Darker Still

Darker Still

by Leanna Renee Heiber
Kindle Edition – Read  June 15, 2012

Cost: $7.19 (As of This Post)

Length: 331 pages

Official Description: (This is book 1 of the Magic Most Foul series)

The Picture of Dorian Gray meets Pride and Prejudice, with a dash of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

New York City, 1880. Seventeen-year-old Natalie Stewart’s latest obsession is a painting of the handsome British Lord Denbury. Something in his striking blue eyes calls to her. As his incredibly life-like gaze seems to follow her, Natalie gets the uneasy feeling that details of the painting keep changing…

Jonathan Denbury’s soul is trapped in the gilded painting by dark magic while his possessed body commits unspeakable crimes in the city slums. He must lure Natalie into the painting, for only together can they reverse the curse and free his damaged soul.

My Take:

Ok, first off a little tangent. Some people have been calling this a steampunk novel, it most certainly is not. Steampunk is a very clear futuristic (usually dystopian) world, though can be an alt history, that has decided that they are to abide by the moral (and fashion) choices of Victorian era. The technology is often advanced and objects are generally steam powered. A parasol here and there, does not a steampunk novel make. That last sentence sounds fantastic in my head, I don’t know how it translates in type… On with the show.

I don’t know if I would have read this book at any other given time if I would have enjoyed it as much as I did. I happened to watch the movie The Gift which kind of fit in with this novel. The movie creaped me out way more than the book, but there were some aspects of in it that creeped me out as well. Darker Still is inspired by several gothic novels, mainly The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. Though inspired by the story, this is a fantastically unique tale, spun in the form of a journal written by our heroine, Natalie. Natalie is mute, ‘struck’ mute by the tragedy of her mothers death at a young death. She is considered less of a person because of her two maladies, her inability to speak and the fact that she’s  woman. Oh this isn’t one of those feminist things, it was just a fact of society of the time. Natalie has become fast friends with Mrs. Northe, and widow that buys a painting of Lord Denbury and from the moment she glances at his visage her life is changed. Much like the story of Dorian Gray the painting isn’t all that it seems. This world is spun (I seem to favor that word today) with a lot of magic and mysticism and the power of names. The power of a name is something that is seen throughout many forms of literature and it gives this story a little more mystery. I found this tale an entertaining read and am glad I stumbled upon it. I look forward to the release of book #2.


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

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