A Trace of Moonlight
by Allison Pang
(Pocket, $7.99, R)  ISBN 978-1-43919-836-0
**
I really hate to do it. After reading the first book in Allison Pang's Abby Sinclair series, I would never have imagined giving one of those books a two-heart rating, but there it is. The third book, A Trace of Moonlight, drops us right back into the world of faerie a few short weeks after Abby has lost her memory and proceeds to drag readers through a mishmash of half-assed plotlines.

A big chunk of the first part of A Trace of Moonlight is occupied with Abby's reaction to the discovery that she's being misled by everyone at the faerie court. Jump from there to her assassination, resurrection, and marriage. Then Abby and her faerie prince boyfriend/fiance/husband, Talivar, escape the castle (and, thus, Talivar's half-crazy but cunning mother, the queen, who intends to have Abby ritually sacrificed) and run away to the Unseelie Court, where Talivar proceeds to crown himself king.

Meanwhile, courtesy of forcing his own essence into Abby in an attempt to retrieve her memories, the incubus Ion is wasting away, and only Abby can save him. Unfortunately, she has no idea how to return his demon essence to him, even if she had the time between all of the faerie issues. Naturally, all of the Ion exposure turns her head back toward him, and there are several awkward scenes between her, Ion, and Talivar. This is not a love triangle that will please readers, especially after Talivar offers up his pride as the sacrificial lamb on the altar of Abby by confessing that he would share her with Ion in order to keep her.

The psycho who killed Abby, in the meantime, has done serious damage to the sacred tree, which keeps alive the paths that allow different beings to go from one dimension of the world to another. Somehow it falls to Abby to avoid full-out war and save the tree, neither of which is she prepared or qualified for.

A Trace of Moonlight is a mess, and though it is very busy, it is such a tangled disaster that it fail utterly to entertain. Fans of the series will certainly be disappointed, and if a new reader should start with this particular tale, they won't be picking up any other Allison Pang novels.

--Sarrah Knight


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