Darker Still: A Novel of Magic Most Foul by Leanna Renee Hieber
Natalie Stewart’s a forward thinking girl navigating a world at the cusp of the modern age. Unfortunately this femme fatal’s frame of mind doesn’t quite agree with the expectations of a demure Victorian lady. Her inability to speak leads others to think less of her but she is far more clever then most of her contemporaries. Yet her assets and handicaps will only aid her when she takes on the mysteries of a beautiful painting entirely too life-like and enchanting. The journey will only be the start of a very dangerous destiny.
Darker Still was an entertaining read. It had a nice romance between Natalie and Jonathan. I liked the historical element mixed with the supernatural but thought it was watered down. Hieber could have pushed the magic more. The magics mix of different cultures like Egyptian, was a nice touch keeping with the trends of the era, but like a lot of the book’s magic and Natalie’s abilities, I didn’t think the author delved deep enough or put as much detail into the basis, mythology, or why of it. Because of this the story felt like a period piece plus magic patched together. I found Hieber’s journal style concept interesting but not entirely successful. It was a bit confusing at the beginning and didn’t quite work for telling certain parts of the story. Overall, while the journal idea set Darker Still apart from other similar books, I thought trying to constrain everything in this style also hindered or limited the author’s writing.
If your looking for a nice little read and love the Victorian period and the paranormal but aren’t too picky about the details, give this one a try. I hope the author takes some risks the next go around but it’s still a good start to what could be a stand out series.
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