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Darker Still

Darker Still
Author: Leanna Renee Hieber
Series: Magic Most Foul (#1)
Publisher: Sourcebooks
How Received: publisher copy

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.
Buy OR Borrow | Brush Off
Did you read the description? Did you see the joke? Get it? GET IT!?

Now, I had a weird relationship with Darker Still going into it. I love Leanna (have you read her fabulous guest post on the Victorian age and feminism!?) and I really liked the concept. But I knew there was gonna be insta-love. I dreaded the insta-love. I mentally prepared for it.

And you know what?

It worked. Leanna Renee Hieber wrote an insta-love story that I actually liked.

Slow clap out your enthusiasm, people.

The biggest reason for this is that it made sense. Most insta-loves are there for the sake of lazy writing or wanting to focus on other things or because the author doesn't know how to arrange it; this one actually made sense. Natalie is a mute girl who becomes fascinated by a piece of artwork. She's the only one who can rescue Lord Denbury from his painting. She's pretty and is going to save him; she's the first person he can talk to and she's going to save a handsome lord. It made sense for her to become fascinated and intrigued right away, and for him to do so as well.

And not only was it well-handled, but it was made fun of within the canon! Natalie pokes fun at herself for caring so fast and validates it under the circumstances while also referencing classic works of literature that are not Romeo and Juliet.

Praise you, Leanna Renee Hieber. Praise you.

As for the rest of the book -- the overall cast of characters was plenty strong. It's hilarious, because Denbury is actually the weakest character of all of them. Maybe it was because he didn't have enough screen time, but his personality just didn't stand out compared to the rest of the fabulous cast of characters.

And Natalie's voice (aka the writing style) was fabulous! Vivid and creative; I loved it. The plot was also intriguing - and yes, I will be looking to pick up the sequel.

Overall Rating & Final Comments: A fabulous piece of Victorian fantasy with an insta-love that makes sense. Make sense!!!

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Darker Still + Sourcebooks