Author: A. G. Howard
“In the end, you will have to prove hard enough to wrap yourself in spikes, yet tender enough to walk amongst stars without crushing their fragile legs. You will need to have hair of steel and tears of stone. Only then will you find your true self again.”
If you’re looking for a hauntingly beautiful fairytale unlike any other, look no further from Stain. From page one, I was pull into this fascinating story full of princes and princesses, enchantments, quests, magical creatures, and self-discovery.
Stain is a completely atmospheric book: from the dark, gothic elements to the vivid descriptions, it’s so easy to become lost in this magical world. A. G. Howard has mentioned this being inspired by The Princess and the Pea, but the story she has written is entirely it’s own unique and wonderful fairytale, with only the barest of allusions to that tale. The intricacies of the plot and all the small details that come together by the end were so clever and well-constructed.
“She would make her parents proud…reclaim what had been stolen, save the night realm’s prince, and unite the sun with the moon – whatever it took to see it all done.”
I adored both the characters, Lyra/Stain and Prince Vesper. Lyra’s growth throughout the book was inspiring, and I loved the theme of the rose gaining her thorns. And I actually appreciated the fact that the author gave her a touch of vindictiveness at the end towards her enemies, instead of the typical all merciful/totally forgiving heroine in a lot of novels. It made Lyra that much more relatable and realistic. The romance was handled expertly: we have a slow burn between the two, and it was so satisfying to watch it unfold!
Stain enchanted me from the very beginning. The story is so mesmerizing and atmospheric that I felt like I myself was under a spell while reading. For those who enjoy dark, gothic fairytales with a touch of romance and strong characters, please do yourself a favor and add this to your TBR.