I bought The Iron Hunt without realizing that there had been a prequel story in the Wild Thing Anthology. As I was reading it, I was often confused. It almost seemed like I had jumped into the second book of the series, and I kept checking the introductory pages to make sure this was the first one. When I couldn't find anything about another book, I just assumed the author wanted to start the story right in the middle of all the action. Unfortunately, some of this did hurt my enjoyment of the book, but not enough to stop. I'll be picking up the anthology next, and will most likely continue on with the series.
Maxine Kiss was born to become a Hunter, just like her mother, and her mother's mother, and so on. She is Earth's protector against the demons on Earth and the demon army waiting impatiently for the veil to fall. The story begins when a private investigator, whom she doesn't know, is found dead with her name on his body. Maxine begins searching for answers and finds several people along the way, all of whom may be or may become very important to her.
I very much enjoyed the world that Liu had created, particularly the characters and their relationships. All of Maxine's Demons were so . . . well, lovable and cute, even when they weren't supposed to be. Maxine's memories of her mom and grandmother brought me to tears and the other characters and their various and complicated relationships with Maxine kept me wanting to know more. The book also took a few surprising turns- I was amazed by all Maxine had to go through in a single book.
Most of my difficulties with this book stem from not having read the short story. I felt the loss of seeing the beginnings of Maxine's relationship with Grant, and never felt like I really got a feel on Grant beyond him being a pretty decent and powerful guy. Because I wasn't sure if the author was going to do anything with Grant, I didn't know what to think of a couple other men (and in my mind, potential love interests) who came into the picture.
The back cover states that hers is a life lacking in love until one man changes everything. This confused me too because when the story opens, she already has Grant and has a life with love. Therefore, it took me awhile to decide if Grant was the man described in the summary or if it was someone else. Because of this confusion, I kept worrying that Grant was going to get killed off or something similarly drastic.
Another frustrating aspect for me were all the hints, and questions and mystery surrounding Maxine and her real powers, and who she really is. In fact, ALL the other characters ALL seemed to know what's going on about everything, except Maxine. I wasn't sure if some of these questions were hinted at or answered in the short story, and again just felt like I was missing something. I also got fed up at everyone's refusal to answer a direct question. This happened A LOT.
Despite a somewhat frustrating and confusing read, I still managed to get sufficiently caught up in the action, characters and the story that I quickly sped through and finished The Iron Hunt. I would recommend this book, however, I would also suggest reading the short story first.