While Darker Still l is Leanne Hieber’s debut YA novel she is no stranger to Victorian-era historical fiction, having written a successful adult series. With that in mind, I had high hopes for this novel.
Darker Still is told through the diary of Natalie Stewart, a mute seventeen-year-old girl in late 19th century New York City. Natalie’s uncertain future becomes derailed when she comes face to face with a mesmerizing painting and its cursed subject, Lord Denbury.
I liked that this novel is told in the form of diary entries, it gives the readers a more intimate portrayal of Natalie and makes her seem more real.
The plot of this novel is inspired by Dorian Gray, but Heiber has created a truly original story
I liked the relationship between Natalie and Denbury, it was very storybook-like, and while it borders on the verge of insta-love it has a lot more substance.
Unlike a lot of the other Victorian-era novels I’ve read, I think Heiber had a good grasp of the dialect, that flowed well within the story
I did find the plot of this novel to have a lot of tell not show, especially when it came so explaining the dark “Magic Most Foul” the explanation felt a little rushed to me.
It seemed like I was being convinced about the plot and the logic behind how Natalie was supposed to save the day and why Denbury is traupped in the painting. After a while, I just went with it for the sake of the book. I mean it IS magic so what
do I know right?
This novel will be at home with fans of A Great and Terrible Beauty, there is a lot of magic and darkness and mysticism but it’s mostly just talked about and pieced together. It features a whirlwind romance but with a heroine who holds her own. While I will certainly be checking out Hieber’s other other novels Daker Still left me wanting a little bit more.