Book Review: Darker Still – A Novel of Magic Most Foul

Simply splendid. In fact, I’d go as far as to say: Brilliant!

That’s what I think of Darker Still: A Novel of Magic Most Foul

I first started reading Ms. Hieber’s work when my agent introduced me to the author. We hit it off immediately, and have stayed in touch through the years. I adored her first two books, The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker and The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker. Although life happened and I never got a chance to read the third in that series, I plan to as soon as I’ve had my fill of the Magic Most Foul series. After all, there is only so many hours in a day!

Rather late to the game for this book, I’m pleased overall because now I don’t have to wait for the sequels! I’m reading The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart: A Novel of Magic Most Foul right now, and I’m loving every word of it. In fact, I had started reading that one first. I loved it so much, that I didn’t get must past the first chapter before I simply had to start with the first book. Hieber does an amazing job of making Twisted Tragedy stand alone, but I wanted the full experience, and I’m so glad I went back to read Darker Still first!

From the Amazon description:

I was obssessed.

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 strets of Manhattan. And unless I can free him soon, things will only get Darker Still.

One of the many things I love about Hieber’s work is her ability to be deliciously Gothic without going so dark it turns off readers, like I’m afraid I do at times. Her tale is full of Gothic romance, tragedy, evil, and magic most foul! Told expertly in the style of diary entries, I loved how at times Natalie was interrupted and had to return later to tell her diary what was happening. I could picture her sitting at her desk with the gaslamp trimmed low, scribbling down every detail of her budding romance with the mysterious man in the painting. Darker Still is an homage not only to Victorian literature, but also to Oscar Wilde, Poe, Shakespeare, and even J. K. Rowling. I was quite tickled to see that the author even wrote a note to Mr. Wilde in the afterward.

Miss Natalie Stewart is the mute daughter of a man who works at New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. When a strange and captivating painting comes into town, an eccentric spiritualist with a gift for reading thoughts and all things supernatural enlists her and her father’s help in procuring the painting for the Met. There’s something very odd and magical about the painting of Lord Jonathan Denbury of Greenwich. As soon as Natalie sees his likeness, she becomes obsessed with it. After tumbling into the painting and meeting the man in his canvassed prison, she discovers his soul has been split from his body (which is possessed by the foul demon who did such a dreadful thing), and he needs her help to escape. She also finds she can speak when inside the painting. She, along with the help of the spiritualist Mrs. Northe, embarks on a grand and dangerous plan to free the handsome Lord and help him reclaim his body from the demon.

With the special magic that comes from a mother’s sacrifice and splitting of souls, along with the grace of Victoriana and the mystery of Dorian Gray, Hieber has written a beautiful, dark love story between two young people thrown into a world of magic most foul.

I give this book a full FIVE COGS!


Buy your copy of Darker Still: A novel of Magic Most Foul and get to reading. Next week, I should have the review for The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart up, so you’ll be ready to get that one as well.

Even more exciting, Ms. Hieber is serializing the third book in the series over on her website, starting TODAY! True to the style of the age of which she writes, the serialization of The Double Life of Incorporate Things: A Novel of Magic Most Foul begins with its first installment TODAY: 3/5/13….and, it’s free! Check it out>>>

Buy the Darker Still paperback on Amazon or get it for the Kindle, just $2.99! Get to reading! You’ve got a lot of catching up to do, but it won’t take you long. You’ll rip through these wonderful tales as quickly as I did.

“Hieber applies some real imagination to the story. Her depiction of the dark magic involved and of the demon’s murderous activities adds some good suspense . . . a good romp.” – Kirkus Reviews

“”Darker Still was delightfully strange and charming. The book absorbed me within its first couple of pages. . . . This novel is chock-full of mystery, suspense and a most magical romance! I absolutely loved it and I absolutely recommend it.”–Kristin Feliz, Growing Up YA” – Growing Up YA

“”I highly recommend this book! It was just the right mix of paranormal and romance and I hope you all like it as much as I did!”–Sara Teitelman, Catching Books” – Catching Books

“”Darker Still screamed eerie, spooky suspense from the first page and its claws dug into me and didn’t let go. . . a masterpiece-twisted, dark, and chillingly possessive. . . I highly recommend Darker Still as a must read.”–Debbie Wentlein, I Heart YA Books” – I Heart YA Books

~ by omgrey on March 5, 2013.

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