During the day Maxine Kiss is covered in black tattoos, even her nails. The only part of her body that is not covered in markings is from the top of her neck to her hairline. Maxine keeps all the markings covered - always. During the day those same tattoos are her armor. Nothing can harm her. She is invincible. At night the tattoos peel from her skin to take on forms of their own. No one would ever have imagined an army of demons living on one woman's skin. When "the boys" peel off of her skin, Maxine is human - vulnerable. But the demons are the best little bodyguards on earth.
Long ago a prison had been built out of air, a prison made of layers and rings and boundaries. The worst demons were sealed in the prison. Yet now, ten thousand years later, the prison is beginning to fail. However, even way back then, someone knew it would eventually happen. That someone created the Wardens, men and women with the speed and power to guard this world against a break in the prison veil. The Wardens were humans constructed to fight those demons that manage to slip through the veil. The Wardens are all dead now. The women in Maxine's family are the last.
Someday, just like her mother before her, Maxine will raise and train her daughter. Then "the boys" will abandon Maxine for her daughter - leaving Maxine helpless against her enemies. This, for Maxine, is normal. It is the way of Earth's last protector. It is life with no love, reveling in death. Enter the one man who just may change everything.
**** This story is nothing short of bizarre. I was well into the story before everything began to make sense. Zee, the only one of Maxine's demons which actually talks, loves to speak in riddles. As things begin to solidify and make some sense to me, the author throws me for a loop by introducing zombies and demons that Maxine tolerates, if not allowing herself to feel some affection towards.
If you are looking for a quick read then this is not the book for you. Author Marjorie M. Liu's story is multi-layered and will grab readers' interests quickly, never to let go. A tantalizing read! ****
Reviewed by Detra Fitch of Huntress Reviews.