Title: Darker Still
Author: Leanna Renee Hieber
Genre: Young Adult/Historical Fiction/Paranormal Romance
Series: Magic Most Foul #1
Number of Pages: 320
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
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. (goodreads)
This is one of the most amazing Young Adult books I've read this year. Leanna Renee Hieber takes you to a time and place where anything and everything is possible.
When I began this book I had some doubts, as the heroine was mute and the hero was in a portrait. How would their story be told? Well, cleverly the heroines story is told in journal form. While some may have trouble with this format, I like it. It's gives the reader a different perspective of the action taking place. There would be times when something would happen and then told about later then if the story was being told in first or third person and I liked the suspense that brought to the book. However, I really wish I had a hardcopy of the book instead of reading it on my kindle because the formatting process from netgalley made the chapter breaks a little quirky
Darker Still revolves around a portrait arrives at the Metropolitan Art Musesum, where Natalie's father works. Natalie that I really enjoyed the mystery of trying to free Denbury from the curse that placed him in the portrait, mainly because it was Natalie figuring everything out with a little help from some friends. I do love a heroine that takes action instead of letting others do everything, and Natalie was not one to sit back and let others take charge. It was just nice to see a heroine who knew what she wanted & while a bit afraid to go after it, she did it anyway.
Natalie and Lord Denbury are such an unusual couple because of their circumstances, but it made me love them that much more. The chemistry they had was felt through the pages and I could see how the term Denburylicious was formed. These two make an unlikely pair and that it is what makes them so good together. The only problem I had with the romance was I thought that they jumped from kissing to second base pretty fast. However, I think that might just be the adult in me talking. :)
In the blurb it states that it's Dorian Gray meets Pride and Prejudice meets Dr. Jekyell & Mr. Hyde, and I just didn't see the Pride and Prejudice connection. Admittedly I am awful at reading into in between the lines, but didn't see Denbury as Mr. Darcy at all.The other connection I didn't get was how some people consider this book steampunk. Unless my definition of it is completely wrong (which it might be) I just saw this book as a YA paranormal romance set in the 1880s.
The ending of the book after everything is concluded felt a bit rushed, but I think that is because I wanted more of Denbury and Natalie together. While it wasn't a cliffhanger totally left me wanting more of these two. I can't wait to see what trouble they get into next.
Darker Still was the first historical young adult book I've read, and I enjoyed it so much that I hope to read more in this genre. This book also makes me want to have a YA Meter system..must make one soon!