Review: The Mortal Bone by Marjorie M. Liu

January 22, 2012 Review 9


Title: The Mortal Bone
AuthorMarjorie M. Liu
Series: Hunter Kiss #4
Cover Art: N/A
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Excerpt: Yes
Source: Publisher
Reviewed by: Julia

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Ace; December 27, 2011
  • ISBN-10: 1937007189
  • ISBN-13: 978-1937007188

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Sexual Content:

Kissing and references to sex.


Excellent – Loved it! Buy it now & put this author on your watch list.


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.


While I am a big fan of the whole Hunter Kiss series, I have always had a particular soft spot for Maxine’s boys. THE MORTAL BONE is their book, and I could not be happier with it.  The seismic upsets of A WILD LIGHT are still sending out little aftershocks, but THE MORTAL BONE is one of the most linear and accessible books in the series. Not that it won’t test your assumptions, not that it won’t break your heart… but it will do so in a straightforward and easy to follow manner.

It’s always hard for series books to get five bats for me, as handing a copy to a friend usually means “Here, read this and all the preceding books.” And while I went back and forth between four and five bats for THE MORTAL BONE, I can say with no hesitation that it is my favorite book of the series thus far. Maxine and Grant have reached a new level of relaxation in their relationship and it is a pleasure to see them together.  Furthermore, Maxine’s relationship with her boys is the main focus of this story, offering both familiar comedic relief as well as a new perspective on the inner lives of each demon.  Though it is common for books to contain either a complicated mythological world or emotionally compelling characters, THE MORTAL BONE manages to achieve both. Furthermore, despite the complexity of the plot leading up to this book, Liu made it easy to re-orient myself to her series. Though I wouldn’t recommend that someone new to Hunter Kiss start with THE MORTAL BONE, if you have wandered away from the series or aren’t sure if you remember enough to continue, you’ll find it very easy to understand the absolute emotional high stakes that are at hand. Maxine’s family, her world and her future are all on the line.

Hunter Kiss is a series with a complex world inhabited by infinitely complicated characters. In THE MORTAL BONE in particular, the nature of good, the burden of forgiveness and the reality of protective, familial love all come into play as old wars and immortal enemies return. Maxine is the conduit that takes this exotic struggle and brings it down to a human level, a mechanism that utterly succeeded in putting this complex magical war into terms that I could relate to. Amidst all the magic and the life or death struggles there is laughter and hope and a future waiting to be born. The next Hunter Kiss book will be an instant pre-order as soon as it comes to light, as much to find out the fate of humanity as a love for Maxine’s little family, both human and non.

Previous Books in Series
Also Reviewed By:
  1. The Iron Hunt – N/A
  2. Darkness Calls
  3. A Wild Light – 4/5

9 Responses to “Review: The Mortal Bone by Marjorie M. Liu”

  1. Lexi

    I also love Maxine's boys, so I am happy to hear this is their book! Can't wait to read this, good review!

  2. SciFiGuy

    I am a couple of books behind on this series. Marjorie Liu's writing rocks. It is good to know the series gets even better.

  3. Denise Z

    I have not read this series, but for some reason The Mortal Bone has caught my eye. I did read a short by Marjorie Liu in an anthology and enjoyed her writing style. I guess this will have to go on the wishlist, I wonder if I need to start with book one and if so will I be able to wait for this installment LOL Thanks for sharing today.

  4. Abigail

    The boys were my fav part of this series too, even though I'm a few books behind. Hearing that they figure so prominently in this installment (not to mention you're extremely well articulated review) might suck me back in.

  5. Julia

    Lexi, this book was a *gorgeous* showcase for them all. Not only the physical comedy, but we finally get a glimpse behind the curtain about their origins and feelings. I was over the moon.

  6. Julia

    I'm really blown away with the mythology on these books. THE MORTAL BONE has less of the trippy dimension hopping (which Liu writes beautifully, but is hard to follow), but I was impressed with some of the revelations regarding demon origins, etc. Definitely worth catching up with the series, I hope you like it.

  7. Julia

    Hi Denise! I think it's worth starting at book one, Liu has crafted a very unique and complex mythology here, and while you could probably enjoy the surface events in THE MORTAL BONE if you started with book 4, you'd really be missing out. That said, read the opening books when you have time to really drink them in, Liu doesn't pull any punches when she's creating this world. Some of the dimension hopping in A WILD LIGHT took me awhile to figure out… but I was so happy when I did.

  8. Julia

    Oh, Abigail, this book really has all the high points of prior books in the series with very little of the drawbacks that arose from exposition issues. I think you'll really love this one!