The walk started slowly, deliberately. I asked my questions and got my answers. Every time I stood for a moment or two I could feel the energy come up through the soles of my feet. Towards the end I began to feel at one with the pathway. Some unexpected answers came through... -- (unidentified) Alex Champion labyrinth walker
Last summer author Marjorie M. Liu published The Iron Hunt, the first book in her new Hunter Kiss series. The novel simply blew me away, and then went and haunted me for the next twelve months. She did things in that book I didn't think were possible. Like a word magician, she turned prose into poetry and then back into prose. She took urban fantasy to another level, and made it towering and terrifying and epic and wonderful.
It was hard to wait almost an entire year for the next book in the series, Darkness Calls. I often thought about contacting Marjorie and dropping some subtle hints to see if I could get an advanced copy of the manuscript, such as e-mailing her with please let me read anything you have finished even if it's just a couple of chapters I beg you but I was afraid I'd interrupt her writing during a bad writing session and then she'd lose her train of thought and mess up something which would then be the last straw and then she'd quit being a novelist and tell everyone it was all because of me bugging her. So I forced myself to be polite and wait, and while I was sulking I reread The Iron Hunt about a dozen times.
As hard as it was to stay out of her hair, being patient and not bothering the novelist sometimes results in a little good reading karma. Recently (with no hints or bugging whatsoever from me) Marjorie was kind enough to offer me an advance copy of Darkness Calls. Which I of course grabbed in a heartbeat; I'm polite, not stupid.
In the new Hunter Kiss novel, Maxine is back with her boys, a small horde of demons who spend the daylight hours living on her body as tattoos. After the sun sets, the demons leave her skin and come alive to protect Maxine and fight by her side. They have a lot of protecting and fighting to do, as someone wants Maxine dead -- someone who also knows the only moment between daylight and darkness when she is vulnerable. But is the killer trying to get rid of her, or use her to get to her man Grant Cooperon? Grant, an ex-priest demon reformer with a mysterious past, has powers unlike any Maxine has ever encountered -- and she'll need everything he has and more when they discover exactly what is after them both, and why.
Marjorie is writing all sorts of things these days -- manga, paranormal romance, X-men novelizations -- but personally I think this series is the author at her best. There's just something incredibly special about these characters and this labyrinthine storyline. It has it all -- amazing writing, hypnotic storytelling, and wholly unpredictable twists/turns -- and gave me the most fun I've had reading all year.
But as always, you don't have to take my word for it. In comments, name a series or author you find it difficult to wait for (or if you're not in any hurry to read anyone, just toss your name into the hat) by midnight EST on Saturday, June 27, 2009. I'll draw ten names at random from everyone who participates and send the winners an unsigned copy of Darkness Calls by Marjorie M. Liu. Also, if any of the winners have not yet read The Iron Hunt, I'll send along an unsigned copy of that as well so you have both books. This giveaway is open to everyone on the planet, even if you've won something here at PBW in the past.
(If you stop by Genreality for my Friday morning post, I'll also be having another giveaway there for Marjorie's Hunter Kiss novels -- and those will be signed copies.)