Book Review: Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber


I was obsessed. It was as if he called to me, demanding I reach out and touch the brushstrokes of color swirled onto the canvas. It was the most exquisite portrait I'd ever seen--everything about Lord Denbury was unbelievable...utterly breathtaking and eerily lifelike. There was a reason for that. Because despite what everyone said, Denbury never had committed suicide. He was alive. Trapped within his golden frame.

I've crossed over into his world within the painting, and I've seen what dreams haunt him. They haunt me too. He and I are inextricably linked--bound together to watch the darkness seeping through the gas-lit cobblestone streets of Manhattan. Unless I can free him soon, things will only get Darker Still.

Title: Darker Still
Series: Magic Most Foul
Author: Leanna Renee Hieber
Genre: YA Fiction, Romance, Historical, Fantasy
Published: November 8, 2011
My Rate:  ♥♡♡

“I was in love. With a two-dimensional object. A mute in love with a painting. Lovely. Just lovely.” 

Okay I never did read the synopsis of this one, one of my classic examples of I-was-drawn-to-the-cover reads. The writing was superb for a diary with detailed dialogues. I'm not a fan of diaries, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was the only one I'd managed to finish. Nor have I read plenty of gothics before. I've seen the movie of The Portrait of Dorian Gray but that's it. Plus I'm not really a Wilde fan (ha, pun intended). But this was interesting for me, as I find that I adore things that involve doctors. Muahahaha, no, preferably not the loony and just a dew days shy deranged like Dr. Jekyll, but the loving and good-looking ones like this Lord Denbury that I earlier expected too much from.

Okay so this is basically a mute's (because of trauma and not because of a congenital defect) "retelling" of the events that transpired in what is probably the most definitive (only seconded by the traumatic experience she underwent as a child that gave her her dysfunctional speech) moment in her life, as documented in her diary. Her feelings for a man who was, unfortunately, stuck behind a portrait (although this sounds like a metaphor, it's not, seriously).

I am a fan of the author's writing style and I, like most people, sometimes forget that this is supposed to be a diary. I read in one comment in that she felt the reader was just 'told' what the characters felt. Well, in my opinion, that would be the point. A diary isn't supposed to make people feel what you feel, a diary's just the place where you dump everything in, not caring whether someone's going to read it or not. Or else it would nullify the diary's private status. So I think that's what the author wanted to come across. Although this is meant to be a book for others to read, it's a diary and if it isn't written that way, it would defeat the purpose of writing in diary style.

As for something other than the writing, I feel that the romance between lacks something. The characters, Mr. Denbury, in particular was undeveloped. Well we get that Denbury's mesmerizing, kind and the typical gentleman with an enigma of a past but... (trails off) I admit I know borderline nothing about the Victorian era, but are the people (men, in particular) in those days so.. dull? As for Natalie, I'm annoyed at her which I take as a good sign because she isn't Mary Sue to me (yay!)

As for the sequel, I probably won't be reading it. The end of this one seems to be very conclusive to me and reading would further would just kill the three hearts that I've decided to give this after a long period of deliberation. This book also deal with a lot of jumbled up spirituality. There are times when it's hard to follow. I'm Christian and the amount of shimmer tapping into different beliefs in this one is too ridiculous for me.

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