Monday, January 9, 2012

Review: A Brush of Darkness by Allison Pang

Title:  A Brush of Darkness
Author:  Allison Pang
Pages:  343
Genre:  Urban Fantasy/Paranormal
Publisher:  Pocket Books (A Simon & Schuster Division)
Summary:  The man of her dreams might be the cause of her nightmare. Six months ago, Abby Sinclair was struggling the pick up the pieces of her shattered life. Now, she has an enchanted iPod, a miniature unicorn living in her underwear drawer, and a magical marketplace to manage. But despite her growing knowledge of the OtherWorld, Abby isn't at all prepared for Brystion, the dark, mysterious, and sexy-as-sin incubus searching for his sister, convinced Abby has the key to the succubus's whereabouts. Abby has enough problems without having this seductive shape-shifter literally invade her dreams to get information. But when her Faery boss and some of her friends vanish, as well, Abby and Brystion must form an uneasy alliance. As she is sucked deeper and deeper into this perilous world of faeries, angels, and daemons, Abby realizes her life is in as much danger as her heart--and there's only one she can trust to save her.

The Dish:  When it comes to selecting books (and series) to read, oftentimes it's all in the taglines and what quotes really stand out that will draw readers.  For me, I have to say it was after reading a quote from the author's website that almost made me spit water onto my monitor that I knew I had to read Allison Pang's A Brush of Darkness.

I'm beginning to realize just how picky I can be when it comes to series, particularly urban fantasy or paranormal series.  It's no fault of the authors because they're definitely doing their jobs of delivering great books, but I hadn't really felt the need to invest time into an UF series... until now.  Abby Sinclair is adorable, quirky, unsure, fallible, all traits I really adore in a herione because they show that she is indeed human.  I enjoy reading about confident, kick-butt, lets-get-er-done main characters, too, but finding one at the beginning of her journey and needing to learn more about herself is just as enjoyable.  Granted, sometimes that means being tossed into the water without a paddle, and Abby is definitely swimming with the sharks throughout the story.

After going through a great deal of tragedy within the past six months, I can relate to how Abby feels within this strange world that she's only recently learned about.  And believe me, there is a lot to take in knowing there are forces of the supernatural living alongside our own human realm.  Seeing it through the eyes of someone new helps to move the story along quite nicely because as Abby learns more about these celestial, faerie, and daemonic beings so does the reader.  When her own faerie boss disappears, it's no wonder Abby's not quite sure what to do in the situation, so she just tries to roll (or duck) with the punches.  I will admit, she does take some risks that surprised me and made me shake my head at her inexperience, but fortunately, she does have those willing to help her.

What amazes me most is how Pang has been able to bring together so many different supernatural creatures in such a smooth manner.  With some books that try to take on too many supernaturals, the story might be full of exposition just to clarify the existence of all of these otherworldly beings, not to mention readers might not really get to know the important characters because there are so many.  I loved how Pang picked out certain supernaturals to introduce, expand upon, and show that they are more than powerful non-humans while at the same time introducing others without necessarily going into great detail about backgrounds.

Brystion is definitely a favorite character, and who can blame me since he is a sexy-as-sin incubus?  (And between you and me, readers, I think incubi are slowly becoming the new supernatural, the one to see in future titles.)  Even with learning as much as possible about him, Brystion still has that air of mystery about him as well as the dark, brooding persona.  I wanted to slug him a few times in the story, yet he still somehow managed to have me warming back up to him.

It makes me happy when an author can really end a book on a satisfying note without necessarily closing the book completely.  Namely, I was satisfied with the ending but I definitely want to read more because I know this is only the beginning.  When a first book in a series leaves the reader with that sort of feeling, you know you've found one you want to stick with.  And I aim to stay on track with Abby's story.  Lucky me, A Sliver of Shadow is due to be released come the end of February.


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