Review: Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber

Darker Still (Magic Most Foul #1)
by Leanna Renee Hieber;
Editions: ebook, paperback;
Published November 8th 2011 by Sourcebooks Fire;
Source: own copy
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.~ Goodreads Blurb

Seriously awesome read!! I may be sort of biased since one of my favorite books ever is The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, and the concept of this book is somewhat reminiscent of the painting concept, only rather in reverse. I’ve lost you already, haven’t I? lol. I’m a huge fan of the painting as prison concept and I tend to become a fan of books that use any version thereof, regardless of the settings. The first book in the Abby Sinclair series, A Brush of Darkness by Allison Pang, also featured the painting as prison theme and it was a 5 butterflies read for me as well. Hmm, maybe I should start making a list of these babies. Meh, back to this book though.

The story of this book is just fabulous. I seem to like these historical settings, there’s something about the world of the 1880’s I guess that strikes a chord with me. The plot was rather fast paced but not overwhelming, again one of those things I really enjoy in books. I loved the whole diary format of the first person narrative, though it could have put a damper on the adrenaline rush it truly didn’t. I’m not an adrenaline junkie though, so aside some mystery and good old charm I don’t need anything else to get hooked on a story. Action is really good, but provoking mystery is even better. Paintings related mystery is a blast for me 😀

The characters were intriguing, quite charming themselves though my favorite was Natalie. I loved her voice, her motivation and reactions made perfect sense to me and she was very charismatic. She was a subtle rebel for her day and age, I loved her spirit. Mrs. Northe was my second best, I totally loved her. She was fun and adventurous, she certainly knew how to get her way – awesome sidekick. I will admit to finding Lord Denbury sort of…uhm…dull. And the antagonist was illusory most of the story, though he certainly managed to impress upon me a sense of dread even in his absence, or more so due to it.

The writing was my favorite part of the book, absolutely. I totally love that carefully put together way of talking, the propriety of the characters tone, completely loved it. Plus the world of the novel is just fabulous, dresses and lady-like ladies, gentlemen and all the play of appearance and all…*sigh* I just love these settings, the novel builds a great world and I never tire of reading about the likes.
The tone and setting had me thinking this might not end in a happily ever after, and I was totally cool with that. I find I prefer a reasonably happy until further notice sort of ending anyway, but this novel ended with a bit of a surprise pretty much, the end is the beginning of another adventure. I’m really, really looking forward to reading book #2 in the series, I totally loved this!

All in all I say you simply have to read this book, it’s just made of awesome as far as I’m concerned! Plus, look at that cover, I mean…I was in love as soon as I spotted it. And the book totally delivered xD

If you’ve read the book as part of our RAWBL, or outside of it, link your review in the comments section 😀

Have you read it? Liked it a lot or not so much? How creepy and totally awesome is this idea of paintings trapping things? *shivers*

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