Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Darker Still (Magic Most Foul, #1)” as Want to Read:
Darker Still (Magic Most Foul, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Darker Still

(Magic Most Foul #1)

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  4,332 ratings  ·  684 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
Paperback, 320 pages
Published November 8th 2011 by Sourcebooks Fire (first published November 1st 2011)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.63  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,332 ratings  ·  684 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Darker Still (Magic Most Foul, #1)
Jul 05, 2013 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: tween girls
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
Nov 06, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
Aug 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
This started out kind of insta-lovish and cheesy, but the puzzle of the curse and the haunted painting were really interesting and I ended up liking it mainly because of that and the Gothic atmosphere. I was happy enough with the ending that I'm probably not going to pick up the rest of the series, though. I don't really need to see where else this goes.

I do enjoy this author's writing. Everything I've read by her has had great atmosphere. But I liked her adult series better, and I think I'll wa
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
Jul 11, 2011 rated it liked it
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
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
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
Aug 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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
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

Oct 07, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
Oct 31, 2011 rated it really liked it

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
Oct 04, 2011 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.
Jul 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
Ohhh dear I'm already hooked just by the synopsis alone! My heart already did a bunch of little flip-flops :) This just sounds :)
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 Dr.
Aug 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: paranormal, favorites, ya
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
Jun 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: re-reads
Great to read about Natalie and Jonathan again! And the magic to get him back, and how she starts talking in both places, the picture, and outside of it! Can't wait to reread more!

*First read March 31st 2012*
Really great book, really enjoyed it, can't wait for 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
Jenny Q
Oct 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
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
Aug 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing

“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
Jan 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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...
Paige (Illegal in 3 Countries)
See more of my reviews on The YA Kitten!
Diversity Rating: 0 – What Diversity?
0 (uses the g-slur; though time-appropriate, it’s still a slur)
Disability: 0 (Natalie starts out as mute but She Gets Better because She Feels Like It)
Intersectionality: 0

Once upon a time, I downloaded Darker Still and proceeded to not read it for about four years. Oops? My best friend and I talked of the book often because she loved it and the cover model always looked like Taylor Swift to us
I stumbled upon this book while I was looking through the ebooks that I could get from an ebook library that my local library offered. Had I not had that resource, I would have never found this book. And that's really sad. Because this book had such a unique premise, yet it only has a few thousand ratings on GoodReads.

Natalie Stewart has been a mute since her mother's death. This then separates her from everyone else, making her feel lonely. Yet when she sees the portrait of a supposedly dead Lo
Nov 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
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
Nov 09, 2011 rated it liked it
Pretty good.
It has a creepy The Picture of Dorian Gray kind of feel to romance.
Not really sure if I liked it enough to keep up with the rest of series, but it held my interest while I was reading.
Oda Renate
Jun 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own
a funny,original,mute, heroine.
a terrifying villan
written in form of a diary.
can it get better?
not really :D
Just reread it. Noticed more things this time around.
Still abselutely love it!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Mar 14, 2015 11:34AM  
stand alone? 6 14 Dec 31, 2013 06:15PM  
~!The Young Adult...: {May} Darker Still (by Leanna Renee Hieber) 1 12 May 01, 2012 04:50AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Shattered Souls (Souls, #1)
  • The Inventor's Secret (The Inventor's Secret #1)
  • Dearly, Departed (Gone With the Respiration, #1)
  • Haunting Violet (Haunting Violet, #1)
  • Eternal (The Queen's Alpha #1)
  • Masque of the Red Death (Masque of the Red Death, #1)
  • Dead Iron (Age of Steam, #1)
  • Fire & Frost (Iron Seas, #3.4; Code of Shadows, #0.5; Midnight Liaisons #2.3)
  • Steamed
  • The Clockwork Crown (Clockwork Dagger, #2)
  • Harmony House
  • Trinkets, Treasures, and Other Bloody Magic (The Dowser #2)
  • Blades of Magic (Crown Service, #1)
  • After Obsession
  • Here There Are Monsters
  • Spooky Little Things
  • The Tenth Girl
  • Doctor Who: 12 Doctors, 12 Stories
See similar books…
Author, actress, artist 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 Mi ...more

Other books in the series

Magic Most Foul (3 books)
  • The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart (Magic Most Foul, #2)
  • The Double Life of Incorporate Things (Magic Most Foul, #3)

News & Interviews

Trying to figure out what to read next? Why not add some 2019 Goodreads Choice Award titles to your Want to Read list? After all, these popular...
67 likes · 16 comments
“Coffee first. Schemes later.” 163 likes
“I was in love. With a two-dimensional object. A mute in love with a painting. Lovely. Just lovely.” 29 likes
More quotes…