MandyM's Reviews > A Sliver of Shadow

A Sliver of Shadow by Allison Pang
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Mar 07, 12

bookshelves: urban-fantasy, paranormal-romance
Read from March 06 to 08, 2012

Book 2 in an addictive yet frustrating urban fantasy series. The heroine is Abby, a Touchstone (a mortal bound to help OtherFolk cross between Faery and human worlds).

Set 6 months after book 1, Brystion has been absent from Abby's life and she has been getting to know her bodyguard, Talivar, the Crippled Prince of the Fae, while playing nanny to her Fae boss Moira's son. An attack on Abby backfires and the Fae Queen is forced to close the gates to Faery. Meaning that all fae trapped on the human side start to fade and die. Abby and her crew travel through Faery to confront the Queen and undergo many adventures and meetings along the way, as well as learning some shocking revelations about Abby's family. A crazy Queen, an old enemy, attacking demon armies and two men she can't make her mind up about are just a few of the obstacles in Abby's way.

The worldbuilding is creative and complex, and the creatures, especially the demons and Unseelie are beautiful and otherworldy. The author's wonderful descriptive passages, (e.g. a graveyard in the human world, or a bustling Unseelie fair), create an evocative and ethereal atmosphere which enhances the engrossing storyline. I really enjoyed the trip into Faerie. The book verged more on a fantasy novel than an urban fantasy at times. And I sort of wished it was a fantasy series because I want to know more about the politics, history and creatures of the OtherWorlds. This series has the possibility of becoming truly epic but I don't know if the author will take it in that direction. A glossary would certainly have helped.

The Fae are so bloody frustrating and annoying at times. Completely self-absorbed and ruthless. They treat Abby as the worst sort of pawn and blame her for everything. Most of the time I was gobsmacked she didn't tell them to eff off. But she is the heroine and is too noble for that of course. There's not a lot of growth in Abby's Dreamwalking powers in this installment. The villains are not too bad but there are numerous clunky plot devices in play to keep them in the story when in fact it would have been easy to kill them off at the beginning.

I don't know what to say about the love triangle. I'm not a fan of that device, yet I started to become very fond of Talivar, then changed my mind again by the end. I don't know who I want her to be with and sometimes I'm mad at her for not being able to make up her mind. I didn't like the dance scene in the Faerie court. I thought that was playing up the love triangle too much! Seemed a bit silly to me.

I liked Phin better in this one. He seemed caricaturish and sleazy in the first novel but this time around I became more attached and I'm worried about the implications of the 'like a bee-sting' remark. I loved the little side story about Melanie and Nobu. Very intriguing. Maybe their own story down the track (like Andrea and Rafael from the Kate Daniels series) would be fun. One of the strength of this series are all the secondary characters who seem to have many layers and secrets still to be discovered.

I think the cover is beautiful and suits what I imagine the ex-ballerina Abby to look like. I don't know if I liked Abby as much in this book but the storyline and worldbuilding were great and I will definitely be picking up book 3. Recommended for urban fantasy fans with an interest in Fae mythology.
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Reading Progress

03/06/2012
4.0% "Like the Matrix reference! "I'll stick with the blue pill, thanks"."
03/07/2012
18.0% "I was really worried about the love triangle thing but I am becoming very sympathetic to Talivar, the Crippled Prince. No sign of Brystion yet. As usual Abby is in the middle of a heap of shit but this author is really inventive and I'm totally caught up in the story."
03/07/2012
18.0% "Shit I just read another review and saw it ends on a cliffie! Noooo...." 2 comments
03/07/2012
32.0% "Sometimes Abby is more like a victim than a heroine. I wish she had a big, blazing, kickass magic sword so she could smite some of these pushy fae!"
03/07/2012
43.0% "Oh Phineas, Phineas, Phineas! That 'bee-stinger' remark has got me really worried." 4 comments

Comments (showing 1-29 of 29) (29 new)

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Experiment BL626 We should read this together. =)


MandyM Sure! When are you thinking of starting?


message 3: by Experiment BL626 (last edited Mar 04, 2012 04:18PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Experiment BL626 MandyM wrote: "Sure! When are you thinking of starting?"

Today. Also, I just came across this series a second ago: Fated by Benedict Jacka. I think you might this series too. =D


message 4: by MandyM (last edited Mar 04, 2012 04:29PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

MandyM Thanks for the rec. It looks promising. I especially liked the reviews by Mark and Stacey. I am ashamed however to admit that I haven't read coughdresdenfilescough yet, which all the reviewers are comparing it to. I know that's appalling! lol But it will be nice to come in at the beginning of this new series with Fated.


MandyM I'll start ASOS in a couple of hours.:)


Experiment BL626 LOL. For some reason, it's seem standard for an Urban Fantasy fan to read at least one book in the Dresden File series and one book in the Anita Blake series. They often the books compared as a baseline.

All right. =D


MandyM Just dragging my feet a bit with starting. Life is getting in the way of my reading lol. I'll have to wait until after work tomorrow to start now.:)


Experiment BL626 I finished! Better than book 1. =) I love the sprinkled geek references: "The cake is a lie"; Death Note; Yaoi. The love triangle, on the other hand, I can do without. I can't believe the incubus is still crushing on Abby.


message 9: by Ami (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ami I never read Anita Blake, though it has been used as benchmark several times. But Dresden Files, me loving it. In fact, it was one of my first forays into the world of urban fantasy, when I bought the 1st book back in 2007.


Experiment BL626 Ami wrote: "I never read Anita Blake, though it has been used as benchmark several times. But Dresden Files, me loving it. In fact, it was one of my first forays into the world of urban fantasy, when I bought ..."

The first half of the series is typical UF, last half is a trip to orgy erotica. You're not missing out on much.

Me too! The Dresden File was also my first foray into UF. If you love the Dresden Files I recommend these other two series:
Hounded (Iron Druid Chronicles, #1) by Kevin Hearne The Mister Trophy (Markhat, #1) by Frank Tuttle

The Abby Sinclair series is beginning to grow on me. I love how the author is integrating eastern mythology with celtic mythology in book 2. The only other UF series I know that does this is this series:
Rosemary and Rue (October Daye, #1) by Seanan McGuire


message 11: by Ami (last edited Mar 05, 2012 02:25PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ami Well, I already have The Iron Druid Chronicles, and they are one of my highlights last year. I read the 1st Markhat series last year, since K.Z. Snow said it was better than Harry Dresden, but I wasn't 100% sold. Still holding out for the second book.

Oh, I was in mission to find male-protagonist in UF series last year. And I found several that I loved. You could see some of them on my shelves (though I need to mark them differently, to make it easy!). Some of those I love are:

Unshapely Things (Connor Grey, #1) by Mark Del Franco Master of None (Gavyn Donatti, #1) by Sonya Bateman Death Most Definite (Death Works Trilogy #1) by Trent Jamieson Chimera (Chimera, #1) by Rob Thurman

Sonya Bateman is actually another pen name for the M/M author S.W. Vaughn


message 12: by Experiment BL626 (last edited Mar 05, 2012 02:36PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Experiment BL626 Ami wrote: "Well, I already have The Iron Druid Chronicles, and they are one of my highlights last year. I read the 1st Markhat series last year, since K.Z. Snow said it was better than Harry Dresden, but I wa..."

A friend of mine recommended me Markhat. I learned from our discussion that the series you read first is the series you prefer after reading the other series. For example, if you read Markhat first and Dresden second, there's a good chance you will think Markhat is better.

I have Undone Deeds (Connor Grey, #6) by Mark Del Franco in my TBR pile. I need to read that sometime this week.

I finished the Death Most Definite (Death Works Trilogy #1) by Trent Jamieson series. I hated it. I don't mind Gary Stu MC, but in this series I strongly do. Ugh.

I dnf-ed Master of None (Gavyn Donatti, #1) by Sonya Bateman... There might be a chance I'll pick it up again, but it's very slim. The protagonist was too TSTL for my taste. Wow, I didn't know that about Sonya. That's cool.

Incidentally, these three series have very passive protagonists. There are kick-ass heroines, but where are the kick-ass heroes? XP


message 13: by Ami (last edited Mar 05, 2012 02:45PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ami You are right, kick-ass heroes are far and between, aren't they? Kick-ass hero is Harry Dresden, through and through *lol*.

Too bad that you didn't like Trent Jamieson's "Managing Death" series. I love that the hero is a slacker. But man, the ending still made me heartbroken!

I am still trying to find great UF with male protagonist. I tried Dead To Me (Simon Canderous, #1) by Anton Strout but wasn't impressed with the MC. I tried Midnight Riot (Peter Grant, #1) by Ben Aaronovitch but it was too 'British' for my taste.

I'm still figuring out whether to try any books by Simon R. Green or that Matthew Swift series by Kate Griffin


Experiment BL626 Ami wrote: "You are right, kick-ass heroes are far and between, aren't they? Kick-ass hero is Harry Dresden, through and through *lol*.

Too bad that you didn't like Trent Jamieson's "Managing Death" series..."


Dresden isn't really a kick-ass hero, imo. His ass gets kicked more often. He tend to react to situation than rather taking charge of it. Rarely, do I see him taking the initiative unless someone forces his hand or threatens his loved ones. I really wish he wasn't afraid of acquiring more power and using it to defend to his loved ones. I really hope Ghost Story was a wakeup call for him.

I did like book 1 in the Trent series, but it just went downhill from there. The ending was heartbroken, I agree. Yet a part of me said 'good riddance'. The series had great potential, but alas it was very narrow-minded in its interpretation of death. It would have been much more interesting had the author integrated different beliefs from other cultures. The Iron Druid Chronicles did this, with its Hell and Valhalla and SummerLand and Nirvana.


Experiment BL626 Ami wrote: "You are right, kick-ass heroes are far and between, aren't they? Kick-ass hero is Harry Dresden, through and through *lol*.

Too bad that you didn't like Trent Jamieson's "Managing Death" series..."


I love Midnight Riot (Peter Grant, #1) by Ben Aaronovitch. I didn't mind the British element, it was actually quite refreshing. FYI, the Fated by Benedict Jacka also take places in the UK.

I don't recommend you reading A Madness of Angels (Matthew Swift #1) by Kate Griffin unless can handle the purplish prose. Try an excerpt and you'll see what I mean.

I read 1 book by Green and 2 by Strout. I didn't hate them, it was more like I got sidetracked with better UF.


message 16: by Ami (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ami Experiment BL626 wrote: "I didn't mind the British element, it was actually quite refreshing"

I guess I'm just not used to British writing or such. I'm too familiarized with American style. BUT, I still consider to purchase the next book on that Midnight series.

Thanks for the advice on Kate Griffin! I guess that will not be a priority then. I guess I have to settle with UF/PNR to be having more female protagonists ...

By the way, sorry to take-over your comment section, Mandy!!


Experiment BL626 Ami wrote: "Experiment BL626 wrote: "I didn't mind the British element, it was actually quite refreshing"

I guess I'm just not used to British writing or such. I'm too familiarized with American style. BUT,..."


The British element used to bother me too until I read Harry Potter and like it. It was then I realized that the problem was the writing and not the setting. A good localization of the books solve that problem, I believe. Now, I hardly care since I have more international online friends than I do with American online friends and I'm used to their ways of speaking. I find myself slipping into UK English grammar. I still prefer an American setting in my UF, but I won't disregard UF that doesn't have that.

I noticed that you live in Indonesia. Does your bookstores stocked American regionalized books or Australian regionalized books?

One kick-ass hero in UF I can think of is from Child of Fire (Twenty Palaces, #1) by Harry Connolly. I sorely wish the author would continue the series.


message 18: by Ami (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ami Experiment BL626 wrote: "I noticed that you live in Indonesia. Does your bookstores stocked American regionalized books or Australian regionalized books?"

Mostly Americans. The bookstores sometimes have UK/International edition but I don't think we get a lot of Australian regionalized books here. Not that i recall.


MandyM It ends in a Cliffie??!!! Nooo...

BTW I'm loving this story.:)


Experiment BL626 MandyM wrote: "It ends in a Cliffie??!!! Nooo...

BTW I'm loving this story.:)"


Yup, a big ass cliffhanger. I read the excerpt for the next book and it seems like Abby lost her memory or something. Damn.


MandyM You know I thought I'd be put off by the love triangle thing cause I hate them but 20% in and I already love Talivar the Crippled Prince! (I know, so fickle, LOL)


Experiment BL626 I'm ambivalent towards the love triangle. I don't know why Ion is still stuck on Abby. He's an incubus, shouldn't he move on to his next conquest? Last time I check, an incubus needs some sex to stay alive. And Talivar... I don't know, he seems too good to be true. I think there's more to him than meets the eye. I agree with Ion about the faes having their own agenda.


MandyM Yeah these Fae are definitely not the 'happy and dancing around in the forest' type are they. Very calculating and complex and even ruthless. Haven't seen a lot of evidence that they even really care about human beings.


Experiment BL626 We're only useful as Touchstones as far as they're concerned. It seems like when things go up the toilet, they expect Abby to clean it up. I'm surprised Abby didn't hold a grudge against her bio dad, Thomas. If she did, it surely was not big enough for me to consider it a grudge. I really wanted to kick Thomas in the ball. The nerve of him to tell Abby what to do or to do anything for him after the shit that he put Abby and her mother through. The fact that he tried to cover it up as love and protection, please. I was not born yesterday.


MandyM I haven't got up to the Thomas part yet and I don't remember him from Book 1. Sounds like a reall ass though.>:(


Experiment BL626 You finished. Now about Thomas... asshole or not?


MandyM He certainly has some pretty weak excuses for why he disappeared out of Abby's life. But I don't think I got to know enough about him to give him a definitive 'asshole' tag, just a temporary one. I'm hoping he acts better in the next book. At this stage in my perfect world at the end of the series Talivar will be the king of fae and Abby his touchstone. But then what about Ion... I'm torn. What do you think? How would you like it to end?


message 28: by Experiment BL626 (last edited Mar 07, 2012 11:07PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Experiment BL626 The Queen and Touchstone Thomas didn't work out as a couple so well. Why would it be any different if it was King Talivar and Touchstone Abby? It would be history repeating itself. I see a happier future with Abby and Ion... Yet I don't like Ion all that much. Either he wants Abby or he don't — stop playing games.

I don't know enough to know how I want the series to end. All I see is a huge war looming upon the races, Daemons vs Faeries. And there is the Angels... and us humans. A question bothers me: Why now after all this time? I know Maurice have something to do with it, but I'm not all that ready to believe he's the mastermind. I believe someone else is the mastermind. I got this theory where there is this self-righteous asshole of an Angel who wants the Daemon and Faery to war against each other so that they can both destroy each other. It's either an Angel or some human with some major power and a huge grudge.


MandyM That's a great theory. It's certainly epic enough in scope to support a big war of the species. I just read the excerpt from the next book and I'm back to preferring Ion! lol


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