Book Review: Allison Pang’s A Sliver of Shadow

Posted August 10, 2012 by Kathy Davie in

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Allison Pang’s A Sliver of Shadow

A Sliver of Shadow

on February 28, 2012 and has 384 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Second in the Abby Sinclair urban fantasy series revolving around a Keystone named Abby and based in Portsmyth and it’s been eight months since events in A Brush of Darkness.

My Take

This one is busy with a ton of action, heaps of drama and a beaucoup tension. Talivar cracks me up with his comment about tidying things up, thinking that “a lot of our problems would disappear if she hit her head on something hard. Repeatedly.” Just a little oopsie…

Well, it’s consistent Abby. Just leaping in without thought. Ooh, then there’s the lesson Brystion provides when he withdraws his protection. Ouch. Sensitive isn’t she? Talivar takes a chance. Believes that perhaps Abby will see him as a person and not just a cripple because of her own scars and she just leaps to all the wrong conclusions. And gets nasty about it.

Pang makes me a bit nuts. It’s one thing to tease the reader along. It’s another to fling the bits of info about and not finish it. I’m also missing out on the whole deal where Abby tells Talivar and Brystion that she’s done with both of them, but pages later she is with Talivar as though nothing happened.

I did enjoy this story for its complexity — other than the unresolved bits that make my head hurt! There is a lot of innuendo, suggestion, and obtuse reference that keeps dragging me back. I want to know what happens, what it means. Although, there is Abby’s inability to think before speaking and using her big mouth that keeps getting everyone into trouble that drives me batty.

I debated between a “2” and a “3”, but, as you can see, the “3” won out simply because Pang did have a good storyline with some interesting twists.

The Story

Moira is off to Court leaving Abby in charge. Again. This time Abby is babysitting eight-month-old Benjamin, Moira’s baby, with Talivar as her bodyguard. A job he takes quite seriously. Especially when some bitch shows up claiming she’s the new Protectorate. Yeah, well, her actions don’t endear her to anyone.

Especially that ill-judged attack that goes so badly awry. The spell went a lot wider than Tresa had intended, Instead of just cutting off the CrossRoads from the fae with whom Abby is TouchStoned, Tresa gave Abby’s seizures to all the fae. All. Of. Them. Not knowing why the attack was launched, the Queen has shut off all access to the CrossRoads. Without access, any fae caught in the mortal world will fade away and die.

Making things worse, the Queen is growing madder by the day and demons are threatening war. And the CrossRoads are just an excuse for what they really want.

The Characters

Abby Sinclair is a living KeyStone, several steps up from the TouchStone everyone had thought she was. Phineas is a tiny unicorn with a total dislike for virgins. He’s also a bit of a perve with a secret that will make Abby angry.

Talivar is the Crippled Prince, Moira’s brother (same mother, different father — Talivar’s father being the king while Moira’s was True Thomas). A fae despised for his disfigurement and limp. He’s currently acting as bodyguard to Abby. And he’d liked to get much closer to that body.

Benjamin is half-fae and half-angel, Moira and Robert’s baby, and he looks so like his daddy. Right up to the little wings that just sprouted from his back. Moira is the Protectorate of Portsmyth and the daughter and heir of the Fairy Queen. She had to return to the Faery Court to give evidence against Maurice, her former TouchStone who went rogue (see A Brush of Darkness). Abby stands in for Moira when she’s not available.

Charlie is Robert’s very unhappy girlfriend. Sonja is one of the succubi Abby rescued in A Brush of Darkness. And she’s Brystion’s sister (the incubus who betrayed Abby). She’s helping Abby learn how to use the Dreaming. Katy is a young human who is the TouchStone for Brandon, a werewolf who owns the Hallows, the OtherFolk pub. Katy and Brandon have started a TouchStone dating service and want Abby’s help. Roweena DuMont is the fae liaison between the Faery Court and the Protectorate’s Council. Melanie is still human although her soul is embodied in her violin. Her talent uses the Wild Magic to play Doors open into the CrossRoads.

Tresa ce Drindal claims to be the new Protectorate of Portsmyth and she’ll stop at nothing to TouchStone with Abby, even if she needs to kidnap Benjamin. True Thomas of Ercildune is the Queen’s Steward, her TouchStone, and Abby’s father. Seems he has other secrets as well. The Queen is mad. Well, yeah, she’s angry, too.

Jimmy Squarefoot is a piglike man who takes Abby under his wing, er, hoof. He’s part of the Unseelie Court who would find Talivar acceptable as their King. Kitsune has a lot of power among the banished fae. She helps Abby as a favor to Talivar.

Nobu is a demon who knows Melanie very well; I think he loves her. And I hope that the next in the series will explain this better.

OtherFolk are the elves, the fae, etc. To be able to travel the CrossRoads as they please and to stay in the mortal world without problems, they need a TouchStone. A human with whom they make a Contract. A KeyStone can TouchStone OtherFolk on contact, seeing the OtherFolk’s inner personality.

The Cover and Title

The cover is set in a graveyard with all the attendant darkness in the forefront, however, the background is blurred in the brightness — gives me a sense of hope! The lilac-haired Abby seems to be leaning back against one of the sepulchers, her jean-clad legs crossed at the knee, wearing a black string-tied, cropped halter top and her mother’s necklace. The knitted striped forearm sleeve is on her left arm which is cocked and her hand is resting on her hipbone while her right arm is hanging straight down and bedangled with a width of bangles. Her gaze is rather intimidating and intense.

I have no idea what inspired the title…