Darker Still

Darker Still : A Novel of Magic Most Foul

3.64 (4,411 ratings by Goodreads)
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3.64 (4,411 ratings by Goodreads)

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A lush gothic tale that begs for reading...I couldn't put it down." -New York Times bestselling author Sarah Maclean
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.
Magic Most Foul Series:
Darker Still (Book 1)
The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart (Book 2)
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Product details

  • 12-17
  • Paperback | 336 pages
  • 127 x 197 x 22.86mm | 317.51g
  • Sourcebooks Fire
  • Naperville, United States
  • English
  • Original
  • 1402260520
  • 9781402260520
  • 244,117

Review quote

"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 ""This is one of the most amazing Young Adult books I've read this year. Leanna Renee Hieber takes you to a time and place where anything and everything is possible."--Colette chmiel, A Buckeye Girl Reads" - A Buckeye Girl Reads ""Darker Still is such a unique novel, in a very good way! "--Novia Chang, Truly Bookish" - Truly Bookish ""Darker Still is such a unique novel, in a very good way!"--Novia Chang, Truly Bookish" - Good Reads ""Darker Still is such a unique novel, in a very good way!"--Novia Chang, Truly Bookish" - Barnes & Noble Review ""Gothic, dark and oh so good!"--Novia Chang, @TrulyBookish" - Twitter Mention ""The whole book was an amazing read. The setting, the story, the characters, the plot, the pacing of the story was perfect for me.
Five stars!!!"--Sandee Quimbao, Random Ramblings" - Random Ramblings ""It hit me within the first three pages - Darker Still is a beautiful novel. It gives off an air of sophistication, it's written so well with such great language."--Sandra Hancock, Panda Reads" - Panda Reads ""I . . . ended up loving and thoroughly enjoying this book!"--Breena Staats, Esther Ever After" - Esther Ever After ""I . . . ended up loving and thoroughly enjoying this book!"--Breena Staats, Esther Ever After" - Good Reads ""Darker Still is a captivating glance into a bygone era."--Heidi" - Good Reads ""Most Gothic novels have a certain "feel" for me dark, haunted, lush, and mysterious and Darker Still embraced that tone from page one."--Amanda Ryan, The Raunch Dilettante" - The Raunch Dilettante ""Darker Still was an entertaining read."--Anne Dwyer, Unwasted Words" - Unwasted Words ""Darker Still was an entertaining read."--Anne Dwyer, Unwasted Words" - Good Reads ""A wonderful homage to the literary canon, Darker Still has all the drama and detail, including the required handsome English gentleman, of the classics mixed with magic and mystery all with the stunning backdrop of nineteenth century New York."--Amanda Johnson, Ramblings of a Drifting Mind" - Ramblings of a Drifting Mind ""Hieber has captured all the best things in her newest novel; it's historical, has a gorgeous Englishman, makes use of the fantastic, sports a fabulous cover, and it features a teenage girl as a non-traditional knight in shining armor. What more could you want?"--Amanda Johnson" - Ramblings of a Drifting Mind ""As a modern story written with a 19th century flair, Darker Still is the perfect fodder for taking a new YA novel and bringing it into the classroom ... especially because author Leanna Renee Hieber drew upon the classic novel The Portrait of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde!"--Sara Gundell, Novel Novice" - Novel Novice ""The premise for this book is so great! I wish I thought of it."--Rebekah, Goodman, Resugo's Bookish Paradise" - Resugo's Bookish Paradise
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About Leanna Renee Hieber

Raised in rural Ohio and obsessed with the Victorian Era, Leanna's life goal is to be a "gateway drug to 19th century literature." An actress, playwright and award winning author, she lives in New York City and is a devotee of ghost stories and Goth clubs. Visit www.leannareneeheiber.com
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Rating details

4,411 ratings
3.64 out of 5 stars
5 27% (1,177)
4 31% (1,348)
3 27% (1,182)
2 12% (511)
1 4% (193)

Our customer reviews

After sitting on my enormous tbr pile since October 2011 I finally had the chance to read Darker Still in January and I am still kicking myself over taking so long to finally read it but at least now I can say I did. Darker Still is the story about a mute girl named Natalie who by various circumstances comes to meet a cast of characters that alter the course of her life forever and it all starts with a painting of the young and not so deceased Lord Denbury. Leanna Renee Hieber offered up a wonderful piece of young adult historical fiction with a lot of mystery, a dash of romance and a proper serving of supernatural to make the story one that I found completely addictive. Once I started the book I couldn't stop reading it and stayed up to the wee hours of the early morning to finish it because I could not get enough of the story between Denbury and Natalie and the mysterious forces behind Denbury's imprisonment in his portrait. I though that the plot was very good. At just over 300 pages long thing flowed quickly and seamlessly without seeming as though the story was rushing. It was perfectly paced and I didn't find myself lulled by a ton of plot filler. I loved the sense of adventure Darker Still gave and it definitely kept me at the edge of my seat. Like the title suggests it is a bit darker but not so much so as to make the book seem dreary. The characters were wonderful I loved how each of them developed throughout the novel especially Natalie. She's one of my favourite heroines now because she was able to overcome so many obstacles like her selective mutism. She was both serious and funny, grown up and at the same time very much a little girl. Denbury was good too. He had his rakish moments in the book but I liked him. As much as he was attracted to Natalie he is trying to do right by her and I find the chivalry and gentlemanly manor he possesses quite refreshing and I really like Natalie and him as a couple. The side characters whether they were the good or the bad guys were interesting although I wish there was more to learn about the bad guys in Darker Still because I did feel that there could have been more explanation as to them and their origins. However I still liked how the book played out. Overall, I really enjoyed this first novel in the Magic Most Foul series and I highly recommend it to fans of the young adult genre. If you haven't read it already go get your hands on a copy as soon as you can! It has a lot to offer and it's a very quick read. I think it's one of the better young adult novels I've read and I can definitely see myself reading the author's other books.show more
by Kimberly Roy
I can honestly say that I don't think I've read anything quite like Darker Still. I'm such a sucker for romance that I normally steer clear of books that are more mystery and suspense. Unless, of course, it hooks me from the beginning. Which this book TOTALLY did! Darker Still has both a sweet romance and a gripping story of suspense and intrigue and the plot was engaging. What I LOVED was that it was so original! A gorgeous man stuck in painting that needs a beautiful girl to help him out?! SO amazing! And SO different from everything else out there! Like the title suggests, this book is a dark tale. Reading it at times, I was aware of the fact that this book isn't a fluffy, happy, fairy tale. But, that only adds to its charm. Darker Still is wonderful and a delight to read!show more
by Christy @ Captivated Reading
Title: Darker Still Author: Leanna Renee Hieber Series: Magic Most Foul (book #1) Expected Publication Date: Nov. 8th 2011 Pages: 320 Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire My Rating: 5 out of 5 golden apples. Goodreads Synopsis: 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. My Thoughts: Thanks to Sourcebooks Firing Publishing I received an ARC of the book Darker Still for review via Netgalley, and I was truly fascinated by Darker Still. I've never read anything like it. I absolutely fell in love with the world and the character of Natalie Stewart. Darker Still is definitely the most original book I have ever read, so far. Natalie Stewart is a mute and I really liked that aspect of it. It was so original. Also the book wasn't split up in chapters but in diary entries which I also liked and have never read anything like that before. I loved Mrs. Evelyn Northe with a passion she's such an amazing lady. I will admit that for a minute I was worried that she was going to turn out to be the mastermind behind the whole Lord Denbury curse. I'm glad she wasn't. In every book I always seem to find a character that gets on my nerves more than anything and in this book that character was Maggie. Good Lord that girl is worrisome and if you ask me, she'll most likely be trouble in the later books. I sort of liked Natalie's Dad, he seemed sensible enough for avsingle father of a mute girl. Now on to Jonathon Whitby.....I too have fallen head over heels in love with this guy. Seriously every night for the past few night I've gone to bed trying to come up with what he would look like. I mean according to the book he's out of this world gorgeous and I just can't seem to give him a face. I really loved his character and the fact that he was so protective of Natalie. I also loved that it was up to Natalie to save the boy instead of the other way around. And the end was perfect except for that dumb old cop starting to snoop around in the end. But anyway, I am so proud of Natalie she followed her heart and didn't let Jonathan get away. YOU GO GIRL! This book deserves five stars for it's wonderful originality and intense romance between a mute girl and an out of this world beautiful guy who's been cursed to live in a painting. I must read the rest of this series! I cannot wait! Before I end this review I must say that I recently fanned Leanna on face book and I noticed she doesn't have many fans. Well that will definitely change once more people read this book and I hope they do because this book was absolutely breathtaking and I loved every word of it! =Dshow more
by Golden Apple YA Book Reviews
Drawing on the great literary influences of Oscar Wilde, Robert Louis Stevenson, Jane Austen and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in style and tone, Leanna Renee Hieber brilliantly captures that same magic in Darker Still which makes these authors so notable. With elements of the strange and mystical, with a sense of humor and a frankness about the nature of man and utilizing the beautiful, poetic language style of the 19th century, Darker Still is most certainly an homage to these masters, while also being an original story that's all its own - an achingly romantic, Victorian paranormal mystery about a man who's trapped in a cursed painting and the girl who longs to free him. The novel begins with the introduction of the heroine, Natalie Stewart. Recently returned home from an asylum for handicapped girls, seventeen-year-old Natalie finds herself faced with the uncertainty of "what is to be done" with her. A victim of her own emotional trauma, she has not spoken a word since her mother's tragic death thirteen years prior. As a disabled young woman of upper middle class means living in 1880s New York, her prospects for the future are slim indeed. But rather than play the victim, Natalie shows herself to be anything but. Her years of silence have afforded her the opportunity to study the world around her and because of this she is a keen observer of human nature, displays great powers of deductive reasoning, and is an excellent judge of character. She is a girl who - though occasionally plagued by common, minor insecurities - knows herself and is a person comfortable in her own skin. She displays a refreshing confidence, a passion for life, a wonderful independence, and is remarkably courageous and cool-headed in the face of dangers both tangible and intangible. Due to the fact that Natalie is mute, the story isn't merely told by a typical first or third person narrator, but rather is recounted in an epistolary format through entries in Natalie's diary. Natalie has a wonderfully straightforward, yet eloquent voice through her written accounts. Her narrative is vividly detailed, and whether she's describing a private moment with Denbury or a scene of absolute horror, her use of language is consistently beautiful. While still a form of first person narration, the use of the diary as narrator has the connotation of being more intimate and personal - the feeling that the reader is being allowed a unique view into the mind of Natalie - and this narration style is used to great effect by Hieber. From the moment Natalie describes seeing Lord Denbury's portrait for the first time, she is utterly captivated by him, like a moth to flame. Hearing rumors that the painting may be haunted, Natalie herself witnesses strange circumstances surrounding Denbury's portrait. And then one fateful day, Natalie discovers the truth behind the painting and its handsome subject. She vows to help him escape his cursed prison, and as they explore the mystery of his supernatural entrapment, Natalie finds herself hopelessly falling for him. Ever a gentleman, but with just enough roguishness to make a girl's toes curl, Denbury is kind, compassionate, slightly tortured, protective and ever so charming. Their resulting relationship - their conversations and encounters - is what makes this novel such a page turner. In regard to the story itself, Spiritualism plays a large role in the plot and world-building of Darker Still. A movement that gained immense popularity in the United States just before the Civil War and into the late 19th century, Spiritualism promotes the idea of the immortality of the soul - that the spirits of deceased individuals can communicate with those still living through persons who act as mediums. Proponents of Spiritualism believe that spirits often reveal things about the beyond, give advice to the living, and that these souls have reached a higher plane of existence. Using Spiritualism as the foundation for her world-building, Hieber has created a world in which magics and, both good and evil, battle for supremacy. It's a fascinating world, and one with a capacity for great darkness. While the rules of this spiritualistic, 19th century universe have been explained to some extent in Darker Still, it remains shrouded in mystery, hopefully to be revealed more fully throughout the rest of the series. With heart-pounding romance, an imaginative plot worthy of Wilde and Doyle, and an endearing heroine, Darker Still is a brilliant homage to classic literature and a wonderful introduction to the Magic Most Foul series. *Due to some mature content I'd recommend this novel to the upper YA audience.show more
by Dani @ Refracted Light
Natalie Stewart's has always been over looked she has not spoken a word since her mother's death. People normal look at her as if she is brain dead but when a strange but sexy painting walks into her life she finally finds that there is more to her then what meets the eye. As this strange painting brings Natalie happiness it also brings danger and heart ache. The story is told by Natalie Stewart's the book is basically her dairy. She writes down what happens each day. You see Natalie is unable to speck since her mother death no words have come out of her month so now she write everything down. People seem to think she is stupid and dumb but she is far from it. I found Natalie bright and most of all interesting she writes in way that makes all her thoughts and feelings clear and she tells her story in a way that lets you see the whole thing unfold in front of your eyes. Natalie was easy to like while the time the book was based in was far from what I would normal read, I found that time really did not change much Natalie was still a normal teen she hated the way she was treated and the way people could look at her like she was nothing. What really made Natalie likeable were the thoughts she sometimes had. Now the storyline in the book was brilliant I loved the way the book progressed in a way that you were glued to your seat wanting more. The book was not to fast but not slow ether, There was lots going on that made you need to learn more. The book at times was really dark and alluring with evil magic and death but there were times that it was light funny and you hoped for that happy ending. I loved the characters and most of all a brilliantly written book that left you with a feeling like the pictures in your house was watching you. 4 Starsshow more
by annmarie ager
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