“I had two separate experiences with this book: the beginning, where you are mired in a world that you know nothing about and are in a state of near constant confusion; and, the second half where you're so riveted by the story you can't turn the pages fast enough. Funny how my feelings seemed to...”see full review » see other reviews »
“I had two separate experiences with this book: the beginning, where you are mired in a world that you know nothing about and are in a state of near constant confusion; and, the second half where you're so riveted by the story you can't turn the pages fast enough. Funny how my feelings seemed to mirror that of the heroine, Abby Sinclair, and I believe this may have been the designed effect of the author and pretty brilliant. I suffered through the beginning, almost to the point of quitting but was utterly hooked by the second half of the story and settled in for a very interesting ride.
The story begins with Abby continuing to behave as if everything is normal, even though it's been four months since she's seen Moira, Protectorate of the Faery, her employer and the person she's responsible for as a TouchStone (mortal who provides those immortals or OtherFolk the ability to cross between worlds). Abby's pretty clueless about her role and Moira's world and those around her thinks she's pretty lame as a TouchStone for the most important immortal residing in the human world. When things start to get dicey, it becomes impossible to keep Moira's disappearance secret. It also becomes clear that something more is amiss when other disappearances come to light. Abby might be hapless initially but we end up seeing she has lightning sharp instincts that become invaluable.
While this is considered to be fantasy, there's much more paranormal romance than expected when Abby becomes involved with Brystion, a daemon incubus who infiltrates her mind but also gives her the awareness that she's a Dreamer. I normally don't like dream sequences but after a bit, they become such a natural part of the action and are seamlessly woven into the fabric of the story. Brystion and Abby's relationship is sensual and unusual, but one that is often problematic.
Pang has created an utterly fascinating world with layered, complicated characters and if you can be patient through the first half, you'll get your payoff with the second. Abby is both frustrating at times and insightful at others. She's an enigma with a snarky sense of humor and a big heart. Oh, and there's a perverted unicorn that shows up that will keep you in stitches. The ending was a surprise and had me jump right into the next book so be forewarned. ”
“loved it--anxiously awaiting the next in the series :)”KD wrote this review Tuesday, July 31, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I'm pretty sure A Brush of Darkness has now cemented my love of this genre! Abby Sinclair takes her rightful place among my favorite female protagonists of all time! Sassy, sarcastic, and downright awesome, Abby is the type of woman who won't let anyone else push her around. What I loved most about her character was the fact that Pang wrote her with such depth. From the beginning you know there is more to Abby than meets the eye. As the book progresses, little bits come to light. It makes for a fantastic and engrossing read.
However it isn't just Abby that steals the show. Brystion of course is the dark, brooding and smoldering love interest. From the first moment he was introduced I knew I was going to fall for him. Yes, he plays the classic bad boy image, but (and pardon my French) damn does he do it well! This incubus has no qualms with admitting what he is. He is sex personified, and he is delicious. Behind him the other characters kind of pale in comparison, but they do their part and they do it right. Pang populates her world with all types of otherwordly creatures. Including, and of course my favorite, Phineas the unicorn. If you thought unicorns were sweet and lovely, well, you thought wrong. We'll leave it at that.
True to the genre, there is a fabulous amount of outright action present in A Brush of Darkness! This is a wild ride through not only the mortal world, but the world of the other and everywhere in between. I loved the way that Abby and Brystion played off one another. I was also quite appreciative of their more sensual scenes. Pang treats these two with class and, although they definitely sizzle on the page, the scenes aren't overly descriptive. Just enough to make your skin tingle, if you know what I mean.
Wickedly funny, this is a book that will have you reading like mad! I could go on and on about the characters, the vivid world building and everything else, but really you'll just have to read this to appreciate it fully! If you like sexual tension, snarky humor and a roller coaster ride of a plot, this is one for you! I cannot wait for more of Abby and Brystion. Bring it on! I'll be here.”
“A Brush of Darkness
Reviewed by Angela & posted at Under the Covers Book Blog
Allison Pang is one of the authors that is responsible for my addiction to paranormal reads. She has created a unique world of fae, demons, succubus, angels, and humping unicorns living amongst humans. This is a book to surely to bring emotions of lust, laughter, excitement and sadness.
There is a world of “OtherFolks” that exists in a linearplane, if you will, but none of the beings are able to interact, visit or live amongst the human world unless they have a Touchstone. It is a symbiotic relationship. As a Touchstone, the otherfolk will have entrance to the human world amongst other things and in return, the humans will live longer and a wish will be granted at the end of their contract.
Abby Sinclair is a newly contracted Touchstone for a FaeProtectorate, Moira. This top-notch fae disappears one day without a trace. Abby is left to cover for all of Moira’s duties but Abby starts getting overwhelmed as things get complicated…especially when one of the complications comes in the form of a sexy succubus.
Brystion, THE ever so sexy succubus, comes in looking for Moira hoping for some assistance with his sister. She disappeared about the same time Moira had gone missing. And he will stop at nothing and do anything to get her back safe if it means to use his powers, so be it. I do have to say that “Brystion is eye candy of the highest caliber…”
I was sucked in to both Abby and Bristion’s story. They are not tortured heroes but definitely with a past that affects their trust in the present. The sexual tension was strong between them and the way they handled it was very mature. None of the "I want you but not really" situations, they just went along and did when they wanted to. The romance had great timing and I fell in love right along with them.
The sub-characters were just as great. They fit the over all plot and they make you want to read more.
There will be some betrayals, misunderstandings, and sadly, hurt feelings. You will get mystery, some action and I do have to say that there is a mild cliffhanger. Honestly, along with the mystery and drama, part of reading UF books is the joy of cliffhangers. I can deny it all I want but in the end, it leaves me NEEDING more. The overall story was great and I know this series will be worth my time to invest on.
My last words (I’m sure this will make sense after you read this book):
I am for TEAM BRYSTION!!!
Review Copy Provided By~Publisher
A Brush of Darkness has it all: paranormal, shape-shifting, ghouls, angels, incubus, unicorns, romance, heat, humor, suspense and an uncanny ability to draw the reader into its clutches and hold tight until the end.
While I admit that in the beginning I felt as though I missed something within the story (I actually had to double check a couple of times to be sure that this was, indeed, the first in the series) I loved the storyline, the premise of the story and the characters. Abby is a fairly new human Touchstone to the beloved Faery Protectorate, Moira, who has been missing for a couple of months now, a fact that only Abby is aware of. While things are not going perfectly, they are going fairly well - that is until the hotter than hot incubus, Brystion, shows up claiming that he needs help to find his sister who has disappeared. To make matters more complicating, Brystion unwittingly makes Abby his Touchstone, connecting them in a way that will not be looked upon favorably. Needless to say, the fact that Moira has been missing, quickly becomes known and sends everyone on a desperate search for her. It doesn't take long for Abby to also realize that the disappearance of Brytion's sister is in some way connected and that if she doesn't help him find her, and quickly, many lives may be lost - including her own.
In the beginning of my review, I had mentioned that I had the feeling that I missed something along the way. The reason that I felt this way is that the story begins with Abby as a Touchstone, without reason as to how or why she became such. This was a bit awkward for me, however as the story progresses, these issues are explained and everything comes together. Other than this issue, I loved the rather uniqueness of the story, the parallels of the different worldly realms between the crossroads and the connection of humans with these OtherWorldly beings. The story basically brings to life all the different mythical creatures that we have heard about and brings readers into their world where they co-exist with one another - as well as with humans (though most humans are completely unsuspecting). A Brush of Darkness is an excellent story in the Urban Fantasy genre with characters that I truly loved.
Abby has demons of her own that she has been trying to fight, without much success. Her demons are very "human" and make her a very likable character. She is incredibly intelligent, strong and rather sassy. I loved her personality through and through. Brystion is incredibly sexy, ornery, lovable and has a vulnerable side that he hides very well. Together, they are combustible and had me yearning for them to be together the entire time.
There are several other characters also within the story that play very important parts. Even with the large cast, I never found myself lost or confused and was drawn to the way Allison Pang gave each character their own distinct personality and traits that made them easy to connect with. Even some of the bad guys had endearing qualities.
As for the story, itself, I felt that it flowed very well. The transitions between realms and scenes were smooth and worked in a way that made me want to keep reading, rather than wanting to ever step back from the story. When I wasn't able to read, I found myself yearning to get back to the story to see what was going to happen next. I have the second in the series: A Sliver of Shadow waiting for me and I am incredibly excited to dive back into Abby's world to see what trouble awaits her once again. For readers of Urban Fantasy and authors such as Richelle Mead (with her Succubus series), this series by Allison Pang will delight!
Favorite Quote: Balance slowly regained, I glanced up at him, and slid my hands into my pockets to hide my trembling fingers. "What the hell was that?"
Surprise flickered across his face, quickly replaced by something a bit more appraising. "I don't know," he said finally. "It wasn't suppose to happen."
His gaze lingered on me, somehow managing to be impudent and measured at the same time, but the overconfident cockiness was gone.
"Wow. I find myself strangely not reassured by that." I crossed my arms, hunching my back protectively. I was Moira's Touchstone, by God, marked by a sacred OtherFolk bond that should be beyond contestation and this asshat had just violated every precept that I was aware of.
I was outraged.
I was lived, even.
I was hopelessly out of my league.
“Review Courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales
Quick & Dirty: Full of snarky and sexy characters that leave you laughing at their antics and crying with them through their pain.
Opening Sentence: Cat piss and cabbages.
A Brush of Darkness falls in a very small group for me: books I can’t get enough of. There is so much going on with this diverse set of characters that it leaves me looking for more. And it is the characters that make this story for me, not the world they are a part of. It’s Abby’s emotional armor and her way of dealing with stressful situations. It’s an incubus’s lack of morals but a strong sense of obligation and protectiveness. It’s an angel that swears like a sailor and a perverted unicorn named Phineas. It’s a boss that leaves her employee with so much responsibility but not the proper knowledge to deal with it. And that is just some of the characters we meet. How can one possibly not want to know more about them and what they’re going to do next?
Abby Sinclair is the TouchStone of a powerful fae but does not know much about her job. TouchStones are ties for the OtherWorld folk to remain in the mortal world without restrictions. Two beings must enter a formal contract where each party is amenable to. Contracts are highly regulated so that OtherWorld residences do not take advantage of mortals. Not that she cares about all of that. All she knows is how to run her boss’s businesses while she is out of town. Of course, nothing stays easy for long. Brystion, a succubus, has come looking for help to find his missing sister, and Abby is the only one around. Not that Abby can do much, but she thinks that it’s the right thing to do even though she is scared. Many more women have gone missing, including Abby’s boss. But now they have stumbled upon something so much bigger, a plot to take over the Faerie Queen’s throne.
Abby is, at heart, a coward. Abby’s past and the reasons behind her decisions are discovered throughout the story. But one thing remains true, Abby is haunted by nightmares and she is not strong enough to face them. I think if things didn’t happen as they did, she would not even have given them a second thought. She would have gladly stayed with her head firmly in the sand. Finding out that she is a KeyStone, a person that can become a TouchStone without a formal Contract, is a turning point for her. But will this give her the strength she’ll need in order to fight for herself and her friends? Or will she continue to allow her fears to rule her actions until it is too late?
Brystion is a succubus. His kind are not known for their loyalty or honesty, nor are they synonymous with monogamy. The TouchStone bond he created with Abby was by accident, but it turns out to be a good thing for both of them. The intimacy they share through the bond leads them to become more intimate with one another in other ways. Brystion turns out to be just as emotionally stunted as Abby. The secrets he keeps from her become their undoing. Even when they risk their lives for one another, are they willing to risk their hearts as well?
But the byplay between Abby and Brystion is not the main conflict in this book. The foundation of OtherWorld/mortal relations is in jeopardy when Abby’s boss goes missing. Moria is the protectorate, the one that enforces the rules for the OtherFolk in the mortal world. With her not around, there is no longer any guarantee that things will remain cordial. But is her disappearance related to the recent string of missing succubi? Can Abby and her friends’ rescue those kidnapped, or will they too become victims in the larger painting of deceit and sacrifice?
Overall, Ms. Pang’s characters have both depth and realism that allow a reader to connect with them. These fantastic creatures all show dimensions of humanity. This blending of real world and imagination make for a heady combination. All of the literary and pop culture allusions give the conversations throughout the book an extra layer of understanding. It gives me reason to be happy about all those cult movie classics I’ve watched and classic books I’ve read. I feel a closer connection to these fictional characters that would not have been otherwise.
“Lok’tar ogar!” The daemon holding me pulled my head back, exposing my throat.
“Victory or death,” I retorted at my captor hoarsely. “For the Horde. And for the record, shouting World of Warcraft battle cries kind of kills the whole ‘imminent death’ expectation.”
The daemon paused. “What server are you on?” he demanded.
I couldn’t imagine what the hell that mattered at this point, but it was keeping alive so that was a bonus. I’d gladly spit out the rest of my Warcraft stats if it bought me a few more minutes. “Yeah,” I coughed. “ElfhunterBitches.”
He blinked and then grinned, tapping himself on the chest. “No shot. I’m TartBarbie. Undead DeathKnight.”
I stared at him. “TB? Seriously? I’m Baconator. Belf Warlock. You did a hell of a job tanking on that raid the other night.”
“Yeah, I am pretty awesome.” He glanced over his shoulder, releasing me. “Look, if I’d known it was you, I’d never have agreed to this. Go on.” He nudged me with a leather boot. “I’ll tell them you got away.”
I didn’t have to be told twice. “Thanks,” I said softly. “I’ll make it up to you, somehow.”
“No worries.” He winked. “See you next Thursday.”
The Abby Sinclair Series:
1. A Brush of Darkness
2. A Sliver of Shadow
FTC Advisory: Simon & Schuster/Pocket Books provided me with a copy of A Brush of Darkness. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review. The only payment received came in the form of hugs and kisses from my little boys.”
“A Brush of Darkness is the first book in the Abby Sinclair series by Allison Pang and a Pocket Books Urban Fantasy.
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.
In the world Abby lives in the Otherfolk are out and about - trying to live like anyone else. But in order for them to live on Earth, the Otherfolk need a TouchStone - a mortal to ground them to this plane.
Abby is a TouchStone. And not just any TouchStone. She is the Contracted TouchStone of the Protectorate - Moira. But Moira has not be around for months now and Abby is starting to worry.
When Brystion shows up asking for Moira, Abby has to tell him that she is not available - but Brystion is desperate to find his sister - so Abby agrees to help him. And soon finds herself in over her head.
Not only is Brystion’s sister missing - but it looks like Moira and several Otherfolk may be as well. Abby has found a common link between the missing - but it’s going to take a lot more than one mortal woman to save them...especially when Abby doesn’t know who to trust.
A Brush of Darkness is an enjoyable read. Abby is snarky and sassy and flawed - but determined and loyal and fearless as well. I can’t wait to read more.
I give A Brush of Darkness 4 out of 5 stars.
Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Pocket Books (January 25, 2011)
“Fantastic new Urban Fantasy with a sexy twist series. If you're a fan of Kim Harrison's Urban Fantasy "Hollows Series" you're sure to love this book. I have never heard of this author before and can't find any other books by her, so if this is her debut book, I have to say I'm really impressed! Great storyline, really funny at times, but touching too. I can't wait for the 2nd book to come out the end of Feb. - a definite pre order for me.”Lady S wrote this review Saturday, January 28, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This was super enjoyable. I wondered if I missed a book since this one often refers back to her brush with a vampire and her start of relationship with the protectorate.
“This book is really different and interesting. It focuses on "OtherWorld" people using mortals as touchstones to move between worlds. Abby is knee deep in this world without a lot of knowledge on what exactly is going on. She's not stupid though and the one thing I really liked about her was how she readily admitted that she was a screw up at times. She finds out that different beings are missing including the one she is the touchstone for. She's also very funny and snarky.
There are many paranormal beings ~ angels, vamps, weres, succubi/incubi, and fae...just to name a few and there are no clear cut bad or good guys. Some are suppose to follow certain "paths"...ie the light or dark path but some who should be good guys, don't always act that way. Knowledge is power and Abby can't always trust what beings say or don't say.
There are some smexy scenes and Brystion is quite yummy. It was enjoyable getting to know about him and read about him and Abby. If you would like to see how he could look, check out the author's web page for some interesting pictures.
The ending SUCKED!! I haven't found out when the next book comes out but I definitely will be reading it!
BTW....hilarious character is Phineas ~ a miniature unicorn. He comes into Abby's life and she becomes his touchstone as well. He has a great relationship with Abby and they keep each other on their toes. Here's a great line:
"The unicorn : I'm not a chihuahua, you know.
Abby : You hump my leg like one."