Saturday, July 6, 2013

Review: Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber

Title: Darker Still
Author: Leanna Renee Hieber
Genre: YA Paranormal Victorian Gothic Fiction
Publishing Information: 317 pages; December 1st, 2011 by Sourcebooks Fire
Series: Magic Most Foul #1

Where I got it:
E-book from the library

One sentence:
Natalie is determined to to save the cursed Lord Jonathan Denbury, trapped inside a portrait, despite the fact that she is mute.

Themes:
Victorian gothic, portraits, art, forbidden romance, magic, deception

Main characters:
2/5
The only interesting thing about Natalie was the fact that she was mute. Other than that, the constant references to her being called "pretty" and her newly found skills halfway through the novel of make-up, etc. were a little ridiculous. I did like the part where she dressed up as a boy at the opium den.

Secondary characters:
2/5
Denbury was okay. The whole bit with his picture drawing everyone in because he was so beautiful was over-the-top, and toward the end he started frustrating me. He was very one-dimensional and the one aspect that gets the most time is his handsomeness. Mrs. Northe was a unique character but I ultimately found her fascination with Natalie slightly odd given the fact that she had a niece to dote after. 

Writing style: 2/5
The writing was a little slow at times and definitely seemed to drag. I wasn't a fan of the journal format. There was nothing very unique or engaging.

Plot:
4/5
Really cool take on a Dorian Gray type situation. I loved the setting as well and the 19th century urban magic. I wish there had been more at stake on Natalie's end and that we had seen more action because a lot of it seemed to be character-driven, minus the character.

Ending: 3/5
I like that it was open to a sequel but ended with everything tied together and not on a cliffhanger.

Positives:
The magic aspect, the 19th century urban setting, the concept

Negatives: Slow, one-dimensional characters, insta-romance

Cover: So gorgeous! Definitely what drew me in at the beginning.

Verdict:
A cool concept that ultimately fell a little flat

Rating:
5.2/10
Blogger's note: Welcome me back to the land of the living! I wrote up a couple of these abbreviated reviews to help me remember the books I have been reading this summer and since they were nearly complete, I figured why not post them to the blog. 

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