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Thursday, January 3, 2013

Book Review: Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber

"The tale is a thrilling one... but since everything is told after the fact the suspense factor is very low"
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: November 2011
Pages: 317
Series: #1
Format: ARC
Acquisition: BEA 2011

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. (from Goodreads)

Overall Feelings:
A little underwhelmed.

My Thoughts:
Overall the story told in Darker Still proved to be a bit too wordy for my taste. Also, I'm not very fond of stories told as diary entries. And I have no idea why the heroine was mute. And there were a few other bits and pieces that didn't really fit together for me.

So did I like it? I did but not overly so. The story was a good one, if you can ignore the similarities with The Picture of Dorien Grey, which I never much enjoyed. The characters are interesting but since the story is told from the point of view of dairy entries made by Natalie I never felt like I got a really clear picture of anyone else.

I also wasn't really on board with the romance. Too insta love and it didn't really seem to be based on much. Lots of 'we were meant to be' and 'something brought us together' - very unrealistic.

The tale is a thrilling one - lots of danger and mystery. But since everything is told after the fact the suspense factor is very low.

I knew Natalie made it through whatever peril she happens to be in at the moment because she was writing in her diary telling me about it - after it happened. I also felt like she used way more words then necessary. It being 1880 does lend itself to more verbose language then I'm used to in my readings, but still, I felt it was all a bit too much. Especially because I didn't feel like much of anything really happened. I pretty much had the story figured out from the first couple of chapters.

Will I Continue the Series?:
As the first in a series, I'm not sure I can say that I will pick up book 2. I would rather have liked the story to have ended. While I can see how the storyline could go on to explore more of the secrets hinted about in Darker Still, I can't muster up much enthusiasm as to what these secrets are or what untimely happens to the characters.

3 / 5 Stars

Magic Most Foul Series:
#1 Dark Still
#2 The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart


  1. The diary format seems to have been a problem for a lot of reviewers but I adore epistolary novels so I'm hoping this book will still work for me. I've also never read Dorian Gray so there shouldn't be any problems in that realm.

    1. I definitely feel that having read Dorian Gray and having not enjoyed it worked to my disadvantage while reading Darker Still.
      Hope it works out better for you though!
      This is one of those, not for me but I can see others really enjoying type of book.

      Thanks for stopping by :)

  2. Is it sad that until this review I didn't know these books were related? I received the second for review and just so happen to pick up Darker Still as a Kindle deal. I'm undecided about the diary entry format, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. Thanks for your thoughts

    1. Book 2 does sound very different - although I think it picks up right where book 1 ends. Wonder if it would work better on it's own.
      Yeah, diary entry type books are hit or miss for me. I didn't want this one to be a miss but I guess I can't love everything :)

      Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I like diary format and the summary sounds interesting, so I might pick this up in the future. I am sorry that it didn't work out for you though. Thanks for the honest review :)


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