Darker Still (Magic Most Foul, #1)
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Darker Still (Magic Most Foul #1)

3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  3,288 ratings  ·  603 reviews
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 wa...more
Paperback, 317 pages
Published November 8th 2011 by Sourcebooks Fire (first published November 1st 2011)
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Summer {is puntastic}
DNF at 50%.

This is one of those books that makes me so mad that I just want to say, "I don't wanna talk about it."

But, I must. People need to be warned.

All I really feel like doing right now is raging about how much this book aroused intense feelings of extreme dislike and displeasure inside me, so much so that it was a challenge to finish the book. I really, really want to start ranting about how much this author messed up her seemingly brilliant story by sprinkling trite YA characteristics and...more
Darker Still is a story that draws its inspiration from a number of great Gothic classics. Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” and Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray can be found in Darker Still, and yet this story still feels unique in a YA market that is flooded with witches, fairies, vampires, werewolves, and other supernatural creatures. I love Victorian literature, and this book manages to tackle some fairly significant modern themes in a historic...more
The writing was decent, I loved the era and the setting, I thought the author did it justice but the plot is still poorly done. When you really think about it, we all know books have to have high stakes. There was no real stake for our heroine at all. She got drawn in by the painting, the only reason she helps is because she feels a certain pull to the ridiculously attractive lord and thus must help him (Honestly, what if he was butt ugly? Different situation entirely).

If our MC chose not to ac...more
Darker Still
A copy of this book was kindly provided by Sourcebooks Fire Publishing via Netgalley.

For Natalie Stewart destiny is scrawled across the morning paper's headlines. A story and a photo of a painting capture her attention. It is the handsome portrait of a Lord Denbury, who is reported to have committed suicide in England. Rumors swirl thick around the picture, some believe that it is haunted and that the essence of the young man is trapped inside. Our mute heroine, Natalie is immediatel...more
My review: 1.5 of 5 stars


Final Page Thoughts
Dumb, dumb, dumb! *throws book*

First Thoughts
So here's the story on how I came to obtain this book: I was browsing through the library stacks and I was intrigued by the title and was even more intrigued when I picked it up and saw the cover girl was wearing this gorgeous purple dress. (If you know anything about me, it's that I'm a huge sucker for anything purple). Yep. That's my story. Completely necessary addition to my review, I know.

I s...more

Oh. My. God. I die!

My heart is (oh God) alight with joy!

Yeah, I know I just said that, but that's exactly how this book made me feel.

Darker Still was delightfully strange and charming. The book absorbed me within its first couple of pages. I was instantly captivated by Natalie Stewart, the book's unique protagonist, who was quick-witted, brave, and absolutely her own person. Let's not forget to mention her role as the novel's hero, sent by destiny, to rescue the "damned-man in distre...more
With the back blurb giving a sort of mishmash of well known books forced into one YA book, I was happily surprised (and relived) how well Hieber weaved the stories of Dorian Gray and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde into Darker Still taking well known stories and giving it her own twist on these tales and making it new.

New York City 1882:
Natalie Stewart a smart and clever seventeen year old life has been trouble since after a traumatic accident that killed her mother and left her without the ability t

Premise had a lot of potential in a "take Oscar Wilde, romance novels, and Victoriana--throw it in a blender" type way. But, as with the other Hieber book I've read, I can't get past her really stilted, clunky, nonsensical prose and her highly artificial, superficial courtship plots.

I also had a REAL issue with the way disability is handled in this novel. While the narrative of finding one's voice, despite societal expectations, is a sound one, I thought that Hieber's decision to make her chara...more
I should first off say that this review will contain no spoilers as this book is not being released until November 2011 - although it is a crime to make someone wait that long to read this wonderful piece of pure art. I should also say that I am very much in love with the writing of Miss Hieber, and as such I may appear a little biased. But I assure you, this review is meant wholeheartedly and with the mind that I have never before met and/or heard of Leanna Renee Hieber. To give a false review...more
Seventeen-year-old Natalie Stewart has been unable to speak since her mother died when she was a little girl, and so she has lived a rather isolated life. After graduating from a school for the deaf and mute and returning home to New York City, she begins writing a diary to pass the time. Her father works for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which in 1880, when the story is set, had only been opened for a few years. Natalie becomes interested in a painting of Lord Denbury, a young English noblema...more
Ohhh dear I'm already hooked just by the synopsis alone! My heart already did a bunch of little flip-flops :) This just sounds so....so....good :)
I've had Leanna Renee Hieber's Strangely Beautiful series on my wish list for a long time now so I was very excited to get my hands on an advanced copy of the first book in her new Magic Most Foul series. Darker Still is a fantastic Gothic paranormal story set in Victorian New York and I loved it.

The story is told in the form of diary entries written by our heroine, 17 year old Natalie. Natalie is a beautiful, intelligent young woman but since the trauma of witnessing her mother's death as a ch...more
Oct 09, 2011 Jess marked it as to-read
Shelves: lovely-hair
Because I love reading books about cute guys with their souls trapped in paintings. Because I think guys like girls with pointy shoulder blades. Because she's wearing purple. Because it's Tuesday. And that's why I want to read this book.
Jenny Q
This was really different, but in a good way, and I was hooked from the first page. An endearing heroine, a delicious mystery, the ambiance of the seedier side of New York during the Gilded Age, Spiritualism, romance, danger, magic, and a touch of horror all combine into a cohesive and compelling story. Natalie Stewart is probably one of the best YA heroines I've come across in the past two years. She's not a privileged debutante, but the daughter of a prominent art scholar, living on the fringe...more
3.5 stars!

There’s something innately magical about historical fantasy, and Darker Still brings it in spades. Its atmosphere is simply regal, and although Natalie’s New York is certainly not the prettiest place in reality, Leanna Renee Heiber makes it seem positively lush. The actual magic involved in Darker Still fits the setting quite like a glove. At first thought, having a painting move—or watch you—might seem nightmarish, but Hieber manages to make it romantic. The incorporation of “magic mo...more
Crystal Starr Light
A little bit of everything, but just not for me.

Natalie Stewart is a 17 year-old living in New York with her father, a worker at the Museum of Art. They acquire a painting of a young man, Lord Denbury, who died under mysterious circumstances. Natalie, and her mentor, Mrs. Northe, become interested in this painting and investigations prove that this is no ordinary painting.

My feelings about this book are slightly confused. The description--Pride & Prejudice meets Picture of Dorian Grey meets...more
Krista, Ambassador of Shimmy
What a delightful and engaging read! I saw an advertisement for this book in the window at my local bookseller. I was intrigued by the cover and even more drawn in by the description. Since I was at the time finishing up The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, I was thrilled with the idea of reading another mystical-picture plotline.

I must admit I was a bit apprehensive when I saw it was intended for 12 and older. Being in my early 30s I figured it would either be too pre-teen angst ridden or...more
How could I resist? Pride and Prejudice and Dorian Grey are two of my favourite classic tales (The Literary Cannon has its uses! hehehee) However when I was given this ARC I was not the first member of my family to read it! Minxy Mummy said that looks good and snaffled it out from under my nose and took it home! I had to go and steal it back from her. I did allow her to read it though, because I am nice like that, and she thought it was ' really good' which is Mum language for I loved it. Which...more
I cannot help but notice how influential Victorian literature was on Leanna Renee Heiber when she was working on the plot for Darker Still. This is not a bad thing! I personally love Victorian and Gothic literature (Wuthering Heights, Frankenstein, etc)so I noticed a number of similarities in Hieber's narrative and that of Bronte, Shelley, and Austen. Not only does the story have similarities to these works, but Natalie, the main character, has similarities to some of the classic heroines as wel...more
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
Originally posted here.

I suppose I should have known after a string of good reads that I would soon be in for a disappointment. My hopes were high for Darker Still, which I've heard compared to Jane Austen with magic. That sounded AWESOME. Unfortunately, what I found was a fairly typical YA paranormal romance complete with instalove and a ditsy heroine.

Before I get into the things I didn't like, I'll talk about the aspect that I liked: the concept. The basic story holds a lot of appeal for me. T...more
Kal-El (the BookGeekBeauty)
Is it just me? Or does anyone else want to give this model a piece of cake?!

Historical fiction with a side of magic and paintings of handsome men - it sounds awesome. My type of book for sure. I loved the whole setting the author picked! 1800's New York, the clothes, the people, the world they lived in - it was very vivid. However, my feelings about this book are slightly confused.
The description--Pride & Prejudice meets Picture of Dorian Grey meets Dr. Jekyll & Mr, Hyde--totally sol...more
Sandee (The Whimsical Reader)

“I was obsessed.

It was as if he called to me, demanding I reach out and touch the brush strokes of color swirled into the canvas. He 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. He was trapped within his golden painting.

I’ve crossed over into his world within the painting and I’ve seen what
Darker Still is a beautifully written book with lyrical prose wrapped in a Victorian setting where language is the paramount vehicle for communication and ironically where the heroine is mute. Author Leanna Renne Hieber has created a wondrous world where mystery, mayhem and magic abound. Where a young woman on the cusp of becoming an adult is open to all the untold possibilities the world has to offer; and where faith, courage and love are the touchstones needed to face the next step in her jour...more
I'm still trying to decide how I feel about Darker Still, there were things that I liked and things that I didn't. One of the things that I did like was the fact that the story line was very promising, it was fascinating that Lord Denbury was trapped inside the painting and the author did a good job in explaining how the magic of it worked, which I thought would have been very confusing.

There were a few other things in the story that I enjoyed, mainly that it was set in the 1880s. Because I usu...more
The author never fails to deliver compelling, addicting Gothic storylines with almost lyrical prose. In spite of the nod to Dorian Grey, the book stands on its own merits. A beautiful, poignant romance with giddy G-rated kissy scenes, an underdog heroine one can't but admire, and a completely swoon-y hero.

The only problem for me was that both the mystery and the climax of the plot unravelled very speedily (and tidily) towards the end.

Full review when I finish another completely addicting book I...more
I would recommend this book to Wilde fans, fans of a strong female heroine who fights for her man and pretty much anyone who loves a good old paranormal twist in a good old-fashioned New York City. Oh and a handsome Victorian gentleman of course. We can't get enough of those, can we?

Full review: http://talesoftheinnerbookfanatic.blo...
Zemira Warner
I love the sound of this one. Hope it will rock.
I became really intrigued with this book upon reading the synopsis. I had heard a lot about the book over the past year, but I had never really looked to see exactly what it was about. I just knew some people were saying it was great, while others were saying it was just okay. I feel like I fall somewhere between those two ideas. I thought this book was really good when it came to the concept, writing and overall style. But there were other things that just didn't click well for me.

Overall the s...more
Every once in a while, someone comes up with some ingenious invention that changes the course of history. Beware, reader, as you're about to witness the newest one to grace this lovely planet of ours in recent times:


Woah, calm down, calm down, there's no need to pee your pants. Yes, you get to tell your friends you were there when it happened. Yes, this is my real hair color and I'm oh-so flattered you'd love to have yours just like mine. And yes...more
Darker Still is inspired from old Classic Dorian Gray and myth of Jack the ripper. So i would say the theme is old but representation is new. I'm bored with all these vampire and werewolf fiction flooding the market of YA novels, that's why i picked up this book and really it has a different concept. The book is written in not only a first person narrative but in a dairy style. The writing is very good, represented 1880's speaking style, and i felt the girl really existed and wrote the diary.
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stand alone? 6 14 Dec 31, 2013 06:15PM  
~!The Young Adult...: {May} Darker Still (by Leanna Renee Hieber) 1 11 May 01, 2012 04:50AM  
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Author, actress and playwright, Leanna received a BFA in Theatre, a focus in the Victorian Era and a scholarship to study in London. She adapted 19th Century literature for the stage and her one-act plays have been produced around the country. She is a 4 time Prism Award winner for excellence in Futuristic, Fantasy, or Paranormal Romance. Her debut novel, The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy...more
More about Leanna Renee Hieber...
The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker (Strangely Beautiful, #1) The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker (Strangely Beautiful, #2) The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart (Magic Most Foul, #2) The Perilous Prophecy of Guard and Goddess (Strangely Beautiful, #3) A Midwinter Fantasy (Strangely Beautiful, #2.5) (Sylph, #2.5) (The Magic Knot, #3)

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“Coffee first. Schemes later.” 78 likes
“I was in love. With a two-dimensional object. A mute in love with a painting. Lovely. Just lovely.” 23 likes
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