Title: A Brush of Darkness
Author: Allison Pang
Publisher: Pocket Star
Abby Sinclair #1
May Contain Spoilers
The man of her dreams might be the cause of her nightmares.
Six months ago, Abby Sinclair was struggling to 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 no one she can trust to save her.
When I read that protagonist Abby had a miniature unicorn that slept in her underwear drawer, I added A Brush of Darkness to my TBR. I mean, who doesn’t want a teeny tiny unicorn living in their apartment? Assuming it didn’t trot about, pooping all over the place. I was hoping that Phineas would be like Sparky from Laura Bickle’s Embers; a magical creature that both kept Abby out of danger, but also caused trouble for her at the same time. Phineas turned out to be a fun secondary character, who, despite his small size, manages to pack an incredible amount of attitude into his gleaming silvery hide.
I liked Abby, too, though I have serious concerns about her recklessness and lack of common sense. She has managed to get herself caught up in a very dangerous situation, one that could easily cost her her life. Not that she puts much value in that, though, as she is still reeling from the death of her mother, who died in the same gruesome car accident that robbed Abby of her dream of being a professional dancer. Now she works in a rickety bookstore that stinks like cat piss and cabbages (or maybe dirty feet), and she’s signed a Contract with Moira, one of the OtherFolk. Moira is not just any Fae, mind you, she’s the Protectorate, and she helps keep the peace between all of the different and dangerous OtherFolk. When she goes missing, it starts to look like Abby has something to do with her disappearance, and that does not bode well for a mortal woman who is suffering from PTSD.
Sexy incubus Brystion shatters whatever small amount of peace Abby has managed to find for herself. Barging into the bookstore, he’s hoping that Moira can help him find his missing sister. When Abby accidently links herself to him, her life will never be the same. OtherFolk want her dead, she’s under suspicion because Moira is missing, and the incubus causes her heart to race every time she thinks about him. And she’s having some of the most satisfying sexual dreams of her life. That is, when she’s not having nightmares about being torn apart by sharks. Talk about disturbing.
For the most part, A Brush of Darkness kept me engaged in the story, right up until near the end, which I found a bit slow and very abrupt. I loved the mystery, though, and the run up to the last thirty or so pages. Abby has her work cut out for her. She needs to find Moira – STAT – as well as Brystion’s sister, before she becomes the next dead succubus to turn up on the CrossRoads. Abby doesn’t get much co-operation from her friends, either, as they begin to cast suspicious eyes in her direction, especially after she hooks up with the incubus. It seems that nobody trusts a creature that devours other’s dreams.
I found the world building and the OtherFolk’s dependence on mortals interesting. In order to travel back and forth between realms, they needed to a form a contract with a mortal. Abby’s contract with Moira means that she won’t age for seven years, and she gets one wish at the end. Since the OtherFolk can’t ever quite be trusted, I don’t think that Abby’s payoff is worth the risk she put herself in, but as she is struggling to forgive herself for her mother’s death, she doesn’t place much worth in herself to begin with. She is messed up, both physically and mentally, because of that tragic moment, and she just can’t move beyond it, which gives her enemies ammunition to use against her. It also manifested in a recklessness that often took me by surprise. I sympathized with her, and wanted her to finally find the strength to forgive herself.
I enjoyed A Brush of Darkness, and aside from the lag at the end, found it hard to put down. I’m invested enough in the story and the characters to want to read A Sliver of Shadow, the next book in the series.
Review copy provided by Bewitching Book Tours