(Magic Most Foul #1)
by Leanna Renee Hieber
Pub: November 8th 2011 by Sourcebooks Fire
review copy: personal paperback
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.
I say it every time I read a book by Leanna Renne Hieber, but wow. Why isn't she more widely read? Hieber is easily one of the best at capturing the right atmosphere for the story and for sinking you right into her characters.
Darker Still is written as the journal of Natalie Stewart, beginning June 1, 1880 and follows about three weeks of her adventures with the painting of Lord Jonathon Denbury.
Natalie is the only one who can travel across the canvas and into Denbury's painting and therefore she's the only one who can find a way to free him from his prison (the painting). She is helped along by Mrs. Evelyn Northe, who is a spiritualist and has some physic abilities. Her and Natalie become close and work as a team to solve the mystery of the painting.
I really liked the journal style for this story. Natalie is unable to speak, so the journal gives her a voice she would not otherwise have. Natalie is very withdrawn from society, but this only makes the situations she finds herself more believable. If she were treated like other girls her age she would have much less freedom.
I also enjoyed Natalie and Denbury's relationship. It was magical and romantic and I was always excited whenever Natalie entered the painting to see what would happen between the two of them next. There was a great energy between the characters and I really hope the second book in the series continues to follow the two of them.
The story has such a wonderful, spooky atmosphere. You'll find yourself slipping right into it, having no difficultly imagining the smells and sounds of New York as Natalie describes it. Once again it's another winner from Leanna Renne Hieber. I highly recommend you try her books out and this would be a great place to start.