Tuesday, November 1, 2011

review: Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber

pub date: November 8, 2011
publisher: Source Books 
pages: 320
source: NetGalley
format: digital
appeals: historical fiction, romance, painting, magic, supernatural, spiritualism
content: some steamy kissing

The premise for this book is so great! I wish I thought of it. I loved how the portrait was introduced to Natalie and the relationship she has with it. I loved how she crossed into the painting. It was just cool, cool, cool.

I also liked that this novel is Natalie's journal. It made it more personal, I think, and more immediate. There was a lot of dry humor that I appreciated and made me laugh. And Natalie has such a fun personality that I enjoyed reading her thoughts.


I don't enjoy paranormal books that bring in Christian religious ideas. I have yet to read a fallen angel book I like for this very reason. Darker Still brings in religion and the idea of angels and devils and God, and it turns an otherwise fun book into something ridiculous (to me). Sure, have a bad guy, but does he have to use religious aspects in his evilness? I wish he hadn't. I would've enjoyed this book so much more.

That was the main complaint for me, but that is just me and my issue. There were smaller things that I wasn't such a fan of. Like the romance turned cheesy instead of sweet. I didn't like the wrap up at the end--I wish it had just ended with Natalie's diary closing, but there were some other stuff that happened outside of Natalie's diary that I didn't care for and I didn't feel were needed. And the "spell" that the evil dude creates is like a grab bag of stuff--oh, lets use religion and a pinch of hieroglyphics, maybe some Latin, and I can't forget poetry! I got confused.

And yet, it was a fun book. Just not my favorite.

The setting reminded me of the Luxe series by Anna Godbersen and the mood of the novel reminded me of Sorcery and Cecilia by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer.

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

New York City, 1882. 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.

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