The Iron Hunt is a strange book. It took a while for me to get into it, but halfway through I was completely engrossed. However, by the time I got to the end, I was also completely confused.
I love good worldbuilding, and Liu has built an intriguing mythology with this series. I don’t like books with infodumps that introduce you to the world all in four paragraphs at the beginning, and luckily, The Iron Hunt isn’t one of those books. My problem, though, is that Liu never really gives a clear picture of the world through the showing (as opposed to the infodump telling). She tosses hints through riddles and visions, but I had trouble putting everything together and buildling a clear mental map of the different planes of existence.
The only consolation I take from this is that Maxine Kiss, the protagonist, seems just as confused as I am. I’m hoping this means that in future books in the series, as Maxine’s understanding of the world grows, the reader’s will as well. I see that as the sign of a great writer, and I know that I love Liu’s writing style and incredible imagination. I suppose I’ll have to read the second book to see if that’s where she’s heading.
Speaking of the writing style, I do have to admit that it took a while for me to get used to the very choppy first-person narration. Maxine seems to think in short sentences and fragments, and that’s hard for me to read. It’s not fluid, and my brain stumbles over it. After I got used to it, though, I realized that it works for Maxine. It suits her aloof personality, and when her narration shifts into longer, more descriptive sentences, I could really feel her character changing.
I’m left with kind of a conundrum here. I did enjoy the book, but at the same time, I feel like the book didn’t give me enough. I’m hoping that the rest of the series will shed more light on the incredibly intricate world and Maxine’s complicated place in it.