08 fevereiro 2011

Review: A Brush of Darkness (Allison Pang)

Publisher: Pocket (2011)
Format: Mass Market Paperback | 384 pages
Genre(s): Paranormal Romance
Description: "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."
To me, Allison Pang's debut was just "okay" (2 stars worth), but since I really liked Phineas the unicorn and the concept of the paintings (saying more would be spoiler-ish), I threw in an extra star (LOLz).

It's not that this book was an horrible read. It wasn't. Plotwise, it was even interesting. But the execution could have been better, in my humble opinion.

First, I thought the author chose a really bad point in which to start the action/ story. At the beginning of the book, Abby, our heroine, has been a "Touchstone" to a faery for six months; and she has been a "Touchstone" because of some bad things that happened to her in the recent past. But we don't really know what those were and it is never fully explained in the book; I mean, yeah we learn the story about Jett the vampire (somewhat) but not how Abby herself stumbled into the supernatural world. That would be important, since, well, she is the main character.

Also, we're almost literally plunged into Abby's world... she tells us she's a Touchstone and the reader is like "great, what is that anyways?". For the first few chapters there are too many new concepts being thrown around and not enough explanations about what is what. For some things we do get some information, for others just a few hints and the rest are not explained at all. Like, the whole hierarchy of the OtherFolk... why are Faeries the strongest, the most feared? It didn't make sense to me, but I'm sure the author has some kind of idea since it's her world... she just didn't share it with the readers. So as far as world-building goes? Not that good. Still I did like the Crossroads and different beings only managing to walk them at certain times of the day.

Character-wise, things weren't much better. Abby was the typical UF/ PR heroine and although the author mocks the "tall, dark and brooding" type of hero right at the beginning of the book, I think she missed the fact that her male character is exactly that. Or maybe that's what she wanted in the end. I don't know. On a positive note, I loved the unicorn! Hahah, one of the best characters ever, although once he started talking he was much less interesting. :p

The pacing was off for the entire book. The characters were supposed to be investigating a supernatural mystery, but Pang also wanted to incorporate heated romance into the mix and she wasn't able to time it right. It ended up being a paranormal romance (with more angst than I really wanted to read about, but oh well) instead of urban fantasy, and I was sorry for that since the plot was really interesting but underdeveloped to give way to all the hot, sexy scenes between main characters.

Overall, "A Brush of Darkness is a nice first effort. I am not a professional writer or anything, but I'm a semi-professional UF reader (LOL), so I couldn't help noticing all this in the book. Still, I liked it well enough so I might give number two a try.

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