THE TWISTED TRAGEDY OF MISS NATALIE STEWART
Magic Most Foul #2
Leanna Renee Heiber
Paranormal Young Adult
Received from publisher for review
THE STORY (from Goodreads)
I'm coming for you.
The whispers haunt her dreams and fill her waking hours with dread. Something odd is happening. Something...unnatural.
of the living. Resurrection of the dead. And Natalie Stewart is caught
right in the middle. Jonathon, the one person she thought she could
trust, has become a double agent for the dark side. But he plays the
part so well, Natalie has to wonder just how much he's really acting.
She can't even see what it is she's fighting. But the cost of losing her heart, her sanity...her soul.
The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart picks up immediately where Darker Still left off, giving us the barest of hints as to what happened previously and encouraging us to really dig deep into the recesses of our minds to recall all the finer and darker details of Natalie and Jonathon’s meeting. Ms. Hieber gives us ample time to remember however, as the second leg of Natalie’s journey into the world of the supernatural moves forward slowly and carefully, setting each piece of the story purposefully on the playing board before the game actually begins in the last third of the novel.
Part of this second installment’s quieter feel stems from the separation of Natalie and Jonathon shortly after tour reintroduction to them, our desire to see their relationship strengthen and deepen now that canvas and curse no longer stand between them strong enough that we can’t help but be a touch disappointed when we’re denied time to see them truly together. There was a declaration of love in Darker Still despite the brevity of their acquaintance – the dire situation they both faced allowing for a level of believability with regard to rapid escalation of their feelings – and we crack the spine of book two with the hope that we’ll finally get to see the emotional connection that supports the vocalization of those three little words. Unfortunately, their relationship doesn’t quite reach the bar we set for them prior to reading, at least in this installment, but the potential for them as a couple is undeniably present.
While the romance is a touch lackluster in this second book, it should be noted that the focus of the story is clearly not intended to be on Natalie and Jonathon’s love, though it does play a major role, but instead on the mystery surrounding those who cursed Jonathon in the first place and their reasons for doing so. Jonathon’s imprisonment in the painting was clearly but a cog in a darkly insidious paranormal machine, and Ms. Hieber does a beautiful job of taking us by the shoulders in this book and turning us in a slow circle so we can clearly see how much larger and more terrifying the Society’s plans actually are. Our eyes are forced open wide, the realization of how far the claws of supernatural malevolence reach and how deeply they’ve sunk into a variety of people ensuring we’re on the edge of our seats during the action-packed conclusion.
Overall, The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart takes a little while to really get rolling, but once it does, the outcome of what’s been started is something we simply cannot breathe another minute without knowing. The darkest things are clearly still to come, and I will certainly be continuing on with Natalie and Jonathon to see how their light fares against a seemingly unstoppable blackness.