Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Allison Pang - A Sliver of Darkness Review and Giveaway!

A Sliver of Shadow Excerpt:

“Who’s my little man?” The unicorn crooned at Benjamin and then winced when a
hank of beard became the baby’s newest form of entertainment.

“Keep that up and you’ll be a baldy chin,” I retorted. “And I don’t recall asking
your opinion. Not that that’s ever stopped you before. Talivar around?”

“Nope, burned the coffee again. Ran out to get more.” A snort escaped him. “He’s
even worse at it then you are.”

“Probably something about being a prince and not having to actually cook for
himself. At least he’s trying. More than I can say for you.” I stooped to search for
my Crocs, pushing through dust bunnies and clumps of what suspiciously looked
like unicorn droppings. “Christ, Phin, use the toilet or go outside or something.” I
snatched my hand away.

“That’s not me. I think you’ve got mice.” His tone became wheedling.
“I’ll bet. Just clean it up.”

“With what? Gonna turn my tail into a broom?” The furred tuft in question flicked
as if to make the point.

“I’m sure you’ll come up with something. Besides, aren’t unicorn horns proof
against poison? Purifying water, that sort of thing? Surely something that can
bring a dead man back to life can disinfect like Lysol?”

In this latest installment of the Abby Sinclair series, author Allison Pang takes us on a fast-paced, intriguing ride through the world of TouchStones, Daemons, Celestials and Unicorns.  This book takes place approximately 6 months after the events of A Brush of Darkness.  We learn that Abby isn't in much contact with incubus Brystion (Ion for short), and that she is learning how to control her dreams with the help of Sonja, the succubus sister of Ion.  Talivar the sexy and mysterious elven prince is serving as Abby's bodyguard.  Moira, the faerie princess who is Protectorate and ToushStoned to Abby, is absent again, having been called back to the Faery Court.

As the action begins, the Queen of the Faery Court closes down the CrossRoads, which is the path between the human world and the faery world.  This is significant, because it means that the OtherFolk are trapped in the human world and are beginning to fade away.  Without a TouchStone, Otherfolk can die if they cannot return to their realm.

Allison Pang does an excellent job with character development.  All of the characters in this book are layered and deep.  I enjoy the snarkiness of Abby and Phin the unicorn, and I love the brooding, tortured vibes from Brystion and Talivar.  Pang does a great job balancing the darkness in this book with humor.

I didn’t wait to be asked twice, arching on tiptoe to find him again, the whiskey hot on his breath as he groaned. He trapped me against the wall, his arms bent on either side of my face.

“You don’t seem that sorry.”

“Mayhap I’m not,” he agreed, coming up for air a moment later. “You just seemed so…sad.”

“And the prescription for sadness in Faerie is kisses?”

Abby is a loyal and giving character, sometimes to her detriment.  She has survived a frightening past, and is still learning to overcome her fears in this book.  Unfortunately, Abby finds herself in the damndest situations.  One thing after another happens plot wise that seems to be a run of bad luck.  Abby finds herself in a situation where she needs to save the human and faerie worlds and the creatures that inhabit both.

Abby is one lucky girl to have Talivar helping her out in this book.  I was disappointed when he was introduced in A Brush of Darkness because I was already sold on the Abby-Brystion relationship.  In this book, we see much more of Talivar than Brystion, and I appreciate the introduction of Talivar very much.  Talivar has his own secrets and issues, and he has a dark and sexy vibe.  Who doesn't love a tortured hero with an eye patch and a slew of scars?  Abby and Talivar have a lot more in common than what can be seen on the surface.

Talivar grunted in assent, watching Benjamin for a moment before heading past the bar and beelining for the stage.  I watched the prince’s ass, simply because I could.  There was something about that slim-hipped swagger that had my Lord of the Rings inner geek demanding some sort of fan service.  Preferably the mostly undressed sort.

Phin the unicorn is as horny and crude as ever. I like to think of Phin as an amusing, wise-cracking, bacon-loving, ass-biting unicorn but he had a few of his own secrets in this book, too. I was taken aback at one of Phin’s secrets and I don’t think I’d have been as forgiving as Abby. Phin does still bring a touch of levity to this story that had me laughing out loud.

“That piece of shit doesn’t deserve bacon," she growled. “Between the snoring and the biting,” Katy shuddered next to me, cracking open a single bloodshot eye at the backpack. “He didn’t bite me, but he was in my suitcase. Rolling in my…..my unmentionables. There’s glitter everywhere.”
 "Rooooowwwwwwrrrrr,” came the purring retort from my side. “I like the lace. Too bad Abby doesn’t wear any.” 

Brystion doesn’t get as much page time in this book as in the previous one. There is angst surrounding every situation Brystion is found in. Abby still feels an undeniable pull towards the incubus, and Brystion obviously has a “thing” for Abby. But this is complicated. He has to have sex with other women due to his nature, and I can’t fault him for that. As much as I hoped he and Abby would work out their differences in this book, I’m starting to believe now that Ion isn’t the one for Abby. Brystion has his own problems, and one of them is the belief that he could never be the man he wants to be for Abby. As many times as he breaks Abby’s heart, I think he’s breaking his own at the same time.

“When I see you here, standing in the Dreaming…I can think of nothing else.  You shine so brightly and I am so utterly helpless before it.”  

A good portion of this book takes place in Faery, and Allison Pang does a lovely job of world building.  From Abby’s Heart of Dreaming, to Faery, to the characters we are introduced to along the way, this is top-notch world immersion.

My only complaint with this book is the dreaded love triangle.  I was upset at the end of A Brush of Darkness when it seemed like there was no hope for Abby and Brystion.  I still wanted them to work out their problems.  However, as we got to know Talivar, I started rooting for the Crippled Prince.  There is something so vulnerable about him, and although Brystion has the sexy going on, I think Taliver at this point is better all-around for Abby.  I don’t want to see Abby pulled into a bad love triangle, but I have confidence that Pang will make it all work.  I would also like Abby to stop being made a pawn in other people’s games.  It’s time Abby takes her life by the reins and puts an end to this faery manipulation.

This book ends on a cliff hanger.  The type of cliff hanger that will have me breaking down the doors to the bookstore the day that A Trace of Moonlight is released.  How do you feel about cliff hangers?  As much as I hate them, they certainly have me racing back for more!

Tell me - what do you think of this series?  Are you rooting for Brystion or Talivar?  Is Abby making informed choices?  We’d love to hear your thoughts on this book.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Little Sprites said...

I haven't heard of this series, but it sounds awesome and I love finding new books to read. Thanks for the chance to win :D

LilyElement said...

I read A Brush of Darkness and loved it. I forgot that her second book was coming out in February. yay *does happy dance*

I think my favorite thing in the series is the mini unicorn, Phineas. He is rather entertaining.

Miss Vain's Paranormal Fantasy said...

Well I should read this series since I already have the latest installment right??!;)
Great review Jamie!;) Very detailed, I can most certainly tell you read this book carefully!;)

Hope you have tons of entrants in your giveaway!;) Aren't giveaways sooo much fun?!!;) XO

Hi Cat btw! XO

Lisa Richards/alterlisa said...

I haven't read A Brush W/ Darkness but I did just order it this morning. It sounds like a fun new series!

Jamie said...

Phin is fabulous, Lily! But he has a few secrets in this book :)

Miss Vain - Shhhh....

Lisa and Little Sprites - It took me a while to get into the first book, but I attribute that to the world building. It gets very interesting towards the second half of the first book, and the second book is very good! Good luck! It think this series is going to turn into something great :)

Moonjewel said...

I picked up a copy at the L.A. Convention last year. So glad that I did! The originality was refreshing & I loved it! I've had A Sliver of Shadow on pre-order for a while now! Congrats on the release Allison!

Jamie said...

Yeah, Moonjewel! I hope you enjoy it!

Dovelily said...

I am loving the series! Honestly, the writing is first class and the character development is superb. Abby is a very likeable heroine, and who doesn’t love Phin? I mean, really. I was sad at the way things ended between Abby & Brystion at the end of BoD, but the addition of Taliver does make things pretty interesting. Also, I am not well-versed in the fantasy genre, beyond LOTR, anyway, and a bit of vampire and werewolf lore, so I am learning quite a bit about a lot of the fantasy characters through Allison’s books.

I’m not far along enough in SoS yet to really get a good feel for whether Brystion or Taliver is better suited for Abby, but given Brystion’s “profession,” I’m leaning towards Taliver at this point.

Jamie said...

Hi, Dovelily! I was sad about Brystion at the end of the first book, too. But I am all Team Talivar now! Brystion left when things got tough. I think the first book was a much more difficult read than this second one. Enjoy!

Tanya1224 said...

I'm following along on the hop. This book sounds fantastic. I can't believe I never noticed book 1. I personally do not like cliff hangers. It drives me mad and I to will be busting down the bookstore door...lol..well not all the time..I have a kindle so quick downloads =) I love the teasers you posted. I'll take faerie kisses any day. Thanks so much for the post and chance to win. Have a good weekend.

Jamie said...

Hi, Tanya! I see you live in Texas :) I'm a Texas-ex, myself. I went to school in Austin! Love meeting people from central Texas!

Good luck and thanks for stopping by! Like I warned before, the first book took some getting used to and was a bit dry until the end, but this second book is making this into a really great series!

Sophia Rose said...

I have not read the series, but it sounds great. I look forward to reading it.

Thanks for the giveaway opportunity.

JesykaJames said...

Just did a review of this myself. I love this series, I think Allison Pang has developed some really great characters, and did a brilliant job building the fae world.

Awesome review :D

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