Darker Still

Darker Still - Leanna Renee Hieber This book takes you through the adventure of Natalie Stewart in diary form. For those that don't often like this form, it is set in such a way you get lost in the story rather than being constantly interrupted. The only time this bothered me was toward the end. I had a hard time believing she would have stopped suddenly to give us an account of what happened. Unfortunately that can be the downfall of this type of storytelling. Still, up until then, I did enjoy the diary format.

The story is a bit of a mystery. A bit like the Dorian Grey story where part of the man's essence is trapped in a painting. While Denbury, our hero, did not trap himself for selfish gains, it was a demon using his magic to trap Denbury's spirit while making use of his body. The mystery is how he did it as well as how to reverse it.

Our heroine is strong despite her inability to speak. She becomes the "white knight" she wanted herself and finds incredible strength in helping Denbury. Her bravery is not lost on Denbury and he himself becomes enamored and actually allows her to rescue him. The romance felt a bit instant, but in this book it works. The strong feelings come about from extreme circumstances.

The secondary charcters weren't as developed as I would have liked saved for Mrs. Northe. She was Natalie's mentor, so it makes sense she would be the most developed. I would have liked Crenfall to be a bit more developed and really wanted to understand his true roll with the demon. Perhaps he was only a "Renfield" (aka Dracula's henchmen) but it was unclear. The aspects to the demon's story might clear up as the series progresses.

I give this book 3 1/2 stars. I really enjoyed the setting and the main characters in this tale. The book does not end on a cliffie (YaY!) but does hold the door open for more tales in this series. I'm curious as to what will happen next.