My dislike of Irial may also be because I haven't read Stopping Time.
But at the moment, I don't follow, don't track his character's journey. I can see it, but I don't believe it. Like I said, my view may change if I read the books in order...but part of me sincerely doubts it. Even when I was reading Radiant Shadows I, unlike a lot of other people, didn't fall for him. I can see why people like him, and I've heard a lot of people say "But he's...Irial!
" And I say "Yes, that's kinda the problem."
In Darkest Mercy, I would've liked a bigger, more theatrical moment at the part when Niall realizes Irial is inside of him, still alive. That moment sort of fell flat for me. I would've like less Irial/Leslie and more Irial/Niall.
(btw, you have to send me a pic of that doll at some time! ^_~)