Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “Clap if you believe! Clap if you believe!“
SPOILERS ahead from book two. At the end of Slivers Of Shadows, Abby offered herself up as the Tithe which enabled the Faerie Queen to reopen the Crossroads. Abby loses her memory in the process and A Trace Of Moonlight opens to Ion doing his best to help Abby regain her memory in the Dreaming.
Abby Sinclair has been to hell, come back, then went voluntarily back again. She is currently sequestered in the Seelie Queen’s palace, having been convinced she is in love with and marrying the Queen’s son, Taliver. When Ion comes to her in a dream, begging her to remember and giving her a priceless gift, the fog that has obscured her mind begins to slowly lift. A chance meeting with Maurice, a mortal who has attempted to destroy the Otherworld throughout the series, brings back all her memories and causes her to lose the amulet. With all her memories intact, Abby has some issues with decisions that have been made for her and wants to go home. The Queen doesn’t agree with her plan and her attempts to belay Abby’s plans causes an impromptu handfasting between Taliver and Abby. Taliver and Abby escape the palace and head to the Unseelie Court. Taliver takes his place as the rightful king and steps up his efforts to find Maurice and the amlet. When a band of mercenaries attack the Unseelie Court and damage the Eildon Tree, Ion appears and uses the confusion to pull Abby through to the veil; therefore breaking the spell that trapped her in the Otherworld. Now the race is on as Abby must find away to save Ion, save the tree, and save Faerie before she loses everyone and everything she loves.
This was a hard book to read and review. As the supposed end to this series, Pang had multiple storylines to finalize and resolve, just in case she doesn’t continue the series. This series continues to be an intricate blend of reality and dreams that thrive on deception, betrayal, and jealousy. A strong character driven arc, every action is suspect, every word a double edge sword. Witty and snarky dialogue continue to keep you giggling though the situation is at its most serious here. While I adore the fast, explosive action and twisted nature of the characters and storyline, I found the love triangle put a damper on my enjoyment. During Slivers Of Shadows, I thought Abby had finally found what she needed with Taliver. Ion is wonderful, but as an incubus, Abby never knew if her feelings for him were hers or a reaction to his true nature. Taliver cannot make Abby feel what she doesn’t want to for him, so it felt more natural. He loves her for her. Not for her powers as a Dreamer. Not for her powers as a keystone. Yet, Abby continues to string both Ion and Taliver along, choosing to use on going threats as a way to avoid making a decision. She flips back and forth between them, then when she gets caught, she shrugs, feels bad, then resumes her antics. It was disappointing. I lost respect for her and the storyline. Perhaps if she would have reflected some to us on why she loved them, I would have enjoyed it more. But she doesn’t and nothing in the book convinced me she does. Do I believe Ion and Taliver love her? Yes. But her actions made it feel like she regarded them as a booty call.
The main conflict was, thankfully, executed better. Both courts struggle to keep the Eildon Tree alive and the Crossroads open as Taliver attempts to find Maurice and the amulet as Abby searches for Melanie. Abby finds herself at a loss when the true meaning of Ion’s gift reveals itself. Abby has to trust and accept herself, flaws and all, in order to help her friends. Closely guarded secrets and agendas unravel, forcing Abby to accept help from allies and enemies alike as they all race to stop the end of Faerie.
Ms. Pang’s wonderful voice continues to resonate through here. She owns this series with her theme of a human, with no real defensive powers, fighting for a supernatural world. Unpredictability continues to permeate the arc till the very end. The story reads fast and easy even as you feint left and right in order to keep up.
The secondary characters continue to explode across the pages with their richly developed personalities and vivacious appetites. Each one plays their role in the overall resolution of the arc brilliantly. Phin continues to delight us as he struts, flounces, and generally annoys everyone. Melanie still has to be my favorite character as she has always had Abby’s back and tries so hard to help her navigate this dangerous world. I loved seeing a more intimate view of Nobu. I do hope Pang eventually writes his and Melanie’s story.
“…she is in my arms, the caged bird is nearly free…I want to capture that part…if I try too hard, I’ll merely crush her…oh Gods…I have to let her go…
The ending left me confused and a little lost. We are given a clear cut resolution to the main conflict and answers to almost all our questions. Only one is left open and unfortunately, Pang made that particular storyline an important part of the arc, so the lack of an answer was disappointing. External forces intervene and force Abby into a situation in the end that leaves us wondering.
Regardless though, I recommend this series to all readers who are looking for an imaginative urban fantasy series that hits all the high notes and then some. As I stated earlier, as of right now, this is the last book in the series. If Ms. Pang chooses to write more, I’ll definitely read them, but I really felt the the arc suffered overall because Abby and her adventures had to fight against the continuing love triangle.
Overall Rating: B-