Saturday, October 29, 2011

Review: Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber

  • Pub. Date: November 1 2011
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks, Incorporated
  • Format: Paperback , 336pp 
(e-arc from netgalley for review)

Overview from B&N
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.

My Review

When I saw this book and read the description, I knew I wanted to read it. The whole idea of it sounded so intriguing. And it was to a point, but in general just didn't quite do it for me. I found myself easily distracted and just not completely drawn into this book. It had a pretty steady pace, and interesting characters, but I felt that it should have had more.

Natalie Stewart is the heroine in the book. She is a 17 year old girl who doesn't speak. I couldn't really connect with her character, not because she didn't speak, but because I just didn't feel like we get to know her that well. The book is written from her POV as a diary, but I felt like it could have been better. She talks about how she feels and the events that happen, but I didn't get that emotional connection that I get with other characters in other books.

She becomes close with Mrs. Northe who acts as almost a motherly figure. Mrs. Northe helps Natalie in her quest to free Jonathon Denbury from the painting. It is Mrs. Northe who purchases the painting because she knows there is something more to it. She's a wealthy widow, and knows a bit about magic that can help reverse the curse put upon the Lord Denbury.

Jonathon Denbury's character was pretty boring to me. I guess if I had been stuck in a painting with no perception of time and nothing to do I would probably be boring too, but I expected more. He was unnaturally calm and collected about the situation. He did have a few little outbursts, but in general he was just dealing with it.

The relationship between Jonathon and Natalie seemed a little ridiculous. Yes they are meant to meet each other and it's fate and all that, but how they are instantly so familiar with each other put me off a little. Their romance is sweet, and it's not just "hey, lets make out" it does progress slowly, but their emotional connection seems too deep for not knowing each other, magic or not.

There were things that I really did like about this book. I liked how Jonathon Denbury was trapped in the painting while an evil spirit was using his body to gain power, and the magic used for the curse was explained well. My main problems with the book was just not really getting that connection to the characters. That's a very important thing for me when reading a book. There were a few other little things that irked me, but overall the story was good. I really wanted to like it much more than I did. I would give this 3.5 stars out of 5.


  1. How sad! I loved the cover and thought the story sounded intriguing! So many people I know didn't like this one either so your not alone! I'm filing it away in the category "some books are meant to be looked at" lol

  2. Yes, it really had a lot of potential. I was so disappointed I didn't enjoy it more. I wanted to love it. It wasn't horrible by any means, it just wasn't great either. It never takes me that long to read books and I was working on this one for almost 5 days.

  3. OMG that is so dissapointing. This one sounded really good...oh well! I guess it's true, never judge a book by it's cover. I hate it when the romance develops to quickly in terms of emotions. Great review as usual :)

  4. That's just my personal take on the book.I try to take everything into consideration. I just really wanted to feel more connected I guess. This was also an e-arc so the finished copy may be better. I find it hard sometimes if I don't really enjoy a book and it's an arc because you never know how much might be different when it's published.

  5. I'm with you Amy, the cover and the blurb for it make it sound like it's going to be an awesome read...but I've heard so many people say the same things that you did. :-( How disappointing. I'm glad you enjoyed it in some areas but I'm sorry that it wasn't as good as you were hoping. And I think I'm going to stay away from this one.

  6. I think it was a hard one to judge. I think in the right frame of mind I would have really enjoyed it, but it just wasn't right for me at the moment.

  7. I just finished reading this one and after being so excited for it I ended up disappointed as well. (I blame it on the pretty purple dress that lured me in) :)


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