OK, so quick disclosure, this review comes after my second read of A Brush of Darkness by Allison Pang. Now, that said, I loved it the first time I read it and I still love it on my second read. If you haven’t yet read A Brush of Darkness, add it to that ever growing list of books to read. After all, who wouldn’t want to meet a miniature unicorn with a penchant for bacon? *wink*.
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.
As I mentioned, I loved A Brush of Darkness just as much, if not more, on my second time reading it as I did when I first read it in February. A little birdie (an author who shall not be named, but it was NOT Allison) tipped me off to A Brush of Darkness, as she had gotten an early copy and raved on and on. So, of course I had to pick it up. Dang if I didn’t stay up til 2am reading it. I almost did it again this time around. The only thing that stopped me was the fact that I’d had really early mornings for the last 2 weeks and another one the next day. I had to get some sleep. It was haaaard though to put it down.
So in Allison’s world you have Fae and daemons and mortals…oh my! There’s also mention of vampires, and we have angels, too. Yeah, an awesome hodge podge of supernaturals. You know you’re gonna have some messed up things go down with this cast of characters *G*.
The heroine, Abby, is pretty new to the whole “OtherKind” scene, having had a not so pleasant first experience with a shady vampire, she now holds a pretty prestigious position to the highest ranking Fae in her area. Only, well, she is quite the newbie and has no idea what she is doing. Well, it would be OK, but her boss, Moira, has kind of disappeared. Abby, being none the wiser to this being weird, doesn’t say anything until an incubus shows up in her bookstore looking for her boss. That’s really when things hit the fan and all hell ends up breaking loose. Not right away, of course, but from the time Brystion (our incubus) shows up around oh, chapter 2 I think, there is action pretty much non-stop.
Abby is actually pretty darn awesome. She does what she thinks is the right thing to do, no matter what anyone else tries to tell her. Now, you know that doesn’t always lead to the most favorable of outcome…well at least in the short run. In the long run, things work out…for now. But, for all her inexperience and sometimes naive view on things, she has her own set of beliefs and doesn’t really take crap from anyone. I like these things in my heroines. Abby’s had to deal with quite a bit in her short life (she’s in her 20s) and that street wise attitude comes across, but hidden behind that sometimes tough exterior is someone who is afraid of being left behind…again.
Then we have Brystion. He’s an incubus, and of course he just ooozes sex. Oh yeah, he’s yummy. He comes in and is all mysterious and you can tell he’s a devious SOB, but dang if I didn’t come to love the little snarky, broody, sexy as sin daemon. Without giving away spoilers and the plot, Brystion needs help as his sister is missing as are 3 other succubi. He comes looking for Abby’s boss, who’s known as the Protectorate of the region and is honor bound to help those who ask. Well, since she’s been MIA, it’s kind of up to Abby. Brystion isn’t quite forthcoming at first, but as he kind of hangs around and banters back and forth with Abby, he warms up and officially asks her to help. So, she does. A big part of why I ended up loving Brystion is because he ends up letting down his defenses with Abby. Even though he’s kind of the reason she gets into loads of trouble and he *should* help her, he also does whatever he can and goes above and beyond to help her out. He ends up falling for her. Yeah, cue the broodiness. By the end, I was sooo ready to smack him.
One other character I just *have* to mention is Phineas, or Phin. He’s our mini unicorn. Holy crap is he just awesome. He’s totally the comic relief in the book. The myth is he can only be touched by virgins, yadda yadda yadda. Welllll, that isn’t entirely accurate. His entrance into Abby’s life is rather interesting, basically he’s brought there as an order, in what Abby thinks is a mistake and this patron tries to steal him. Well, in the ensuing mayhem, he ends up being tied to Abby. What I found quite amusing is for the longest time, he didn’t let on that he could talk. Oh but can he talk. He’s a snark and not always so PG rated filled little animal. Abby constantly finds him hanging out in her underwear drawer. Oh and he bites…in not so PG places either. You can find him on twitter, actually @phintheunicorn if you’re interested. He likes to pop in from time to time with some snark and bacon-laced references. He does help Abby out of a rather precarious situation with the Faerie Court, so he’s not there for all fun and games and snark. If Abby ever tires of him, he can come hang with me for a bit.
I really cannot say enough good things about A Brush of Darkness. The plot is fast paced and action packed from basically the beginning. Allison does a great job of weaving in all that world building that has to be done in book 1 of any series, and for a debut author, that says a LOT imo. I simply could not put A Brush of Darkness down either time I read it. It’s a keeper and I’m not ashamed to admit that I was practically begging for the second book, A Sliver of Shadow, since I finished A Brush of Darkness the first time. If you like UF and especially tales involving the Fae, you simply *have* to pick it up.