TITLE: Shadow Stained
BY: Rachel Hobbs
SERIES: Stones of Power #1
PUBLICATION: 14th April 2020
LENGTH: 362 pages
WARNING: Death, Gore, Profanity, Violence (For more trigger warnings from your favorite books, head over to BOOKTRIGGERWARNINGS.COM)
NOTES: I received an e-copy of the book from the author via the blog tour host in exchange for an honest review and promotion. My review is unbiased and honest.
For her, it’s her late grandma’s legacy. For him, the mother of all black arts spoils, granting one demon the power of a God. Immortality.
When occult-magnet Ruby falls victim to Demon Lord Drayvex’s viperous allure, she loses a sentient dark relic to his light fingers and appetite for power. Like calls to like. But when Drayvex himself loses the relic to a traitor to the throne, Ruby coerces him – the tyrant king with a soft spot for humanity – into helping her save her pokey old world village from becoming a ground zero of mass demonic carnage.
Both invested in reclaiming the relic, the one thing Ruby and Drayvex agree on is that it’s in the wrong hands. Co-existing in a precarious arrangement between predator and prey, to save the planet they both love for different reasons, they must become a formidable double-team in the face of an apocalyptic takeover. Now, the fate of both human and demon alike rests with a killer that walks between worlds, and a woman with a curse in her bloodline.
ONE -SENTENCE REVIEW:
Shadow Stained gave me that classic feels that I used to have while reading paranormal fantasy when I was young and it’s like reading the genre for the first time.
When I read the blurb of this book, I instantly thought of Lucifer on Netflix. I just finished the last season that time. That made me so excited to read Shadow Stained even though in my mind, I knew Lucifer would be too modern compared to it. In some way, I am right. Reading Shadow Stained didn’t give me that modern feel, which is what I expected. But on the other hand, it was a downside for the writing because the book is supposedly modern than how it’s portrayed. I was expecting a full blown fantasy but this is actually more paranormal, more urban. And the setting is not the medieval or magical world I was expecting. Sure the setting is fictional, but it’s modern enough. I mean they have phones and earphones.
Let me be clear, that’s not a criticism because it’s not necessarily bad. I didn’t really dig the setting so much but I don’t really have big issues with it. In fact I think, it’s just a me-thing. I just feel like sometimes, the author describes the setting in contrast to the vibe of the story. Like the village in the beginning. In my mind, I was envisioning a really old village, like the ones we see in medieval TV shows but based on the description, that’s not correct at all. I mean they have a cafe in that village. The vibe sounds like it’s really old but the description differs. So see, it’s a me-thing. It’s my fault that I envision different than wat is described.
It’s so weird I started with the setting in this review. Now, as for the characters. I think the characters, especially the main characters, are the best part of this book. I love Drayvex. He’s so sarcastic and egotistic, I love him so much. He’s so unapologetic for who he is, and I’m going to say this again – that is a very good quality in a fictional character. I also liked the development that his character underwent, although obviously there’s still a lot in his character.
Now, Ruby. She’s so relatable. She’s not trying to be a badass and just, you know, doing her best. She just does what she’s supposed to do in every situation. She’s even terrified of monsters, which is very uncommon in main characters these days. These days, all main characters are badasses and fight monsters with courage. Nothing wrong with that but it’s so refreshing to have Ruby.
I think both Drayvex and Ruby’s characters have sensible motivation in whatever they’re doing. I enjoyed it when they joined hands, working together, and yet never waiver in their own personal goals. That makes this book both a character-driven and plot-driven. The combination of two has always been my favorite. Another thing is, I wasn’t expecting Shadow Stained to be also emotional.
The story started with a bang. The author definitely knows how to have a hook in her book but it kind of slows down for a few chapters. But the pace picked up again once the stone was taken. Speaking of the stone…It’s not the most unique magical thing, which makes the whole magical system not so new as well. But that’s fine. I still liked it.
RATING: 4 blissful pages with lilies
Like I said in my one-sentence review, this book gives me that classic feeling that I liked when reading a paranormal story. I love it.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rachel Hobbs lives in soggy South West Wales, where she hibernates with with her bearded dragon and her husband. By day she is a dental nurse at a small local practice. By night, she writes.
Her debut novel SHADOW-STAINED is the first in a dark fantasy series for adults, inspired by her dark and peculiar experiences with narcolepsy and parasomnia. She’s since subjugated her demons, and writes under the tenuous guise that they work for her.
Fuelled by an unhealthy amount of coffee, she writes about hard-boiled monsters with soft centres and things that go bump in the night.
Have you read this book? Or planning to? What do you think of it? Let’s chat!