Review- A Brush of Darkness

Allison Pang
Urban Fantasy
384 pages
1st of a series (yet un-named)
Chapter 1
Pocket Books

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 as sexy as sin incubus who shows up searching for his sister—and is convinced Abby has the key to the succubus’s whereabouts. Abby has enough problems without having this seductive shape-shifter literally invading 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 Abby is sucked deeper and deeper into this perilous world of faeries, angels, and daemons, she realizes her life is in as much danger as her heart—and there’s no one she can trust to save her.

Looking for something new?  Tired of reading the same old, same old? {wow, that sounds like an extremely awful chain restaurant commercial} Well then Allison Pang's debut is calling your name, and it might be an inappropriately horny miniature unicorn that's calling for you.  Not for one second did I stop being impressed by this series opener.  Pang's characters are interesting and vivid, the plot is nothing short of fantastic, and the writing style is fluid.  My only complaint?  Time-suck...major time-suck.

Originality is hard to come by these days in UF, but Pang delivers. Her world-building is flawless; everything is fresh and detailed brilliantly. Readers will loose themselves among the pages, I know I did.  Not only is the world memorable, but so are the characters. Abby was one of those characters that I attached to right away.  I don't know if it was because she was just as out of the loop as I was in the beginning, or if it was that her emotions and reactions were so true to life. Right to the very end Abby drew major emotion from me.  You'd think she Touchstoned me. {I couldn't resist. You'll just have to read the book to understand}  And don't get me started on Phin, our nefarious little unicorn.  Not that Abby can't handle her own comic-relief, believe me she can, but he still fits in perfectly with each scene, leaving the reader giggling even during some heavy moments.  
"Why didn't you tell me you could talk?"
"Didn't seem like the right time." He waggled his chin at me. "Besides, this way I could look at your ta-tas without you caring.  Hubba hubba."
Pang never leaves the humor bits for long.  That's not to say there aren't real emotions, aren't true sacrifices left and right, but the delivery is done in such a delightful way you never forget that this is meant to be entertainment after all.  One of my {and spazP} favorite scenes in the book takes place during a major fighting sequence.  Abby and one of the daemons she's fighting exchange a very um, original conversation. 
"...And for the record, shouting World of Warcrat battle cries kind of kills the whole 'imminent death' expectation."
The daemon paused. "What server are you on?" he demanded.
"Righteous. Guild?"
...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 shit. I'm TartBarbie. Undead DeathKnight."
I stared at him. "TB? Seriously? I'm Baconator. Blelf Warlock. You did a hell of a job tanking on that raid the other night."

...and I laughed and I laughed.  Seriously, I snorted A LOT in this book...and I'm not afraid to admit it,  but I was also left with a ton of emotions for these characters I've grown so fond of.  Truly one of the most original stories I've read in a long long time.

Bottom Line: Home-run series opener complete with a strong heroine, an original cast of engaging characters, and a plot you wont guess coming.

5 stars


  1. Jess - I am sooooo happy to have someone to appreciate that scene with. THANK YOU for giving me someone to laugh at that with. I swear, you know that could have fallen flat, but it was so perfectly done!! "But she's a guildie!" LOVE! Once again, we love the same book :)

  2. I'm all over this like white on rice. Thanks for a stellar review Jess!

  3. You had me at WoW, lol, that sounds so cool

  4. This really sounds like an awesome book. I am going to pick it up as soon as I can. All thanks to you and to Pamela I have another book to squeeze into my reading pile somehow... *sigh* ;)

  5. I've heard great things about this one. I can't wait to read it. You're right-originality is hard to come by in UF these days.

  6. Spaz: I'm seriously getting a miniature "TartBarbie" L/P for my beach-cruiser

    Jen: You're gonna love it

    Blodeuedd: OMG the scene is brilliant (and it's not the only WoW reference)

    Julie: You wont be sorry.... I hope

    Colette: It really is like nothing else out there

  7. Fabulous review Jess! Ever since your post featuring this as an up-coming-release I put it on my TBR list and you just made me even happier that I placed it there! :-) I love horses so much and unicorns are no exception so a funny unicorn makes it just that much more exciting!