A Brush of Darkness is the debut novel by Allison Pang. I was lucky enough to receive a review copy (after adding it to my wishlist – mostly because of the awesome cover) and I’m happy to report it was a fun read. However, I did have a few issues…
Although this is marketed as an urban fantasy, it’s a bit misleading in my opinion. This book is much more paranormal romance. Most of the book is taken up with the relationship between Abby and Brystion. Lots of sensual, heat filled pages. Although I enjoyed it, it wasn’t what I was expecting or promised from the synopsis on the back cover. This is not urban fantasy in my eyes nor is it ‘dark’. It does dip a little unicorn hoof into the UF pool at the end of the book, but mostly it’s very much to do with the sexual relationship between the two main characters.
Also, unfortunately for me, and this is my problem and mine alone, it contains dream sequences – and I really dislike dream sequences – they are a pet peeve of mine in literature. I find they can be far too obscure and I get annoyed and frustrated, so it was with great dismay when I find that Abby is a ‘Dreamer’, which means there are many pages filled with dreams. Other readers may find this aspect of the book enjoyable, sadly I did not.
The plot which surrounds Brystion and Abby is intriguing, although at times confusing, especially with regards to The Crossroads, but it builds to an exciting conclusion, which for me was the best part of the book. The aspect where creatures are being kidnapped and trapped inside paintings was well written and very imaginative.
The characterisation is pretty good too and the world surrounding these characters is interesting, and I loved the bookshop where Abby works. There are many supernatural creatures in ‘A Brush of Darkness’ such as demons, angels, vampires, and incubi, which makes for a varied and fun read.
The two main personalities are likable. Brystion is an incubus and so obviously this leads to lots of sexual scenes, sexual innuendo which was funny at times but slightly too repetitive. Abby is an ok heroine but she’s not particularly kick-arse, until the end when she does find a bit of back bone. The other main character is a little unicorn. When he first arrived on the scene I loved him, with his little legs and tiny body and silky soft main – so cute… until he started humping Abby’s leg and sniffing her knickers!
The aspect to Abby I liked the most was her backstory, which is one of pain, anger and self-blame. An accident sees her mother killed in an awful manner and Abby recovering from a coma leaving a metal plate in her skull and a permanently damaged knee which prevents her from dancing. I feel her pain, sadness and disappointment and there was one passage in particular that moved me considerably and tears pricked my eyes. I love it when my heroines get a strong and detailed background.
Overall, A Brush of Darkness is a fun entertaining read. Ms Pang is a promising new author, her prose brings the world and characters she creates to life and I will definitely watch out for future titles – and after reading this ending though, I’m hoping this is the first in a series!
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