Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber
Publication Date: November 8th 2011
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Paperback, 320 pages
Order via Book Depository
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.
One thing is for certain: Darker Still is one of the most original YA novels I read this year even if it draws its inspiration from a number of other classics,and most noticeably that of The Picture of Dorian Gray.
Hieber delivers a well thought and even better executed YA novel that manages to stand out.She is a seriously skilled author,and Darker Still is plainly so well written,with so powerful descriptions and vivid images that I was left speechless.Hieber took inspiration from a number of classic novels and took her story many steps further.
Her characters are well developed and I just loved the sensibility with which physical disabilities are handled and presented in this book.Natalie is a sweet and inteligent girl that just easily takes a spot in your heart.Every character in this book is well thought and multi dimensional.
But despite all this,I just couldn't really get into Darker Still.I couldn't really feel drawn to its story,no matter how unique and intricatelly woven.It's not a bad novel,on the contrary.It's among the best written novels I read this year,but still,the story didn't grab me.And that,is just me.Just my personal opinion.
My main "problem"-if I can name it such- was the narration.Darker Still is told in epistolary form,mainly it's Natalie's journal.And I'm not accustomed in stories narrated in such form.I just had to keep reminding myself that what I read had happened in the close past and I just kept going forth and back,which really took much of the pleasure of reading this book.But like I said,that's just me.Because Darker Still,and I can't stress that enough,is an amazing novel.
All in all,even if for personal reasons I couldn't like Darker Still as much as I expected-and probably should!- I strongly recommend this book to anyone.It's trully unique and refreshingly well written!
*This title was reviewed via NetGalley