liu intentionally creating mysteries, in this case related to unknown abilities of a silver ring/sword she picked up in The Iron Hunt, but as a reader, it gets confusing as to where these abilities come from, why Kiss isn't more disturbed, are they under control, etc. There's a new challenge related to Grant's abilities, and why using them now is starting to cause extremely negative health effects. There's the mystery of Byron. And although the book is called Darkness Falls, there's only a little bit of mystery related to the "darkness" inside of Kiss. It is a very action-oriented book, so there aren't many points where Kiss has an internal narrative that clues in the reader as to how she thinks about these things and what the implications may be. I do like the Kiss character, her strong sense of identity, her mission, and her awareness that falling in love with Grant changed a lot of the expectations she had for her life. Her relationship with "the boys" is unique and fun, and the characters around her are interesting, although all of them seem to have their own little "mysteries" surrounding them. Maybe that's a narrative device to keep us reading, wanting to learn more and to put the pieces of the puzzle together, but Lui's story could use a little more filling in, so that readers weren't so lost.

  • Katie(babs)
    2018-12-20 09:33

    Darkness Calls is the second full length novel in Marjorie M. Liu’s Hunter Kiss series. This is the first book I have ever read from Marjorie and it certainly won’t be my last. I didn’t read the short story in the Wild Thing anthology that started it all or the first full length book, The Iron Hunt. Because of this, I had some reservations before reading Darkness Calls because I thought I would be confused. Marjorie is a wonderful storyteller and catches the reader up to speed. This is one dark and raw urban fantasy that makes your squirm. Some will probably not be able to get past the first chapter because the action is so gritty and a bit disturbing. Darkness Calls reads more like a horror novel, where as you turn each page, you are not sure who will end up dead next. Bodies don’t just end up on the floor, but are ripped apart with their blood and guts all over the place. Tasty right? With that in mind, I have to say that Marjorie has delivered a very original tale that grabs you by your throat and won’t let go.The character of Maxine Kiss is also very unique. Not only is she a hunter of zombies, demons and truly evil beings, but Maxine’s body is a wonderland of tattoos that come to life after dark. Her boys, as she calls them, are handed down to every female in her family from so many generations passed. These tattoos have their own names and personalities. Zee is her main bodyguard along with Raw and Aaz. There are also Dek and Mal who act like pelts on Maxine’s shoulders and in her hair. Dek and Mal enjoy humming Bon Jovi songs in Maxine’s ear. These five demons are playful but also very deadly. One minute they will play with teddy bear or baseballs, the next they will take down their victims and consume them whole. Maxine’s boys protect her at night and because of them, she is invincible. Not even bullets can harm her, until the daytime when they hibernate within her skin. Then she is vulnerable.Maxine has never stayed put in one place, mainly because of her mother who was a nomadic zombie hunter. They moved from place to place until the things her mother hunted ended up killing her. Now Maxine has roots in Seattle, Washington. Maxine wants to build a home, but it will take a great deal of patience on her end because she always has the need to run. There is one man who won’t let her run. He is former priest and in charge of the Coop, the local homeless shelter. Grant Cooperon is the complete opposite of Maxine. Grant has a brain disorder where he can see sound. He is also a lightbringer who can see people’s auras. Maxine has found true love with Grant. She thinks of Grant as her man. Calling Grant, “her man” is a lovely endearment that Grant graciously accepts. Maxine also thinks Grant is beautiful even though Grants walks with a limp because of a bad leg and uses a cane. He wants to build a future with her and hopefully have children. But if Maxine has a daughter this bloodline curse will be passed down. And Maxine doesn’t think she has much longer to live. Maxine’s lifestyle is harsh and deadly. But as long as Maxine has her boys and Grant, she has hope that she can stay alive.Things are never a dull moment and when a priest from Grant’s past finds him, he and Maxine will be taken on a very dangerous journey. This priest, Father Antony Cribari is a very sketchy character. He believes Grant is a monstrosity and was the reason Grant was kicked out of the priesthood and almost executed. Cribari wants Grant to come with him to China to save a dear friend of Grant’s who has been possessed by a demon and tortured and killed three nuns. Grant accepts even though Maxine has a bad feeling that he is being set up. Maxine can’t go with Grant to China because of her condition with her boys jumping out of her skin at night, so she remains behind.While Grant is away Maxine is caught unaware and is taken captive. Father Cribari is the one responsible and wants her dead. Maxine is able to escape but needs to find Grant and save him. Cribari works for a man, or rather one of the most evil of all, a Mr. Erl King. Is Mr. King Satan? That's up to the reader to decide. Whoever this King is, he wants Maxine out of the way because she is the key, one who can enter too and from the Labyrinth, another dimension or a wasteland that King wants to enter and take over.In this wasteland is Maxine’s grandfather Jack Meddle who is an avatar. He is her spirit guide and the one who can help her defeat King because at one point Jack was able to imprison him. But King was able to break free and is angry and wants revenge.Along with Grant, Jack and a few friends such as Father Lawrence and mind reader Killy who are sympathetic to their plight, Mary, a semi-deranged homeless woman full of hidden powers and Byron, a misunderstood teenage who looks up to Maxine, this eclectic group will take on Erl King even though they may not survive. And death will be the least of their problems if Erl King comes out on top.This is one book not for the faint of heart. The action is very intense and there are many scenes that deal with the psychological horrors that reside in all of us. Marjorie is able to make this all come to life with the supernatural and takes certain religion aspects, fairy tales and other myths and combines them where the reader will have quite the rush as they watch Maxine fight for her life and those she cares for. Maxine is another kick ass heroine that is so well known in the majority of urban fantasy I have read. What I really loved was that Maxine has a great network of individuals to be her back up. Where else have you ever read about someone’s tattoos coming alive and taking over almost every scene they are in? It seems so freakish because these helpful demons of Maxine are with her every second of the day. Makes for interesting times in the bathroom, doesn’t it?Maxine and Grant are very much a couple, but the intimacies they share are very subtle. These two are very set with one another. They are each other halves of their souls and I think if one died, the other would go into the afterlife to follow the other. All Grant has to do is look at Maxine and you will feel the deep love her has for her. And it also doesn’t hurt when he kisses her so desperately because he is not sure if Maxine will be alive the next time he sees her. Maxine is more the type to stand back and watch Grant. She is not as affectionate as he is, but you can still feel the love and chemistry she has for him, and he for her.Darkness Calls is one riveting book and Marjorie Liu is one hell of a writer. The desperation Maxine feels as she deals with her past and unknown future is one that will keep you reading and anxious for the next terror Maxine will have to endure.

  • Catherine
    2018-12-19 03:40

    This book, and the one before was really hard for me to rate. While I liked the characters, the plot and the action, I had a lot of trouble following the story. Although the concept was very good, as was the writing, there was just too much confusion about what was going on for me to be able to fully enjoy it. I’m not sure if this is because of all the time travelling, teleportation, and jumping between planes (as in dimensions, not the flying aircraft!) that it was very difficult for me to figure out what was happening and where the characters actually were. There’s also a lot of aspects of the background story that isn’t fully explained, rather it’s doled out in morsels here and there and you have to work at putting it all together yourself. I understand that it’s a good way for the author to keep her readers intrigued, but when it’s getting to the point where I don’t actually know what’s happening, then it’s going a bit far! It doesn’t help that for the majority of the book, (bearing in mind that it’s the second in the series), I still couldn’t fully comprehend what species Grant actually was, where he came from and what he does. The same goes for Maxine and her special powers. It’s also incredibly frustrating that characters who are supposed to be Maxine’s allies are being deliberately vague on a lot of things. That’s part of the reason why this book is so hard to follow, because the characters who know what is going on won’t spill, and I don’t really understand why. It’s like they’d rather let Maxine stumble through everything and work it out for herself rather than help her with it…not really much of an ally if you ask me. What redeemed this book for me is the fast-paced action and the potential for an amazing book if only the plot wasn’t so complex. Complexity is good, but keep it in moderation. Or maybe it’s just me and my lack of brain power and intellect that makes it so confusing, but that’s not really the point. I read the book and I was confused, so therefore I’m knocking off some points. Simple.So while I rated this book four stars, it was mostly for the action rather than the way the story is told. The book itself, I would probably only rate three and a half, but I am looking forward to reading the next in the series, if only for the action and for the boys, who I think is adorable. And to clear up any confusion, (just to show the author how its done) by boys I mean Maxine’s tattoos that peel of her body and come to life at night. They’re very fierce but very cute at the same time, I want some for myself.This book is more of an urban fantasy than a paranormal romance. It does have small aspects of romance in it, obviously Maxine and Grants relationship, but the story focuses largely on the paranormal rather than the loving. So definitely not something to read if you’re just looking for some fluffy romance, but a pretty good book with a good concept if you like strong heroine’s and a lot of butt-kicking.*Just to make it clear, this is the second book. I didn’t bother writing a review for the first one, but make sure you read that first or you’ll be even more confused than I am!

  • Kt
    2019-01-02 04:38

    When creepy Mr. King shows up, Maxine knows right away he is trouble, but she doesn't grasp just how much. Things get complicated when Grant flies overseas to help an old Priest friend. Since Maxine cannot fly on account of the boys, she has to find another way to go and protect Grant. However before she can even leave trouble finds her hard and fast. It becomes a deadly fight for her life and everyone she cares about, with much more at stake then she realizes.It makes absolutely no sense that Grant insisted on going overseas when he knew it was a trap. Actually a lot of the trouble the characters get into in this book could have been easily prevented if they had of just thought things through just a little bit. I found this really frustrating, as well as the fact that things are still pretty confusing. Maxine nor Grant still don't know much about what they really are, yet everyone else does. You would think their "allies" would want to tell them as much as possible considering their enemies keep trying to kill them for the "threat" the two of them supposedly are. The excessive mystery is annoying.I did enjoy the developing relationships in this book. Maxine was able to spend a lot more time with her grandfather and they seem to be getting quite close. Even though the boys have always been important to Maxine, in this book the motley crew becomes even more affectionate towards her. I'm not sure of the reason for the increased attention but it makes for really enjoyable parts to read. The bond between them is so thick. Maxine comments more than once that she always thought she would be alone except for the boys. However, now she is completely surrounded by love and support and I think that will really help her as she faces what is sure to come.I'm really hoping things will become more clear in the next book. The series has such a great potential but is quickly losing a lot of its appeal due to frustration and confusion. I really do love Maxine's character and the boys are absolutely adorable so I'm going to hang in there to see where her story goes, and hope for the best.

  • Donna
    2018-12-31 06:42

    Darkness Calls begins shortly after the ending of The Iron Hunt, the first book in the Hunter Kiss Series. You will find the same exquisite story telling style that was displayed in The Iron Hunt, and the action is pretty much non-stop from start to finish, gritty and dark in nature as before, moving at a faster clip than the first book. A couple of new characters are introduced, helping spice up the storyline and some answers are given to the questions left dangling from the first book.I want to say, I adore the boys! The boys, Maxine's living, demon tattoos, are indestructible, sharp as obsidian, yet soft and adorable at the same time. It depends on if they consider you friend or foe, which side of them you get to see. I loved how the boys would hum a Bon Jovi song that would fit the situation at hand throughout the book. It helped heighten the drama and give you a feel for that scene. "Their tiny claws pricked my skin like kneading cats, and their soft, high-pitched hum of Bon Jovi's "Social Disease" filled the air."Maxine's and Grant's roles are almost a reversal from the usual boy/girl relationship. Usually, you see the guy as the dark, brooding, kick your ass personality in the relationship but not here. That's Maxine's role. Don't interpret that as Grant is a pansy because he's not. Grant can definitely take care of his own and then some. Grant is Maxine's lighthouse when the waters are dark and rough.This series should be read in order, especially since The Iron Hunt sets the back story for the Hunter Kiss Series. As you can probably tell, I'm hooked on the Hunter Kiss Series, I'll be looking for the next novel when it comes out.

  • Sarah
    2019-01-02 03:40

    Darkness Calls is the second book in the Hunters Kiss series by Marjorie M. Liu and I was looking forward to spending more time with Maxine and her "boys". I really enjoyed the first book The Iron Hunt but in my opinion Darkness Calls was even better. I like the fact that Maxine doesn't know the full extent of her powers and that we are discovering things alongside her. Although I enjoyed The Iron Hunt I did find myself getting confused by some of the plot twists but Darkness Calls was a much smoother journey and I didn't want to put the book down.Maxine is a unique heroine and I love her "boys" - the demons who are there to protect her. During the day they magically attach themselves to her body in the form of tattoos and protect her from any harm - they can stop a bullet or any other weapon which comes in very handy if you're a demon hunter. At night the 5 boys Zee, Aaz, Raw, Dek and Mal peel from her skin and come to life - at times like children they are affectionate to Maxine and love to chew on teddy bears but they are also deadly fighters who will protect her no matter what.We get to learn a lot more about Grant and his musical abilities in this book which is something I was hoping for after reading The Iron Hunt. Maxine obviously loves him deeply but she worries about putting down roots and the fact that the demons could use the people she cares about to get to her. It was nice to see Maxine's friends rally around her in this book though and I can't wait to read the next book in the series A Wild Light.

  • Debbie
    2018-12-20 02:26

    Being raised to work alone, then finding a man to love and to keep as her own, Maxine Kiss never thought she would grow to trust and need others. Finding out that her man (Grant Cooperon) was also the last of his kind with special powers made the connection between the two even more difficult to understand. Now they have to try to get information from her grandfather Jack, a man that has not proved himself to be reliable in the past, and then find a way to stop the newest, or is it the oldest threat to humanity and this powerful couple.Book 2 ….. So much information, past and present are thrown together to relate more of the story of how and why the prison vail was created and why it is failing. The information and action are almost non-stop. This book was hard to put down (felt like you might miss something), at times it was so packed with info that I had to re-read sections to make sure I understood, but that was just because it was all happening so fast. Blood and gore action with several characters changing before your eyes, their growth was heartfelt and strong. There is a few new characters that I would like to see again (if Marjorie M. Liu does a third book of the Hunter Kiss series - I hope so). I want to point out that in this book, even with the blood and guts, it has a sweet sensitive side to it, but it is mostly about the action.

  • Athena
    2019-01-11 03:20

    Darkness Calls was a more difficult book for me than the first one, Iron Hunt. Like a lot of second books this one bridges to those following with a LOT of details & new characters in addition to the plot of this book itself. In this series it is important to read in order, if you haven't read the first book this one is going to be a very tough read.Darkness has some of the absolute creepiest scenes I've read in a long, long time. If these are Liu's nightmares I'm glad I don't live in an apartment near her because I felt like screaming a time or two at some of her descriptions; fortunately this didn't go on long. Erl King is by far the scariest character I've encountered in years.Liu continues to world-build in a big way with this book and I found it both difficult and effective: instead of just telling us a+b=q, she makes us live through the process along with Max and it's confusing as hell, just like real life is sometimes. I'm very glad my real life is nice and boring and doesn't feature any labyrinths or demons, but it's great fun in the end to read about it.

  • Gail
    2019-01-11 06:27

    Good read. Part 2 of this story. In this one, Maxine confronts the Erlking and an order of the Catholic Church that wants to kill Grant and Maxine. Confusing and hard to follow, IMO, but worth reading. I liked it.

  • Deirdre
    2018-12-28 03:19

    Took me a while to get into this and it's definitely a novel that takes some ideas from the past and moves things on but also adds things that will resolve later. Interesting.

  • Jen
    2018-12-30 05:24

    This review is a work in progress. I am having trouble focusing, and so am writing it in pieces. I am, however, completely focused on not starting the next book in the series until I get this review written! I may need to reread part of this book again before I can finish it, but hopefully it will be done today. :)(Please note that in addition to not having it finished yet, I also have not yet proofread it. Please forgive any spelling/grammar errors. I'll catch them before I finalize the review, promise!)The following spoiler includes some of the questions (in italics) I was left with after finishing book one, The Iron Hunt. These are the questions that were answered in this second book, as well as some other spoilers I feel the need to make about what I read. :)(view spoiler)[What exactly is Maxine? Is Jack Meddle truly her grandfather? Is she what she is because he's an Avatar?Maxine is apparently somewhat a mystery to everyone, though it did seem as if Mr. King recognized the darkness that lives inside her. Jack truly is her grandfather, but even he doesn't know if his being an Avatar in human skin somehow gave Maxine that darkness.The armor Maxine brought back from the labyrinth originally belonged to one of her ancestors. This ancestor was driven mad from either overuse of its transformative properties or from not being strong enough to handle these properties. The armor not only acts as a weapon; it also gives Maxine the ability to travel into the past and from place to place. It grows after each use. When Maxine first brought it back, it was a ring. Now it encases the whole of her right ring finger and threads up to connect to a bracelet around her right wrist. When it's a sword, the sword is connected by chain to the bracelet.Update: The Avatars actually gave the boys to Maxine's line. Hers was the first, and after giving that first Warden the demons, it was considered too dangerous and unpredictable to do again. (So Jack explained later in this book.)I'm beginning to suspect that Oturu has something to do with the darkness that's in Maxine, and that the darkness is connected to/strengthened by the armor. I'm also beginning to suspect that the following questions are moot points:Was it a vision or memory when Maxine saw herself/an ancestor with Oturu on a world with twin moons? I thought the seed ring was just her mother's memories. Has it instead been handed down through the generations from the first Hunter?I now think that the seed ring was just her mother's memories, and the armor is a different type of seed ring: it, however, is linked to the boys. And so Maxine can visit memories of events the boys were witness to, whether they were tattoo or demon.This supposition makes me think that Maxine's ancestor's bargain with Oturu was in exchange for the armor, and that the armor is demon-made. Were the boys being given to the Hunter line part of the bargain? After all, we now know that Maxine's line was originally counted among the Wardens. (According to Mr. King, her first ancestor was actually the first Warden the Avatars created.) But since Maxine's line is the only one still in existence, obviously not all the Wardens had demon companions/tattoos.How did Oturu and Maxine's ancestor hook up? Why did they bargain together? And why was Maxine so comforted in his presence?This book didn't give me answers to any of those three questions, but it did change them somewhat: How did Oturu connect with Maxine's Warden ancestor? Why did they bargain together and, if the Warden got the armor and/or the boys as her side of it, what did Oturu get? And why is Maxine so comfortable in his presence?Why did Ahsen call Grant a Lightbringer? And why was she so afraid of him? Also, is she truly dead and gone?Ahsen is truly dead and gone. This is both good and bad, though, since every Avatar that's left in existence can feel that she's dead, and so they might be after revenge against Maxine for killing her. She called Grant a Lightbringer because his synesthesia (and his ability to change the souls of those he sings to) marks him as a non-human being. Jack explains that Lightbringers were the first humans. Until Maxine, they were thought to be the only beings who could give the Avatars true death. They were also thought to be dead, as the Avatars believed they had killed them all.Grant somehow came to Earth from the Labyrinth. On their original world, his mother had extracted a promise from Mary to protect him. Mary is a nickname for Marritine. Jack rescued her from the Labyrinth and brought her to Maxine's world. Mary said she remembers Grant's mother and him being torn from her...Were they all three in the Labyrinth together and somehow Grant & his mother traveled to Earth while Mary was stuck behind?(hide spoiler)]This next spoiler contains questions left over from The Iron Hunt that I'm still hoping to find answers for in future books. :)(view spoiler)[Why was Tracker so angry with Maxine and her Hunter ancestor? He mentioned being traded to Oturu in a bargain, but what was the bargain for and why was he the prize? Did he gain the power to teleport and withstand extreme cold in the bargain, or has he always had these abilities? What's with the iron collar around his throat? Why did Tracker say he's Hunter's fool? Is this something to do with the Hunt? And why does Maxine have deja vu around Tracker?How did Zee, Aaz, Raw, Dek and Mal first meet Byron? Were they in Sicily with Maxine's grandmother or another of her ancestors? Why did Raw kill Edik alone? What happened at that first meeting with Byron to make him care so much about him being hurt?Why didn't her mother tell Maxine about what she would become? I suspect this is because she didn't know, as we found out in this book. So the question becomes. why didn't her mother tell Maxine that she was different? Also, why did her mother tear from her journal the pages that dealt with what happened the last time the veil opened? (hide spoiler)]And here are some entirely new questions I now have after finishing Darkness Calls:(view spoiler)[How did Grant's mother and Mary get separated? Why was Mary stuck in the Labyrinth while the other two escaped to Maxine's world? Did Jack know who Mary was when he rescued her? What is Mary? Was she the other part of Grant's mother's heart-bond? Is their separation what drove her mad? All the hints we were given about her past in her moments of clear-headedness in this book drove me mad! :)(hide spoiler)]

  • Anne
    2018-12-20 09:27

    I'm just guessing the year I read this - I just decided to add it b/c I'm considering reading the first book in the series at some point - and I want this one to register this one as read just in case I do :P Overall I remember it being a good book - I enjoyed it quite a lot - I thought the power was interesting the plot was fast paced and interesting

  • K Tilden Frost
    2018-12-19 04:35

    I love how Maxine has a romantic love and a romantic partner, but that's not a storyline in the book. her partner is in constant threat throughout the book, and they're working to protect each other, but it's not because they're lovers, it's because they're people. I love this entire series.

  • TheBookSmugglers
    2019-01-04 06:24

    Full Review LinkMaxine Kiss is a huntress; the latest in a long line of women sworn to protect humanity from demons that threaten her world. For generations, the women of the Kiss line have lived solitary lives, moving from town to town with only the “boys” for company – demons that live on the women’s skin by day as tattoos, ensuring that each Kiss woman is invincible, but leave their host’s flesh and come alive at night. Maxine has chosen to settle down temporarily in Seattle, largely because of her feelings for Grant, the compassionate man whom she has given her heart. Grant is one of the last of his kind, a lightbringer, gifted with the ability to see and manipulate people’s auras – and when a dark figure from his past shows up at his homeless shelter, beckoning him into a trap, Maxine and Grant are tested harshly, in terms of their power, and the lengths they will go to for each other.As in its predecessor The Iron Hunt, heroine Maxine Kiss is back in top form here with Darkness Calls – with even higher stakes, this time around. Maxine has some soul searching to do in this book, in terms of her chosen life forsaking the tieless nomadic existence of her mother and choosing to follow her heart, even when it means embracing the darker power she fears to wield. Maxine’s inner narrative and growth as a character is admirable here as she comes to grips with her own bloodline (granddaughter of an avatar, Jack the “meddling man”), and what her burgeoning powers mean. More interesting, however, is what we learn about Grant in this book – his past as a priest and the special nature of his own singular powers. Ms. Liu pushes her characters past dangerous lines, and, as the title suggests, explores their own darker natures. The introduction of another avatar, the Skinner, who has come to notice Maxine after she destroyed Ashan in The Iron Hunt is a fearful twist and makes for a terrifying foe that these characters must face together.One complaint that The Iron Hunt garnered in reviews across blogland concerned the writing style – and I will concede that Ms. Liu’s impressionist style in the Hunter Kiss novels inspires a love or hate reaction. I just happen to be one of those that love the clipped, almost poetic quality of Maxine’s narrative. For those that were turned off by the style in the first book, I would recommend giving Darkness Calls another chance as the tone is less confusingly abstract in this installment. Also, in comparison to the first novel this second book is much more action-centered and digs much more into characters and the dark implications of Maxine’s world – another compelling reason to give Darkness Calls a read for those who were disappointed with the pacing of the first novel.For my part, I highly enjoyed this novel, more so than its predecessor, and certainly recommend it to fans of darker urban fantasy. There are some delicious plot threads left open at the end of this novel, and I cannot wait to see where Maxine, Grant, and the boys are in for next.

  • Ryan
    2019-01-04 04:33

    Angsty hand-wringing, rambling storyline, and increasingly arbitrary and wildly overpowered magic system suck the color right out of this work. Plus a werewolf shows up! Ironic in light of my comments on the previous book. I managed to make it to 95% on the progress meter and that's when I realized I simply didn't give a crap any more. This is one of those books that I was kind of OK with until I started this review and discovered I am furiously angry with all the wasted opportunities.I found Grant and Maxine's romance to be increasingly unconvincing. Sure they're both badass and complement each other nicely, but I have real trouble with Grant's assertion that Maxine, yer bog standard socially isolated ultraviolent vagabond demon hunter, has the most beautiful soul he's ever seen. This is such classic Mary Sue. (I think it's telling that Maxine doesn't buy it either.)Additionally, the wangsting was a little overdone. I did like how Maxine occasionally pined for the simpler life of the itinerant exorcist, but (view spoiler)[I became increasingly frustrated that a semi-invulnerable woman raised from infancy as a dealer of death, equipped with a magic item that transports her through time and space (with occasional breaks to work on her mommy issues) and also summons a vorpal sword, was so pulingly indecisive. She moans about how she's gone soft (which she has) and how her training's deteriorated (which it has) and how her cover's totally blown (which it is), but does she take any action? Of course not! Instead she hangs out at Pike Place waiting to get kidnapped. (hide spoiler)]As for the ending, I guess I should sit down and write some stories so I can finally understand why so many people have trouble managing decent ones. (view spoiler)[It was really irritating to have the final showdown look so much like a Neverwinter Nights boss level, with the player character's entire party conveniently still alive and stashed around the sekrit lair to be serially rescued before the big fight. And then to defeat the bad guy Maxine fuses her soul to Grant's with the mysterious power of love or some other completely never ever mentioned before and extremely sudden vague fleeting crap so they can all turn into air or pixie dust or whatever, because Lightbringers are incomplete and underpowered (like that was a problem) without being "bonded" to their warrior soul mates blaaaarg! Tawdry and totally incoherent.Then there's the way Maxine drags her ever-expanding clutch of child surrogates through the whole story like a momma duck trailed by a row of ducklings, and despite the enormous amount of firepower thrown at them everybody is A-OK at the end (if not better!) I guess the sniper attack at the beginning really defined the theme of this story: nothing bad really happens, because magic! (hide spoiler)]

  • Amanda
    2018-12-27 03:23

    Darkness Calls is the second book in the Hunter’s Kiss by Marjorie M. Liu, and I would like to tell you about the plot, but I honestly can’t! I don’t mean that to sound mean, and I’m conscious that it comes across as extremely negative – but I found Darkness Calls a tough read in terms of comprehending what went on. From what I can tell, a new Avatar is on the scene and wants to take control of the power wielded by Grant, Maxine’s partner – who happens to be some kind of immortal Lightbringer (something that is never quite explained). It ties into the story started in the first book as the veil between Earth and the demon prison begins to fail, but this novel takes you through time and space, and introduces many supernatural elements. I didn’t like it. And yet I did. Marjorie M. Liu writes a sharp story, with absolutely beautiful prose, but I’m not quite comfortable on the journey. I don’t know where she’s going. I don’t know what she’s doing. I’m not even sure about the characters!As an example of my confusion, take the relationship between Maxine and Grant. When we first met them in The Iron Hunt, they had already been together for a number of months, but we never actually saw the start of their relationship (I believe it is detailed in a novella by Liu). On one hand, I enjoy that, because it is fairly unique in paranormal fantasy. On the other hand, I seriously dislike it because I have no investment in their love – I didn’t see why Maxine chose Grant. I didn’t see why she decided to reveal her big secret. For me, this makes the relationship feel empty and therefore I don’t understand why Maxine is willing to risk life and soul for this man.Another aspect of the characterisation I find tough is that everyone seems to have some kind of secret power. We haven’t met anyone who is normal – for me, this makes it hard to care about them. We see Avatars, Wardens, zombies, demons, Lightbringers – where are the everyday people who usually inhabit a tale such as this. It just adds to the clinical feel of the novel.The emotional heart to the book was Maxine, and I genuinely enjoyed her confusion about her role and her conflicting desires to follow her mother’s path and to stay in Seattle with Grant. I mean, I didn’t enjoy the fact she was so torn, but Liu wrote it wonderfully and I would have liked to see much more of this, rather than the supernatural elements that imbued Darkness Calls.In The Iron Hunt we veered a number of occasions into odd, dreamlike segments that seemed to come out of nowhere – in Darkness Calls this happens more often and hence my enjoyment in reading Liu’s wonderful prose lessened.So, overall, I firmly did not like Darkness Calls, but I am desperate to see what Marjorie M. Liu could do with a decent story.

  • Kathy
    2019-01-13 03:38

    I strongly recommend you read the previous book in the series, Iron Hunt, before reading this book. Maxine Kiss descends from a long lineage of born demon hunters; natural loners, who live nomadic lives. Breaking the cycle of her mothers before her, Maxine falls in love, settles down and commits to Grant.Grant is an ex-priest who runs a homeless shelter in Seattle. Grant has become Maxine's one oasis among a world of darkness. An ancient society of religious zealots tirelessly tries to capture Grant and kill Maxine, to get her out of the way.In the last installment we learned that Grant was the Lightbringer and in this installment we find out exactly what that title means. Grant's past comes back to haunt them both and turns Maxine the hunter into the hunted. Despite being relentlessly pursued Maxine and Grant share an unwavering bond that transcends multi-dimensions, space and time. With the inevitability of the veil that separates and imprisons most of the demon race falling, Maxine being the last of her kind needs allies more now than ever.I was fascinated with the creative and extraordinary idea that the origins of mankind are from another planet. Avatars who are incorporeal entities of thought, power and energy, floated aimlessly through space outside of time; discovered a labyrinth/backdoor to earth, manipulated and tinkered with human DNA to make them what they are today. However, Avatars were not the first to arrive on this planet; Lightbringers were already here. Avatars who mercilessly hunted Lightbringers thought them to be successfully extinct until they discovered Grant, the last Lightbringer.The story's world building and description of the characters, as well as the blow by blow of the plethora of action scenes were fluid, brilliant and vivid. I highly recommend this book and series to dark urban fantasy readers. However, I don't recommend this book and series to paranormal romance readers. This is not a romance in the least. Although the story does put some focus on Maxine and Grant's relationship, they pretty much come as a package, there aren't any "couples issues" per se and the sex is nil. I also look forward to the next book in this series Wild Light due out 7/27/2010.I also recommend:Enslave Me Sweetly (Alien Huntress, Book 2)Magic Strikes (Kate Daniels, Book 3)Angels' BloodSpiral Hunt (Evie Scelan)Greywalker (Greywalker, Book 1)

  • Cathy
    2019-01-09 10:33

    Very good urban fantasy, a bit stronger than even the first book. Lots of action offset by lots of heart. If you like kick-butt female hero stories, this series is for you. I love the creative explanation the author used for lots of mythological stories and critters (vampires, werewolves, harpies, angels, etc.) and how well she fit it into her very cool original story elements. The author is both more creative than most writers in the genre, and a very powerful writer as well. (And super pretty, although that's hardly relevant.) As for little details, I enjoyed the start of the unfolding of Mary's past, Grant's abilities, and Jack's story. I liked the hints about Maxine's abilities, family, the labyrinth, the armor, and whatever lies inside her. The boys were still a cool element, but I did wonder how they could help gather so much info for her while sleeping. I'm very curious to see Byron's story unfold as well. As you can tell, the secondary characters are very well developed. Even the creepy guys are very vivid and, well, creepy. Plus I enjoyed the boys' '80s music-lovin' ways, especially the nods to Bon Jovi. My only picky complaint is really the cover art. It still bugs me that a woman who always wears long sleeves to cover her "tattoos" is portrayed in a bustier, and that the tattoos are fake-looking tribal style without even trying to show anything like the boys. Even a few eyes would have helped. I don't understand why they paid for a model and cover shoot but couldn't pay for better photoshopping. It would also have been nice to see something resembling the armor on her finger. Totally picky, I know, but when you like a character, you look back at the cover to compare details and it sucks when they don't march up. At least she actually has brown hair and looks a little bit like she might have Asian ancestry. And the bustier shows off her back and not her boobs. It just always bugs me that books that are primarily marketed to women always have such provacative covers, even when it does not reflect the actual characters. What really scares me is that they might have focus groups telling them that they prefer this style, what does that say?Anyway, cover aside, it was a very enjoyable book that was well above the norm. Maybe not Kate Daniels level, but I'd say it's in the ballpark.

  • Shelley
    2019-01-03 03:15

    After exercising a demon from a man who just killed a small child, Maxine is shot in the head by an unknown being. Being shot in the head is an occupational hazard for those of Maxine's lineage; Hunters. In fact, being shot at, blown up, stabbed, bitten and beaten to a pulp are nothing new for Maxine Kiss. All part of being a hunter.Then the story gets interesting and those who read the first several Anita Blake novels will appreciate this storyline.First, Father Cribari, the person who wanted to kill Grant when he was a priest, shows up and tells Grant that his friend is in trouble in China and he is needed there. Of course, this is a trap that any blind person could see coming. Grant decides to go anway...DOH!Then the mysterious and evil Mr Jack shows up asking for the woman in charge and Maxine knows right away that Mr Jack is trouble and she is absolutely correct in her assumption. As Grant is flying to China, Maxine is kidnapped by Father Cribari's assassins who try to shoot her in the head right as daylight is approaching. The only time she is vulnerable.Of course, Maxine escapes and realizes that Grant is in trouble and she has to find a way to get there. Cribari, it seems, belongs to a group who believe that both Grant and Maxine are abominations and thus they deserve to die.They meet the mysterious Father Lawrence, who helps them escape and the mind reader Tilly, who ends up being a part of the group running away from Mr Jack and his minions who continually try to kill Maxine and Grant.This story had alot of action. We find out that Mary is not so drugged out after all, and is actually the same as Grant, a lightbringer. Maxine is now experiencing a true darkness within her, and it scares her to death. She also travels back in time to once again, visit with her grandmother and her mother. The scene with her grandmother happens after she is nearly killed by Mr Jacks minions.The ongoing story of Jack, her grandfather and an Avatar and someone who has alot of secrets that he keeps away from Maxine, is compelling and it can only go forward from here. We pretty much know that the relationship between Grant and Maxine will continue to be written into the storyline.

  • Selena
    2019-01-14 05:36

    3.5 stars"We have always known. We have watched, and waited. Dark Mother. Dark Queen. From your blood will pour the armies of the Last Battle, and the night will descend in your eyes. Your heart will murder this world."It has been five years since I've read the first book in this series so it was a bit confusing at first getting into this book. Nonetheless, this book is suppose to confuse the reader - Liu is an extraordinary writer, and she has shaped her story so that the reader will never have all the answers. In this book, Maxine is introduced to a certain priest who had worked with Grant in his past. Said priest believes Maxine's bloodline to be the one that will doom the Earth, and is trying to kill her. It is in this way that Maxine discovers the person, or the being that influences the priest - the being called the Earlking. This book, like the last, is dark. That is the best way I can describe it. It is dark, and gritty, and you'll have to trudge through the words on the page if you want to know what happens next - but it can be a difficult journey. Like I said before, Liu is an amazing writer, and she has a way with words, but this is a story that only have a few seconds of light before you are plunged into darkness again. Having said that, I must say that Liu's creativeness and imagination shows well - she has created insanely quirky characters, strong foes, and a bad-ass heroine that has her own vulnerabilities. I love our heroine, Maxine Kiss, a whole bunch. She's powerful, yes, but we readers already know that her power will only last so long before it is her time to die. I loved the idea of the line of female hunters, destined to forever protect the Earth until the day their demons abandon them for their daughters. I found the idea of the old gods - the manipulators of the organic - to be fascinating, and the Labyrinth to be a mystery that I cannot wait to be revealed. Yes, it was a long journey attempting to read this book, but it was well worth it.

  • Shannon
    2018-12-17 09:16

    POSSIBLE SPOILERS BUT YOU ARE NOT MISSING THAT MUCHOk, I find that there are a few key elements in a good UF series that keeps me hooked. --Action. Pleas give me realistic blood. I do not want to experience sprays of blood with every back hand, but lets not pretend that most UF characters dont have dummy strength, so blood is expected. --Romance. I love it when the main characters are caught up in a love triangle that is at least realistic, not the princess is betrothed to the handsome prince who only wants her womb and dowry but she is in love with the daringly handsome and socially unacceptable stable hand. I want two equally matched men that would make it hard for ME to choose between. (Rachel Vincent had it perfect in the Faythe Saunders series)And lets not avoid the sex please!!! I know it happens in everyday life for a majority of the population but is every eye connection going to be orgasmic, absolutley not. --Plot. Do I need to emphasize that its important to have a believable plot. Even if it is UF. My imagination is humongous, but if there isnt even a steady paranormal explanation for something then off with its head!!!--Dialogue. I love witty humor and strong heroines that are not afraid to say what they think. Speak your minds, but do not expect to beable to call everyone out with a little backlashNow with that said, and if you're still reading then thanks for putting up with my rant, i will say that this book, and possible the entire series, is scoring so freaking low in all of these categories that its depressing. The action is flippant and hard to imagine that it doesnt stick. The characters are hard to connect to, sorry but they are. The story line is like trying to untangle necklaces after they have been jumbled around in your jewelry box and the main character is so hard to be emotionally bonded to that the book was a complete waste of my time. Big E for effort.

  • Cindi
    2018-12-19 10:38

    The melody of Marjorie M. Liu's writing is astounding and a significant part of the story, Darkness Calls. Without the twining lyrics of it, this second Hunter Kiss novel would be the same as many other Urban Fantasy works I've read. But Ms. Liu's "good vs. evil" is agonizingly portrayed with exactly the right word precisely where needed, and the "bad" is made bearable but more realistic by the verbal detailing of Maxine Kiss' mental struggle. Her life is one series of struggles after another, after all.I cannot say I really LIKED this book, tho. No one could, really, because Max's strife is always evident in the HK novels and short stories. She is a demon hunter, which is fairly innocuous in a book these days, but the Kiss women have a twist that is about as depressing as you can get: they die early, after they have had a child - always a girl - to pass their "gift" and responsibilities on to. Hopefully they have time to explain things to their child before being murdered in front of her. Yes, they are always murdered because they are no longer protected by their "boys", who are little demons that lay upon her skin during the day in the form of moveable tatoos that provide the ultimate defense. At night, the boys awaken and can then serve and protect with their bodies and minds. Hunters are always immortal until their demon protectors go on to their next hunter. But that doesn't mean they can't be hurt, and Max is hurt often.Because she and her cohorts endure so much pain during their current life, I could almost - almost - forget about the death forthcoming. Even if I could forget it, however, Ms. Liu never does and so this book is a very dark one. She is a wonderful storyteller but if you are only familiar with her so very awesome "Dirk & Steele" series, be ready for a totally different experience. Not bad, just different. And painful.

  • Wendy
    2018-12-27 07:20

    Maxine Kiss is covered in tattoos that are demons during the day, whom by night come alive. She’s also a demon hunter and her “boys” help her in killing the bad guys. When Maxine is not killing demons, zombies or even humans, she’s hanging out with her boyfriend, Grant.Grant is a Lightbringer, the last of his kind. Through manipulating energies, he can change any living creature. But now his life is in danger, more danger than normal that is.Maxine is determined to save Grant, but her past is back to get her and at the end of the day, there’s only one choice - lose control and release her own powers to save the people around her.Maxine and Grant are on opposite sides of a coin. While she takes life, he can give it and that’s part of their attraction. If you haven't read the previous book, Iron Hunt, you will have an incredibly hard time making sense of this book. I’m highly recommending you don’t try to read Darkness Calls before reading the first book like I did. I admit that the labyrinth bit drove me absolutely nuts. There wasn't enough back-story for me to understand it. For most of the book, I was very confused and kept wondering about everything. At this point, after having read the whole book, I’m still confused. However, I think that Ms. Liu’s writing is as lovely as ever. While I couldn’t exactly enjoy the book, the writing itself flowed so well and was well-written and that’s what actually kept me reading. I’ve read her other books and loved them so it’s not like Ms. Liu is a new author for me, but her type of writing has always impressed me. Darkness Calls has the potential to be a great book if this series is read in the proper order.

  • Julia Dragan
    2018-12-27 03:28

    ‘Darkness Calls’ is probably the best book from the Hunter Kiss series. It certainly took a while till the story and the characters grew on me, but the sequel to ‘The Iron Hunt’ is remarkable!The plot, the new characters, and the ever-present Maxine and Grant made this book a success! I loved every minute of reading this book and I finally understand how Maxine works. She’s a very complex character and it took me some time to get to know her. To some it might seem pretty straightforward, but the inner conflict Maxine had to face this time, was utterly mind-blowing.We all know love is complicated, but when you have to fight a darkness inside you, and keep the person you love safe, all at the same time, it becomes almost impossible. Maxine had to face that and so much more! Of course, she still had the help of the little demon bodyguards: Zee, Raw, Aaz, Dek and Mal – I love these boys, I’ll definitely be thinking about them for some time now. Because of them, I’ll always start laughing when a Bon Jovi songs comes on the radio.Grant is also not your normal human as I thought he was. As some of you may recall from my previous reviews of the series, I was not very fond of Grant. Past tense. He has a bigger role in this book and I understand now why Marjorie M. Liu paired these two! I used to think Maxine didn’t really need Grant, he didn’t really complete her. He was just the guy she liked and she was this bad-ass demon hunter.I won’t say more because I’d hate to spoil the fun for you all, but this is definitely a great book and I can’t wait to read the next part in the series.

  • Melissa Hayden
    2019-01-14 04:20

    If you have read the first book you need to read this one.The beginning of the book gives a lot of review with the new happenings to catch you up with the time from reading book one and the release of book two. There is a lot here to get you back up to speed in that break time frame, however for me it was a little slow since I had just finished the first book with all the happenings fresh in my mind. But, when the book picks up on its own path and goes... It goes!You do get your share of action with Maxine along with the love her and Grant share. But most of all you start to get the story behind Jack and a few other key characters (you have to read to see who and what it is - it is worth it!). The history with Jack and many of the characters, including Maxines' heritage, is amazing and really opens the world up to so much more possibilities. I love the style Marjorie has used to tell the stories through-out the book. You start to see that through the labyrinth their is a large world and lots of great mystery behind the different creatures you are introduced to. You even get to see the connection between all the creatures that is intreging. Then there is an interesting take on where humans came from in accordance to the ancient beings.I have loved the world and mystery in the Labyrinth. I would love to learn more of the Labyrinth and the magics it holds. After reading this book with the great character building we are still waiting for the veil to fail, and there are a few other troubles that could come Maxines way for the next few books to come.

  • Dorothea
    2018-12-30 09:33

    I've been fond of the poem and song Der Erlkönig since high school, when some of my friends were really into their German language class. (I also recommend the adaptation by former Carolina Chocolate Drops member Dom Flemons, "Ballad of Earl King.")Anyway, the Big Bad in this story is sometimes called the Erlking, with the implication, because it's how this world works, that some earlier manifestation of him actually inspired the legend. This did not really work for me! I did find this character very creepy, but I kind of hope that next time I listen to the song I won't find Liu's imagery intruding.So I didn't really embrace the main plot, but I did like a lot of the secondary stuff. This book introduces two fun secondary characters -- Killy the bartender whose ESP isn't all that useful after she gets caught up with Maxine & co. because meeting demigods gives her migraines, and Frank the surprisingly violent priest.Liu has a nice way of introducing secondary characters, I think. RPG metaphor ahead. When they show up I think they're going to be the kind of NPC who helps the party advance to the next adventure and then disappears. But they're not -- they stick around, or at least they keep in touch, and they turn out to have a personality and important secrets.

  • Ruth
    2019-01-06 04:33

    c2009: FWFTB: demon-hunter, music, protective, underground, darkness. I no more understood this book than I did the first. It is slowly coming together in my head but there is still a lot of guesswork going on which is probably why I think that the blurb on the back of the book contains a great big spoiler. Actually, the blurb does not really describe the plot at all. The authors attitude to this is probably as stated by the mysterious Jack, " If it can be imagined, then there is always the possibility of reality. We are made of possibilities.' The heroine is, well, different "I was security. A good right hook. A thousand yard stare. A woman reduced to adjectives, all of them well placed and accurate - in that way only half truths could be." The writing style is excellent though which is probably why I continue with the book. Some great insights into human nature eg "Power is transient. Power can flow from one person to another. The most powerful person in a room isn't the wealthiest or the one with the most connections. It's the person who believes the strongest, the one who has the most confidence. And, sometimes, it's the person who can make everyone else feel like less of themselves."

  • Khalia Hades
    2018-12-20 08:14

    For generations, her female bloodline was nomadic never making emotional relationships especially with men. Instead each one hunted the demons until they birthed the next generation hunter and consequently die. Thus the current demon hunter Maxine Kiss has a problem as she has fallen in love with the former priest Grant, the last Lightbringer.How much an issue an emotional entanglement can cause ignites when the Avatars attack Grant fearing his power. Instead of staying out of the fracas as her ancestors would have done, Maxine and her living tattoos enter the fight to protect her beloved. Now the Avatars have a bigger fear that the Lightbringer and the demon Hunter will unite in love and bring what to the world.The second Kiss urban fantasy (see THE IRON HUNT) is a fabulous action-packed thriller starring a strong female superhero who is humanized by her love for Grant. The story line is fast-paced from the moment the Avatars attack and never slows down as Maxine risks her life for love; an unheard of action by any generation demon hunter. Marjorie M. Liu provides a powerful complex tale in which she makes her vivid paranormal world seem real.

  • Kathy
    2018-12-21 07:23

    Although I like the characters… I like the writing when the characters are interacting… I just can’t get into the apocalyptic, time traveling, puzzle-solving without all of the pieces storyline…Zee, Dek, Mal, Raw and Aaz are cute little demon/zombie fighters… who live as tattoos on Maxine during the day and an armor that protect her, and awesome, cute terrors at night, consuming demons, hunting zombies, knowing things… they are just as likely to cuddle a teddy bear as to tear him apart and consume him… I like the way Dek and Mal'comment' on moments when she needs to make decisions with appropriate songs... like when faced with Grant - they sing softly 'Make Someone Happy'...Grant Cooperon – a voice that guides and soothes – even demons… he runs a halfway house – he is kind… he is damaged, walks with a cane… and in this story he finds out he is alien – a Lightbringer… who can do a heck of a lot more withhis voice tan soothe t savage beast… and he loves Maxine.In this story, the bad ancient aliens are out to kill Maxine and capture/use Grant… but with the help of Jack Meddle, Maxine’s yet good, ancient alien they come out on the other side.