Earl of Darkness (Heirs of Kilronan)

Earl of Darkness (Heirs of Kilronan) - Alix Rickloff Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5
Flaming Hearts: 3/4

Mystery and magic, romance and suspense found in the rigorous confines of the 1800’s complete with the legends of the fae and King Arthur himself!

Cat, who had a privileged upbringing until she fell for the wrong man and had a fall from grace, enters the Earl of Kilronan’s residence in Dublin to steal the Kilronan Diary but is caught in the act by the Earl himself. Instead of calling the watch on her though he offers her room & board in exchange for translating the diary for him. Cat has learned to take what she can get and basically go with the flow of life and accepts his offer. It’s better then prison anyway. But that is before a terrifying undead warrior arrives, determined to have it at all costs.
Impoverished Aidan, Earl of Kilronan, needs to marry a non-titled misses with a large dowry thanks to the late Earl’s mysterious dealings and loss of funds. First though Aidan must unravel the mystery of why his father was murdered and his brother suddenly missing. Finding Cat in his library was a stroke of luck and her translating will expedite his plans, but in the process he never imagined falling for the girl from the streets. Which will rule out, his responsibility or his heart?

I do have mixed feelings on this novel. I had a hard time getting into it at first but by page 50 the story started to sweep me away.
I really liked the main characters of Cat & Aidan and enjoyed the side characters of Jack and Lazarus, they were all rich & well developed, as well as Aidan’s family history. Aidan is a dark, sexy, brooding & tortured hero whose family has heaped a bunch of crap on him and he is put through the ringer throughout the novel, but both him and Cat have an emotional baggage laden past and dealt with loss and betrayal. Their growing relationship of first friends, then lovers is a bumpy road filled with twists and turns, emotional anguish, passion and desire.
The mysterious villain Maelodor is decidedly evil but never comes face-to-face with our main characters. Maelodor’s right-hand, an unwilling slave really, is Lazarus. He provides most of the action in the plot and some of the mystery. He is also one of those characters that starts off bad but half way through you start to wonder if that really is the case.

Despite the fact that the Earl or Darkness has a great story line and though the story has a fast pace and the plot complex it started to loose me again in the second half going towards the end. Sometimes there can be just too much detail, character development and new aspects thrown into one novel. The dialogue also includes several new terms that look similar to each other and would take me away from the story to sort them out. Together it was just a bit overwhelming and I couldn’t keep my attention on it much of the time. The purpose and future of most, well everything except the main characters relationship, is left open in the end to continue the series. Which is good for the series but not necessarily good for this novel itself.

Earl of Darkness basically was a good but difficult read.
Though the excerpt into the next novel in the series, Lord of Shadows out July 2011, sounded interesting and I will be reading it when it is released.