Genre: urban fantasy
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.
I am very glad I bought this book (and its sequel), as I enjoyed it very much. Abby was a dancer, but she lost her mother and the ability to dance in a horrible car accident half a year ago. Ever since, she is plagued by nightmares. She has contracted with Moira, a Faery woman also known as the Protectorate, to function as her TouchStone. OtherFolk need a human TouchStone to safely travel the Crossroads between the realms. Moira is kind of an arbiter for the OtherFolk but she has disappeared almost four months ago and Abby is on her own with too little knowledge. She manages the decrepit bookstore she calls the Pit, and the Midnight Marketplace, where only OtherFolk in their true forms come to shop. The contract is for seven years, and in that time, Abby will not age, but she is also not allowed to leave town. Time would catch up with her fast in that case.
Then trouble in leather walks in, looking for Moira. He doesn’t want to tell Abby who or what he is, and she is not happy with him using magic on her. Brystion’s beloved sister has gone missing, as have other succubi lately, and he needs Moira’s help to investigate what has happened. And without Moira, Abby will have to do. Some bodies have been found, sucked dry of everything, and some others are still missing.
Then a second complication walks in the door, a young human girl looking to become a TouchStone to Brandon, the werewolf barkeeper of The Hallows, an OtherFolk hangout. Only, she is still a minor and it would be illegal to take her as a TouchStone. Abby tries to help the girl but she will have to find the right answer first herself.
That night at the Midnight Marketplace, Abby gets stuck with a faulty delivery: a miniature unicorn. The Marketplace does not deal in livestock, there has to be a mistake, but when she tries to capture the creatures, she inadvertently bonds with it as a TouchStone, and Abby has no choice but to take it with her. And it happens to be a horny unicorn, who humps her leg and gets into her underwear drawer! But he will eat anything she eats, which makes it easy to keep. It is not until a lot farther in the book when Abby finds out that Phineas can talk too.
What is the link between the missing women, friends and strangers to Abby, and the paintings made of them by her painter friend? And what did really happen to Moira’s previous TouchStone?
Lots of secrets and dangers to find out, but with the help of Brystion and her friends, Abby will find out the truth. Even if it puts herself in mortal danger, and her enemies and friends are not so clear as she thought. Brystion teaches Abby that she is a Dreamer, a highly priced TouchStone, and a KeyStone. She can contract with multiple OtherFolk, but this will have great risks for herself. It takes a lot of energy to be a TouchStone, which is one of the reasons Abby is always hungry.
I enjoyed this book very much. Abby is such a great character. She has had some very bad luck lately, after a life where all was well. She loved to dance, and now she is not able to anymore, thanks to her bad knee. No Healer can help her. She has started a new life, and made some new friends. Learning the ropes of being a human in a world filled with OtherFolk is not easy, but she manages. She does not give up or whine.
Then there is Brystion, who soon becomes her lover, but not immediately. And I appreciate that delay. He is torn between his desire to find and safe his sister at all costs and his new unexpected feelings for Abby. He will have to betray one to safe the other. Still, he stays very much a mystery, though I liked how he takes care of Abby.
The other secondary characters all add great things to the story, and I will read the next book very soon to find out what happens next.
Allison Pang has created a great new Urban Fantasy world I would love to visit someday.
© 2012 Reviews by Aurian