Genre: Young Adult (Paranormal Romance)
Darker Still is the first novel in the Magic Most Foul Series by Leanna Renee Hieber. Natalie Stewart is a 17 year old mute girl who lives in 1882 New York City with her father. She is captivated by a painting of Lord Denbury of England who is assumed to be dead. The painting is very lifelike and Natalie thinks she notices subtle changes every time she sees it. Natalie soon learns that she can enter the painting where the soul of Lord Denbury is trapped while a demon has taken over his body and is running around New York City committing horrible crimes and even murder. With each murder, Lord Denbury's soul gets more and more damaged. Natalie must figure out how to save him before it's too late.
The story was told through the diary of Natalie Stewart which I found to be very unique and enjoyable. There were also a few letters and police reports thrown in at the end that added a nice touch. Through the story Natalie grows as a character. She always had strength and a fun sense of humor, but she starts off very shy and unsure of herself, especially in social settings. As the story progresses, she grows into a confident young woman ready to take on the world. Lord Denbury is handsome, charming, and he makes it hard for you to not to fall in love with him. My only issue had to do with the mixing of Christianity and witchcraft. I didn't like how they were lumped together in a sense. For me, this took away from the story and bothered me quite a bit.
Overall, I enjoyed the book. I absolutely love reading books that take place during this time period, and the author set the stage completely. It was a definite page turner that will have you glued to the pages eager to see what happens next. Darker Still had just the right amount of Gothic darkness mixed with eerie intrigue, romance, and drama. I can't wait to get my hands on the next book.
To learn more about Leanna Renee Hieber and her books, visit her Website. You can also find her on Twitter.
Darker Still was provided to me by the publisher through Netgalley for review. The opinions are my own.