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Marjorie M. Liu

Marjorie M Liu(1980- )
Marjorie M. Liu is an attorney who has lived and worked throughout Asia. She hails from both coasts, but currently resides in the Midwest, where she writes full-time. Learn more at Marjorie M. Liu’s website. Read Kelly’s interview with Marjorie M. Liu.

Kelly chats with Marjorie M. Liu

Kelly Lasiter interviewed Marjorie M. Liu about her recent projects. Read Kelly's reviews of The Iron Hunt and Darkness Calls.

Kelly: The HUNTER KISS series grabbed me from the first sentence of The Iron Hunt: "When I was eight, my mother lost me to zombies in a one-card draw." I love that line, and I've been wondering ever since... how did that sentence first come to you?

Marjorie M. Liu: My mom was the inspiration, actually. She doesn't play cards, she's not into zombies, she would certainly never gamble away her child. -- but when I was a kid, my mom and I would go for long drives and have 'big advent... Read More

Tiger Eye: A great deal of depth and emotion

Tiger Eye by Marjorie M. Liu

Having enjoyed Marjorie M. Liu’s Hunter Kiss urban fantasy series, I decided to look into her paranormal romance series, Dirk & Steele.

Tiger Eye is the first novel in the Dirk & Steele sequence. The heroine, Dela Reese, is a sculptor with a psychic affinity for metal. On a trip to China, she buys a mysterious riddle box and finds herself bound to Hari, an immortal shapeshifter, by magical forces beyond their control.

What follows is a fast-paced plot in which the two must evade danger (both mundane and supernatural) and contend with their growing feelings for one another.

The romance is well-written, with a great deal of depth a... Read More

Game Review: Tiger Eye: Curse of the Riddle Box

Tiger Eye: Curse of the Riddle Box by Marjorie M. Liu

Download Tiger Eye: Curse of the Riddle Box

I recently had the opportunity to try out Tiger Eye Part I: Curse of the Riddle Box, a casual game released in April 2010 by PassionFruit Games. The game is based on the first half of the novel Tiger Eye by Marjorie M. Liu.

A disclaimer: I’m not as well-versed in casual games and hidden-object games as some other players might be; my gaming background is more in point-and-click adventure games (favorites include The Longest Journey, The Secret Files: Tunguska, and Barrow Hill). Those old pixel-hunting skills served me well, though, in the hidden-object sectio... Read More

In The Dark of Dreams: So long, winter!

In The Dark of Dreams by Marjorie M. Liu

In the beautifully written prologue to In the Dark of Dreams, a young human girl meets a mer-boy on the beach near her family home. The moment is brief and the two are torn away from each other, but they never forget each other and see each other in dreams for many years afterward.

Fast-forward to the present: Jenny (the girl) and Perrin (the boy) have both grown to adulthood and have picked up their share of physical and emotional scars along the way. Jenny travels the world hoping to find merpeople again, while Perrin has been banished from the sea and is trying to live as a human man. Their lives are changed when they begin to have the dreams again — just in time to face a host of dangers ranging from mercenaries and thugs to an ancient, eldritch being who threatens all life on Earth. Marjorie M. Liu does a great job with the latter in particu... Read More

Within the Flames: A moving love story

Within the Flames by Marjorie M. Liu

Within the Flames is another solid entry in Marjorie M. Liu’s Dirk & Steele paranormal romance series. In this installment, one of the most lovable recurring characters in the series finds his mate. Eddie is assigned to find and protect Lyssa, a young woman living a vagabond life in New York City. The two fall in love but must face demons both internal and external before they can be together.

In many ways, Lyssa is a perfect match for Eddie. Like him, she has powers that involve fire and is immune to being damaged by fire. Also like him, she has a troubled past filled with violence and loss. In Lyssa’s case, her future may be even darker than her past. She has a secret she keeps from everyone, a terrible destiny that she’ll do anything not to fulfill. Eddie is determined to protect her from the bad guys who are after her, but the greater thr... Read More

The Iron Hunt: Visceral and poetic at the same time

The Iron Hunt by Marjorie M. Liu

“When I was eight, my mother lost me to zombies in a one-card draw.”

That’s the first sentence of Marjorie M. Liu’s The Iron Hunt, and it’s just about perfect as opening lines go. It’s the primary reason I bought the book. Not only does it draw the reader in, eager to find out how and why this happened, but I’m also pretty darn sure it’s an Angela Carter reference. I love Angela Carter.

It would be misleading to suggest, though, that Marjorie M. Liu sounds like Angela Carter throughout The Iron Hunt. Liu has a different style, one all her own. I loved it. Liu’s style is unusual and won’t be to everyone’s taste. However, I found it visceral and poetic at the same time, and especially good when describing violence and magical visions. A couple of examples:
I tried to hold her to me, but sh... Read More

Darkness calls: Mr. Erl King is one icky villain!

Darkness Calls by Marjorie M. Liu

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 (2009) 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.


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. Read More

A Wild Light: A strange but wonderful dream

A Wild Light by Marjorie M. Liu

Reading the Hunter Kiss series is rather like having a strange but wonderful dream. You’re sometimes confused about exactly what is happening and why, but the vistas are breathtaking, the emotions are intense, and when you wake up, the only words that come to mind are “What a ride!”

In the hands of a lesser author, confusion can be a dealbreaker that leads to the book hitting the wall. But Marjorie M. Liu is not a lesser author. Her poetic prose and beautifully drawn character relationships keep you reading even when you — and Maxine — aren’t quite sure of what’s going on.

A Wild Light (2010) begins with the murder of Maxine’s grandfather, Jack. Maxine wakes to find Jack dead, and it appears that he has been killed with a blade that only Maxine can safely wield. ... Read More

MONSTRESS 1: Awakening: Demands complete attention, careful consideration

MONSTRESS 1: Awakening by Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda

Every now and then, a story will tip you into a strange new world without any attempt at exposition or context, leaving you to catch up on events in the most exhilarating way possible. You either sink or swim, and MONSTRESS is one such graphic novel, demanding complete attention, careful consideration, and at least two re-reads in order to grasp all of its detail.

We first meet Maiko Halfwolf as she's put up for auction as a slave – a pretty clear indication of how dark this story can get, even when it becomes apparent that she's more in control of the situation than first appears. Piece by piece, we get an understanding of Maiko's history and what she's attempting: that this is a girl searching for answers to her past in a world on the brink of war.

I'm reluctant to say too much, as most of the enjoyment in reading MONSTRESS  Read More

MONSTRESS 2: The Blood: Marjorie Liu has crafted a fascinating tale

MONSTRESS 2: The Blood by Marjorie Liu

As much as I enjoyed the first volume of Marjorie Liu's MONSTRESS , its second instalment (comprised of issues seven to twelve) is a vast improvement. The first volume was stuffed full of exposition and world-building and backstory, so much so that it was difficult to discern the actual plot. Granted, that made it exciting and complex, but I also had to read through it three times just to glean what was going on.

By contrast, Volume Two: The Blood has a much clearer arc, which allows the reader to better appreciate the characterization and story beats.

One-armed Maika Halfwolf is on the run from a number of powerful organizations looking to exploit the ancient monster that lives beneath her skin. Every now and then it manifests from her missing li... Read More

MONSTRESS 3: Haven: Increasingly complex

MONSTRESS 3: Haven by Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda

It’s always an event when the next collection of Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda’s MONSTRESS is released — I take a copy home, make sure I won’t get interrupted, and just sink down into the complex storytelling and truly gorgeous illustrations. Every year this ongoing graphic novel cleans up at the Eisner and Hugo Awards, and for good reason.

Maika Halfwolf is a young woman with a terrible secret: an ancient monster resides within her body, only partially controllable and with regular bloodthirsty urges. Her entire life she’s fought to keep herself and others safe, but the onset of war throughout the Asian-/Egyptian-inspired world in which she lives means that all sorts of people are frantic to get their hands on Maika and the power she wields.

In Monstress, Vol. 3: Haven, the ongo... Read More

MONSTRESS 4: The Chosen: More evocative storytelling from two masters

MONSTRESS 4: The Chosen by Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda

The saga continues with the fourth volume of Marjorie Liu and Sana Takenda's epic fantasy MONSTRESS, which at this point is so complex and intricate that it's difficult to properly summarize it.

Set in an alternate matriarchal 19th century Asia, with a steampunk/art deco/Egyptian aesthetic, this is the story of Maika Halfwolf and the terrible demonic presence that resides within her, one that sporadically bursts forth to cause destruction and mayhem, but occasionally offering her advice and companionship as well.

Her world is in the middle of a devastating war, in which magic and science are constantly finding new ways to spread ruination, and increasingly powerful forces threaten to end all of civilization. Maika finds herself in the company of a man called the Lord Doctor, who claims to be her long-lost fat... Read More

MONSTRESS 5: Warchild: It never flinches

MONSTRESS 5: Warchild by Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda

This is my fifth review for what is the fifth volume in Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda’s collaborative MONSTRESS project, and it’s getting difficult not to repeat myself. Here are the basics: it takes place in a matriarchal society that’s embroiled in a devastating war between those that wield magic and those that rely on technological advancements.

The main character is Maika Halfwolf, a girl with one arm and a Lovecraftian monster living inside her, desperately trying to keep her head above the morass of political intrigue and violence that surrounds her. And the artwork in this series is exceptionally beautiful, combining Asian and Egyptian influences with an Art Nouveau style that I’ve certainly never seen anywhere outside of these books.

Volume 5: Warchild (comprised of issu... Read More

The Tangleroot Palace: A solid collection

The Tangleroot Palace by Marjorie Liu

I’m a big fan of Marjorie Liu’s MONSTRESS series, so I was eager to pick up her collection of short stories, entitled The Tangleroot Palace (2021). Unfortunately, while there was a lot to admire in terms of the prose itself, the stories didn’t do much for me, though they were solid enough. I’ll note, however, as I always do when reviewing a collection, that I’m a tough audience when it comes to short stories, generally preferring longer, more developed works (though one of my favorite books this year will be a collection of stories).

Liu’s collection brings together a half-dozen stories and the eponymous novella. As noted, the prose is strong throughout, especially considering the stories were written while she was still in her twenties and thirties, ... Read More

Songs of Love and Death: Tales of star-crossed lovers

Songs of Love and Death edited by George R.R. Martin & Gardner Dozois

Songs of Love and Death is the third anthology that George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois have edited together. Like Warriors and Songs of the Dying EarthSongs of Love and Death brings together some of the biggest names that SFF has to offer and they set these authors to work on a common theme.

Martin and Dozois offer a cross-genre anthology that ranges from Robin Hobb’s epic fantasy “Blue Boots,” which tells the story of a romance between a young serving girl and a silver-tongued minstrel, to  Read More

Masked: Superheroes move into the realm of prose

Masked edited by Lou Anders

Superheroes — and supervillains — have always been problematic. They are usually all but impossible to kill, but have a single vulnerability that everyone seems to know about, and to aim for, a tradition that goes all the way back to Achilles (who was invulnerable because he was dipped in the River Styx as a baby — except for the ankle by which his mother held him when doing the dipping). Even after death, they always seem to come back in some form or another; Superman, for instance, has been resurrected quite a few times (though losing him led nearly 20 years ago to one of the best graphic novels ever written, World Without a Superman). Because they are so superhumanly strong, they sometimes appear ludicrous, fighting off impossible task after incredible burden after outrageous situation. No wonder authors have sometimes taken their creations in odd directions, as Read More

The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination: For a dose of crazy genius

The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination edited by John Joseph Adams

The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination is the latest themed anthology edited by John Joseph Adams — and it’s another good one. This time, Adams has collected a set of short stories featuring the hero’s (or often superhero’s) traditional antagonist: the mad genius, the super-villain, the brilliant sociopath who wants to remold the world in his own image — or occasionally, maybe, just be left alone in his secret lair to conduct spine-tingling experiments that, as an unfortunate side-effect, may cause drastically rearranged geography, rampant mutation, or major extinction events.

Under the editorial direction of John Joseph Adams, this anthology offers an impressively varied view on this archetypical character. Some stories refer back to mad geniuses you’ll be familiar with (Frankenstein, Lex Luthor). Some of them feature ... Read More

More fantasy by Marjorie M. Liu

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsWhere The Heart Lives — (2012) Publisher: When Lucy is cast out by her father, she finds shelter and employment with the mysterious, golden-eyed caretaker of a small, rural cemetery. There, against all odds, she discovers a safe haven, acceptance—and, perhaps, love. But this new home is haunted by secrets, and a terrible, unnatural loss that is linked to the forest that surrounds them. It harbors its own deadly mysteries—as well as a cunning, powerful, force that desires nothing more than complete control over Lucy’s soul.