Tuesday, June 12

Darker Still: Book Review

Darker Still
Sourcebooks Fire
November 8th 2011
Young Adult | Fantasy | Historical (1880)
Demon | Magic

Official Blurb -
I was obsessed.

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 streets of Manhattan. Unless I can free him soon, things will only get Darker Still.

From the get go this book stands out. It is told in journal format which contributes to its uniqueness. Another contributor is the heroine and her status as mute. I like that it begins with an asylum of sorts. By the twenty-second page I was completely hooked. Very compelling and engrossing. After so few pages I found myself already trying to imagine up the possibilities hidden on the unread pages. I didn't want to put the book down but I also wanted some silence to properly focus on the story.
There is a point in this story when Natalie mentions Alice in Wonderland. I am no fan of Alice in Wonderland. While this work does seem to grab something from Alice in Wonderland it is done in a far more believable way. Can one actually say "believable" when the main character is stumbling in and out of a painting?
For me the downfall to this book is the high standard it set in the beginning. How do you up the ante? When I was reading the end it felt a bit dull and slow. In hindsight I can see it is anything but. There is a lack of propriety in this book. It doesn't fit well with the time period. I don't buy the excuse, "It isn't really our bodies," if it looks like it then it is. Seems it would be hard to restrain oneself from treading paths already trodden even if only metaphysically. It ruined the picture of him being a gentleman, as well as making her seem less virtuous. Then he has the gall to promise he will be a gentleman to her father. I don't believe it for a minute.
Great read, I keep shuddering at the idea of this book being translated into a movie. It would be a ride through the love tunnel and terror house. So, very beautiful and serene, but around the corner a fright. The feeling of innocence the pages contains make the scary moments that much more potent. Not even the mention of demons put me on my guard. There are some startling moments surely inspired from the movie, The Ring.

Swearing: mild
Sexual: moderate
Violence: moderate
Main Character Ages: 17 and 18
Moments Divine:
"He has brought back that old familiar pull, the pining ache of those dear old stories. He is water on parched lips. I've missed the sweet longing for those worlds, the titillating sense of magic that courses down my spine with delicious possibility, and the sense that the veil to another existence is very thin near me. . .the sense that I am gifted. I've missed that thought."
"I was in love.
With a two-dimensional object. A mute in love with a painting. Lovely. Just lovely. I could do nothing but stand there and accept my absurd fate."
"Well, if I'm indeed living an adventure novel, there must be a love story. There's always a love story. I'm so fond of literary tradition, and right now, its consistency remains my only comfort."