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One of the main premises of the Abby Sinclair books is that of the CrossRoads – silver roads to other worlds and planes of existence where the creatures of myth and fantasy reside. The OtherFolk, as I call them, are split up into three paths, based off the poem of Thomas the Rhymer – Heaven, Hell, and Faerie.
Although they all have their own lives and existences, many of them do rely on mortals for various forms of sustenance – whether it’s dreams (as in the case of an incubus) or blood, or even just an appreciation of mortal gifts of talent. However, the OtherFolk are limited to the times and ways they can travel between worlds. It requires a Door – a magical gateway between the CrossRoads and the mortal world.
The key thing to remember is that the OtherFolk can only travel through these Doors at certain times of the day – Noon, dawn, dusk and midnight. Unless they have a TouchStone, that is. A TouchStone is a mortal who has entered a written Contract with an OtherFolk being. In return for being an anchor in the mortal world (which allows the OtherFolk to traverse the Doors without waiting on the specific hours), the TouchStone is usually provided some sort of gift – a wish or some other sort of OtherFolk magic.
Contracts can last for minutes or years – each one is very specific and very personal.
But there are times of the year when the Door to the CrossRoads are thinner than others – allowing the OtherFolk free access through the Doors for that period. These would be the Equinoxes and Solstices– or cross-quarter days like Samhain, Beltaine, etc.
It’s a fairly common mythological trope to say the “veil between worlds” is thinner during these times – which makes sense if you take something like Halloween – where we have our traditions about spirits or otherworldly creatures coming into the modern world, for example.
So it only makes sense that the OtherFolk in the Abby books would take full advantage of that – and they do. Usually in the form of some pretty big parties. Thus far, I’ve only touched on Samhain a little bit – specifically at the end of A Brush of Darkness, where the OtherFolk convenes at the Hallows bar, complete with costumes. (Only instead of glamours, they have to use mundane materials, so it’s rather funny.)
Much of the CrossRoad mythology has to do with the fact that True Thomas met the Fairy Queen at a Hawthorn tree. In a Sliver of Shadow, Abby gets to visit that same tree, which is the very heart of the CrossRoads. (It’s a symbolic off shoot of the World Tree, so there’s a lot going on with it.) It’s very likely that any sort of celebration that dealt with life or fertility, such as the Spring Equinox, would be held there, particularly by the Fae as they hold it rather sacred.
Just when her new life as a TouchStone – a mortal bound to help OtherFolk cross between Faery and human worlds – seems to be settling down, Abby Sinclair is left in charge when the Protectorate, Moira, leaves for the Faery Court. And when the Protectorate’s away…let’s just say things spiral out of control when a spell on Abby backfires and the Faery Queen declares the Doors between their worlds officially closed.
The results are disastrous for both sides: OtherFolk trapped in the mortal world are beginning to fade, while Faerie is on the brink of war with the daemons of Hell. Along with her brooding eleven prince Talivar and sexy incubus Brystion, Abby ventures to the CrossRoads in an attempt to override the Queen’s magic. But nothing in this beautiful, dangerous realm will compare to the discoveries she’s making about her past, her destiny, and what she will sacrifice for those she loves.
From her sparse opening words, “Run, Abby,” Allison Pang grips the reader and sets the fast pace in book 2 in the Abby Sinclair series, A Sliver of Shadow.
For fans of fairy tale-inspired TV shows such as Grimm and Once Upon a Time, A Sliver of Shadow covers familiar territory. Here’s a glimpse at one description that Abby experiences on her quest:
“The last part was said with an exceptionally feral grin, her teeth clipping hard upon each word. I caught the faint outline of a fox muzzle overlapping her mouth, nearly superimposed upon her face, but it was gone before I could truly see it.” (pg. 200)
(Note, with publishing production schedules, Pang’s novel was written prior to the fall season of shows. Talk about great timing!)
The book combines touches of paranormal with fantasy, and it’s easy to relate to Abby’s emotional journey. Pang’s syntax and word choice is simply enchanting, and readers should enjoy getting reeled into her world.
About the Author:
A marine biologist in a former life, Allison Pang turned to a life of crime to finance her wild spending habits and need to collect Faberge eggs. A cat thief of notable repute, she spends her days sleeping and nights scaling walls and wooing dancing boys….Well, at least the marine biology part is true. But she was taloned by a hawk once. She also loves Hello Kitty, sparkly shoes, and gorgeous violinists.
She spends her days in Northern Virginia working as a cube grunt and her nights waiting on her kids and cats, punctuated by the occasional husbandly serenade. Sometimes she even manages to write. Mostly she just makes it up as she goes.