Expected Publication: November 7th, 2012
The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart (Magic Most Foul # 2)
By: Leanna Renee Hieber
For Natalie Stewart, a normal life has never seemed so far away. Her only solace, Lord Jonathan Denbury, is wanted for murder. To clear his name, Denbury must return to England and assume the role of his demon doppelganger. But Natalie begins to doubt his true motives, especially as a new gentleman begins whispering in her ear. Natalie and Denbury may be able to visit each other in their dreams, but they can't escape the darkening shadows. Amid spontaneous explosions, friends turned enemies and dangerous secrets revealed, there's still a demon who has Natalie's scent, and someone is trying to resurrect the ultimate evil.
Natalie Stewart thought that after they vanquished the demon from Jonathon's body and the painting that had trapped him was destroyed, they would finally be able to breathe easy. Once they reach the medical practice of Jonathon's friend Samuel out west, they realize that the demon they got rid of was just the beginning and one part of a much larger and far more evil organization. Determined to find out the real reasons behind the hijacking of his body by the demon, Jonathon makes a voyage to England the infiltrate the secret society responsible. Natalie returns to New York to face Mrs. Northe, her partner in crime, and her Father, who she left behind with only her diary for explanation when she and Jonathon ran away. Then she is contacted by her friend Rachel, from the sanitarium she lived in, who is being forced to tie the spirits of the dead back to mysterious items in locked boxes. Also, Natalie is having sinister dreams, where something evil is carving runic messages on her arms. Mrs. Northe, Natalie, Rachel and Jonathon must pool all their knowledge and resources together if they're going to stop Rachel's employer the "Doctor" before he brings upon them something evil that is beyond destruction. And is the demon from Jonathon's past truly gone or is it in the shadows, waiting to strike one final, deadly time? I had been looking forward to this book since last December when I first read Darker Still in ARC form. It was beautiful, haunting, fresh and the writing sent chills down my spine. The sequel picks up right where the first book leaves off, with Natalie and Jonathon (Lord Denbury) leaving the city by train, to go see one of Denbury's old friends who may be able to help them. I felt like this book wanted to have as much action as the first one, but never quite managed it. Also, the romance between Natalie and Denbury felt very stilted in this book versus in the first one. Mrs. Northe came across as very condescending and interfering, especially the way she has struck up a relationship with Natalie's widowed Father. The whole monster with spirits tied to it was grotesque, but it had also been done before in Frankenstein and wasn't different enough to be truly original. The only "new" characters that really intrigued me at all were Rachel and Denbury's spiritualist performing friend, Nathaniel Veil. Overall, not my cup of tea but a decently well written book. I just feel very lukewarm about it, which is extremely disappointing for me as an ardent admirer of the first novel.
VERDICT: 3/5 Stars
*I received this book as part of Around the World ARC Tours, run by the lovely Princess Bookie. No favors or money were exchanged for this review. It will be available for purchase on November 7th, 2012.*