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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Review: Laird of Darkness

Laird of DarknessTitle: Laird of Darkness
Author: Nicole North
Page Count: novella length (ebook)
Genre: historical romance, paranormal romance
Publisher: Carina Press
Copy for review obtained via NetGalley in anticipation of an honest review

50 words or less: Kidnap half-brother's bride? Check.  Ransom her in exchange for a magic bow and arrows that will slay dream monsters that cause real wounds? Check.  Accidentally fall in love with captive? Check.  Wait a second!

For a relatively short novella, Laird of Darkness packs quite a punch.  It's on the spicier side, and Alana and Duncan have a whirlwind courtship by anyone's standards (seriously, the whole story takes place over the span of what feels like a few days.)  The story was exciting and the animosity between Duncan and his half-brother made for a believable conflict. 

Duncan is half-Fae, and while that's lent him cool powers like the ability to become invisible at will, it's also caused plenty of problems, like being hounded and wounded by Otherworld monsters any time he sleeps.  In order to finally kill off the dream monsters, he needs a magical bow and arrows that his mom was supposed to give him before he died, but didn't.  The only other bow and arrows belong to his half-brother and sworn enemy, and it's been Duncan's life's work to try to get his hands on the damn things.

When his enemy's betrothed stumbles into his territory, Duncan views it as strictly business- capture the bride, ransom her for the weapon, kill the dream cooties, live alone and happily ever after.  The minute he puts his peepers on Alana, though, that plan gets shot, as these two start fogging up the proverbial windows pretty much as soon as they meet.

This element didn't make the story feel rushed, though, and I found a couple of other elements really made this story stand out- 1) that Alana isn't a virgin, isn't ashamed of the fact that she isn't a virgin, and didn't lose her virginity in a non-consensual situation or other common trope.  Alana is confident and able to handle herself in a crisis, which is always nice to see.

I also enjoyed the possibilities that were opened up by Alana telling her betrothed that he and his half-brother need to mend the fences, in light of all they have in common (both are half-Fae, both are powerful dudes, and they're freaking half brothers for heaven's sake) and neither seemed particularly averse to the idea.  Perhaps we'll get to see what happens in a future book?

Also, MacPhereson (the half brother) apparently has fallen hard for Alana's servant, Sophia. Possibilities abound there as well.

While I definitely would have enjoyed more details and explanations regarding Alana's healing powers, all in all, this is a whole lot of story for not a lot of money (Amazon has this going for $3.19,) and really, what better combination exists than that?

Overall Grade: A-
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