Allison Pang - A Brush of Darkness

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From Publishers Weekly: A cluttered cast and an unfocused plot almost bury the pleasantly original world-building in this uneven urban fantasy debut. In a riff from the old ballad "Thomas the Rhymer," the Faery court holds the balance between the forces of heaven and hell, and denizens of all three realms meet in the mortal world via human Touchstones such as hapless Abby Sinclair. Moira, the Faery Protectorate for whom Abby serves as Touchstone, has suddenly vanished, leaving Abby in charge of a supernatural store and at the mercy of a multitude of otherworldly characters. Brystion, a handsome incubus, invades Abby's dreams while investigating the disappearance of his succubus sister and drawing instant hostility from Moira's angelic second-in-command, Robert. The tone veers wildly from horror to erotica to hilarious parody, resulting in an uneasy, unpredictable story that never fulfills the substantial potential of the setup. (Feb.)(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Six months ago, Abby Sinclair made a pact, not with the devil but with the Moira, the Faery Protectorate. Eternal youth was the deal for being Moira's TouchStone; that is, her anchor to the mortal world. When Moira goes missing, Abby discovers how much she still doesn't know about the Otherworld, and that ignorance might well cost her and those around her their lives. Pang enters the urban fantasy realm with a strong debut. While at times Abby's lack of knowledge is a bit frustrating, and her sassiness occasionally comes off more as rude than clever, she is a genuinely likable, well-rounded heroine. The support cast is equally entertaining, and a sexy succubus fills the role of potential love interest all surrounded by a world that is both ridiculous in a good way and yet darkly sublime. Pang's at her best in the truly laugh-out-loud humor that, thankfully, is found throughout what is clearly the first in a series. Fans of Kim Harrison and Jaye Wells will relish a new author to follow. --Nina C. Davis

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