Book Review: A TRACE OF MOONLIGHT – Urban Fantasy That Draws You In

A Trace of Moonlight (Abby Sinclair Book 3)
Written by Allison Pang
Published by Pocket Books
October 2012
Mass Market Paperback, 381 pages

Apparently, I have a knack for choosing books that are at the end of a series. A Trace of Moonlight is the final book in this trilogy, and if I had to do it all over (as well as the resources), I would like to have started from the beginning.

The best way I can explain is this: imagine jumping into Lord of the Rings with The Return of the King. All the chess pieces have been presented and moved into place for them to join together for final battle at Minas Tirith and at the black gate of Mordor. Yet you haven’t seen the first two films.

This book introduces Abby while she is in an altered state, not knowing who she is or why she’s in a world of Elves and other folk. Through her curiosity, stubbornness, and unwanted help from an old foe, her head clears and the journey to the fate of this mystical world begins, or continues since this is book three. All the pieces from the previous books fall in line, characters and plots that lead to the final battle.

Now, I was completely drawn in to the story from the beginning. Pang does not drop you in lightly. I will admit, I did some minor plot and character research on the first two books, A Brush of Darkness and A Sliver of Shadow to try to catch up after getting in a few chapters. There’s a lot to take on from Abby’s history. But I didn’t mind. The world building that Pang has done is amazing. A term I learned from my research is “urban fantasy,” supernatural or magical elements in the real world. From this one book, she beautifully hides those elements among the humans with the Other Folk from the fantasy world coming and going as their business calls. It feels effortless and almost natural.

I managed to almost understand the characters of the story from the memory recalls from Abby. Everyone is so intertwined, it’s almost like going to the family picnic and finding out from your auntie just how everyone present is related to each other. All the characters act like that big family regardless of how distant two characters may be in their connection, from the inner circle to the outskirts. Without the full knowledge of the first two books, it is a bit dizzying, but it also adds to my interest in the first two books.

As for the story, for its finish, it is intriguing. It was very fast paced and at points hard to keep up, but not for Pang’s lack of storytelling. I felt she was thorough and that any issues were from my lack of knowledge.  The interweaving of the characters and the fantasy world she has built drives you faster toward the end, wanting to go deeper into understanding the full complexity of the situation, which can make it hard to stay focus long enough to thoroughly read a page without scanning.

It’s hard to give a fair full review of the entire series since I’ve not read the first two books, but A Trace of Moonlight has piqued my interest enough that I would be willing to look for the first two books so I can completely enjoy this last book the way it was meant to be. So in my opinion, that is a good book.


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