Thursday, July 28, 2011

Review: Earl of Darkness (Heirs of Kilronan Trilogy #1) by Alix Rickloff

Synopsis (Goodreads):
The magic she tries to hide . . .

Born a lady, but reduced to surviving in the slums of Dublin, Catriona O’Connell has been hired to steal a mysterious book from Aidan Douglas, Earl of Kilronan. But Cat is secretly Other, an age-old mixture of Fey and human—something Aidan recognizes immediately when he surprises the lovely young burglar in his library, about to steal a magical diary.

. . . is the magic he desperately wants.

From the moment Aidan sees her, Cat’s spirited beauty enchants him, but her uncanny abilities are what he truly needs, for Cat can understand the mystical language in the diary he inherited from his murdered father. So Aidan makes an offer: translate the book or be thrown in prison as a thief. And as Cat slowly deciphers each page, she and Aidan are drawn together by passion . . . and into the violence of the Other world that is the Kilronan legacy. Can they defeat those who seek the book, or are their lives in even greater danger than their hearts?
My Thoughts:  This is one of those books where I liked it but at the same time I was left a little bit unsatisfied when I finished.  I felt like the ending was sprung on me without a lot of windup.  In fact, I finished the book, stared at the last page for a minute and then backtracked a few pages to see if I'd missed something.  Now, I've read the synopsis for book 2 and I can definitely see where a lot of the plot threads that were left untended will be picked up but I still have this vague feeling of unsettlement.

This book has a rather dark feel.  In a good way.  One of our main characters invites a possession by an otherworldly creature, there's talk about human sacrifice, loss, a cursed rebirth, and losing oneself in the quest for power.  As Aidan unravels the mysteries of the diary he begins to see that things he's taken to be the truth aren't the truth after all.

I'm going to be honest here and admit that I'm having a hard time with this review.  Like I said, I did like the book.  I liked a lot of the elements that made it unique and I liked that the characters had fire and flare.  Yet... I still feel like we didn't get a lot of resolution to the overlying storyarc.  Yes, we get a HEA but the driving conflict is sort of glossed over and left for book 2.  On one hand, this makes me want to read the next book so that I can see some resolution.  On the other hand, I'm left with that aforementioned feeling of dissatisfaction.

Overall, while it's a good book with interesting mythology and an intriguing overall arc, you might want to have book 2 on hand so you can see some progress toward a final resolution.

More books by Alix Rickloff

Reading challenges: The E-book Challenge, The Paranormal Romance Challenge, The Morbid Romantica Challenge, The Show Me the Free Challenge
Earl of Darkness is a free online read at Pocket After Dark until 07/31/11.

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