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4.12  ·  Rating details ·  2,749 ratings  ·  607 reviews
"Once upon a nightmare, her fairy tale begins...

This high-fantasy gothic fairytale, inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s The Princess and the Pea, takes place in an alternative medieval world split apart by magic. To win back her kingdom of perpetual day, save her night prince, and reunite the sun with the moon, a princess incapable of speech or sound must prove herself e
Hardcover, 512 pages
Published January 15th 2019 by Abrams/Amulet Books
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A.G. Howard There's been an update on this answer. Follow this link to my blog for deets:
A.G. Howard Thank you! On the note of ARCs, I'm not sure. I know they're giving out chapter samplers at some upcoming events (they're stunning!). But as for revie…moreThank you! On the note of ARCs, I'm not sure. I know they're giving out chapter samplers at some upcoming events (they're stunning!). But as for review copies of the full books, I've heard rumors they have something really special and unique planned, so I'm waiting to hear more about it... I'll share more info when I have all the details!(less)
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Average rating 4.12  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,749 ratings  ·  607 reviews

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A.G. Howard
Apr 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
So excited to finally post this title! Two things to know about this book: There's no love triangle, and it's a standalone.

Here's a little insight into the story: Stain, my anti-princess, lives in an alternative medieval world where the moon has been torn from the sky and banished to a wintry night kingdom deep beneath the earth, leaving the sun and kinder seasons to the day kingdom above ground. This has made for an intricately built fantasy world and magic system, requiring more work than any
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
Reread with my friends at For Love Of A Book. I love this on Audio, not sure if I mentioned that before! 😘

I just about can’t stand any more beautiful book covers!

This book was magical!!!

(Photo courtesy to creators on the photo)

Once upon a nightmare, a princess was born in the kingdom of perpetual daylight-a fine-boned babe who killed her queenly mother upon her entrance to the world

Not everything is as it seems in this world. God, how I loved it. Lyra is different from all. Vesper is differ
Candace Robinson
Jan 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I've loved every book from A.G. Howard, and this one was just as gorgeous! Beautiful writing and lush descriptions! It honestly gave me Grimm Fairy Tales vibes except with a unique and new spin!

There were four main POVs and each one was intriguing! Each character added more depth to the story, giving it a more roundabout tale. Also, the sun and the moon theme was so utterly perfect and I loved, loved, loved the friendship, the journey, the romance, the emotions!

This is one retelling that I would
ʙᴇʟʟᴀ.: ☾**:.☆*.:。.
Jan 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of fairytales
"Once upon a nightmare, a princess was born in the kingdom of perpetual daylight..."

Stain was one of my most anticipated books: soon as it was available to pre-order I did not hesitate. I was lucky enough that my pre-order came earlier than expected and I'm so glad.
Unlike the majority of fans of the author, I did not know the author for Splintered. I was first introduced to her beautiful gothic romance/new adult novel The Architect of Song. I became a fan because it is very hard to find got
Jennie Damron
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A modern fairytale that is what this beautiful book is. OMG! I loved this book from the beautiful cover to the words inside. It does start off slow, but if you keep with it you will be richly rewarded. A.G Howard said she was inspired by the Princess and the Pea. Believe me when I say this book is it's own story with different characters and beautiful world building. To me it was a completely different tale. Lyra is a wonderful girl who you are allowed to see develop and grow to an amazing young ...more
wow! what a book! thank you to Ashley and everyone else for recommending me this amazing story!

Stain was like a mix of all these different fairytales smooshed together with a bit of Mulan and a dark prophecy thrown in the mix! everything i love. it followed a couple different POV's but mainly the Princess Lyra's story as she darted amongst the shadows of her castle, destined to unite day and night. we watch her grow to become a kind, strong girl, only for it all to be torn from her as she's cast
Brittain *Needs a Nap and a Drink*
Buddy Read with the ever wonderful Melissa

I can't even begin to tell you how excited I was for this book. This is the author that created one of my favorite book boyfriends, Morpheus, and she was promising me another gritty retelling. I was expecting something dark and haunting from this book which, ultimately, I did not get.

This book just fell flat. There was not enough to it to get me interested or keep me invested in the story and that is with a book that is over 300 pages. There were long wo
Dark Sith Lordette Jennymort ♔
this sounds dark as hell.

i want it.
Tracy (Cornerfolds)
Jan 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Read more of my reviews at!

It's no secret around my blog that A.G. Howard is one of my absolute favorite authors. I fell in love with the Splintered series in 2014 and have loved everything she has written since. I also adore fairytale retellings! When I heard about Stain, I knew there was a good chance it would be one of my top reads of 2019, and I'm pretty sure I was right.

This haunting story is about Lyra, princess of the kingdom of daylight, and Vesper, prince of the kingdom
Dec 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Well, I started this almost a year ago and I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to settle down and read this one.

I really liked Lyra and Vesper and their menagerie of friends. There are loads of characters in this story and I don’t want to give anything away. I will say that Scorch was my absolute favorite and he stole every scene he was in.

Plot wise, it was a bit slow going, but there was always something that hooked me in and kept me interested. There are several moving parts here and at
Stephanie (Bookfever)
Like the synopsis says, Stain is inspired by the fairytale of Hans Christian Andersen's The Princess and the Pea, which just happens to be one of my all time favorite classic fairytales. I must've read it more than a hundred times as a child. And Stain did just read like a magical fairytale. This was one of my favorite things about the story. The writing was beautifully lyrical and just took my breath away at times. I also thought it had some Sleeping Beauty vibes. Another one of my favorite fai ...more
Melissa (Ever So Mela)
Buddy read with my fave Kpop enthusiast Brittain
Me throughout the whole book...

but Stain just wouldn't have it...

I went into this story so excited. I mean Howard was the person able to create Morphous, one of my all time favorite leads. How could I not be happy to dive into this? But man oh man, was I wrong.

First off, I honestly don't believe young adults should be the demographic for this. Seemed more like middle grade. I was sold a beautifully dark and gritty retelling but what I got was a cl
Amy Imogene Reads
Apr 30, 2019 marked it as to-read
Put on indefinite pause at the 53% mark. This is not a bad story at all, just picked it up at the wrong time and then too much time passed to continue on without restarting.

Stain has a beautiful cover for one. Then after diving into this wonderful retelling, which kind of reminded me of goose girl for a bit? idk why but yeah.. it was good - end of story! The characters in this book were lovable, even if they did bore me to tears during some parts. Throughout the book, twists, turns, and all magical things made this even more interesting to me. I couldn't hit the pause button if I even tried. I was sucked into this world and enjoyed
Michaela (Journey into Books)
May 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
This is another novel that I can't believe I didn't pick up sooner as it is such a magical read.

I fall more in love with A.G. Howard's writing with every book I read of hers. It is so beautiful and whimsical and she does such an amazing job of bring her stories to life. It also reads so much like the faerie tales I use to read when I was younger. The world she creates in this novel is so beautiful and magical and I love the dark and gothic undertones throughout. If I were to describe my aestheti
Darque  Dreamer
Jan 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: top-reads
Stain is hauntingly enchanting. It’s an epic tale with a perfect blend of whimsy, darkness, and “faerie tale happiness.” Vividly beautiful, with a nice sprinkle of Grimm horror, this one is sure to ensorcell you!

I absolutely loved Stain. It had so many rich details, and world building for ages! It felt like it had hints of Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty with a sprinkle of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Stardust. It also shined with inspiration from The Princess and the Pea, but it sp
Lerizza Mae (books&teacups)
Actual rating: 3.5 Stars

This story is about a princess with starlit features born in a kingdom wreath in sunlight wherein the sun does not interchange with the moon. The moon, however, is in another kingdom, a kingdom where the sun does not shine all throughout. And within that kingdom, a prince, who has the opposite features a night dweller have, resides with his royal family. And to break the curse that befell these two kingdoms, a curse that gives one kingdom eternal sunlight while the other
Bianca Escada
May 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I need more than 5 stars! This books is everything!

1st Star ⭐️ First, a high-fantasy gothic fairytale retelling STANDALONE! Need I say more? This books has everything.

2nd Star ⭐️ What would have taken many talented authors 2-3 books to write, AG Howard has everything in one book! A princess, a prince, a heroine, a hero, a villain, villain counterparts, a witch, a fox, a mother, a father, goblins, creatures, mythical beings, mythical creatures, etc! An incredible storyline, amazing plot twists...
Jan 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Oh it's so good! So many fairy tales all spun together into a beautiful story. The audiobook is FANTASTIC.
Christine Manzari
Sep 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a fairytale that I feel like I’ve known my whole life even though I’ve only read it for the first time. It was dark and complex and haunting....yet beautiful for all those same reasons. It was inspired by The Princess and the Pea but it was so much more than a is a unique fairytale in its own right and I loved it. If you liked Strange the Dreamer you’ll love this book.
Malissa S
May 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This story truly is amazing
Its so unique and beautifully written. I didn't know what to expect from one page to the next which is a wonderful feeling when reading. Reading should be an adventure and not a regurgitated plot line with varying characters. I never once felt like something couldn't happen because it involved Lyra and 'you can't hurt/kill the main character '. I truly felt that anything was possible and it made this story so exciting. I couldn't put it down, I recommend it
Mar 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
How did this book not get more praise or reviews! Its amazing! And such a thrilling read!
First off, lets start with the fact that it is by far the best retelling I have read. It reverses the usual fairytale tropes and makes them their own. It beautifully depicts the story of Stain, or Princess Lyra, who despite the hardships she faces, or the hurt she is dealt with, retains her humility and hopes. She sees the inner beauty of all those she encounters, be it sylphs, witches, or hoargoblins.
Jan 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was such a magical retelling of the Princess and the Pea. I loved that there was a small synopsis in the beginning of the actual fairytale and the main events. It made it so much easier to admire how Howard took that fairytale and reimagined it into this amazing story.

I started reading this and got through 2 hours and realized I had no idea what had happened. This is why you don't multitask lol. But after restarting it, this story really captivated me. First of all the names in this book ar
May 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Another gothic and twisted fairytale from A.G. Howard, this standalone has the feel of the Splintered series, but in an entirely separate and unique world with it's own history, magic, and prophecies. I'd say the main character is very loosely based on the Princess and the Pea, with elements of her life from just about every other princess story out there. The plot twists were surprising and thought out, everything is connected, and every loose strand gets tied off. Without giving anything away, ...more
Jessi (Novel Heartbeat)

Holy crap, where do I start?! This book blew me away! I was hopelessly hooked from the very beginning. This book got to me in the very best way! This story is so beautiful and enchanting, and Howard's lyrical prose drew me in! The premise was absolutely BRILLIANT - I loved every single aspect of it, from the uniquely dark and magical (and sometimes twisted!) world that Howard painted; down to the prophecy of the Prince and Princess and the engaging plot. Basically, I wanted to crawl into the
Sara Saif
Feb 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing

It took me more or less 20 days to complete Stain. There are a few reasons. One of them being its length, it’s 1200 pages strong, the other being my wedding and subsequent adjustment into a new household which was challenging. It did not, in any way, have anything to do with it being bad.

It was the opposite of bad, let me make that abundantly clear.

Stain was full of wonder and delight, page upon page of beauty and charm. I lost myself in it and my adoration of the tale never faltered, only grew

ash | novelly rooted
Jul 05, 2018 marked it as short-to-read-list
you had me at high-fantasy gothic fairy tale. i wasn't a huge fan of RoseBlood, but this sounds dark and promising. ...more
Beks Counsell
Mar 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“It begins with “Once Upon”’ and a touch of morbid to set the tone”.

I applaud you, A. G. Howard for once again feeding my insatiable appetite for beautifully dark Fairy Tale retellings. It is this author I have to thank in the first place for giving me such high expectations for this genre- and she didn’t disappoint with Stain which in my opinion is yet another masterpiece!

For those of you who don’t know, Stain is an inspired gothic retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Princess and the Pea
Apr 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was an amazing book. It was recommended to me as one that had a really great disability representation and it did not disappoint. Both of the two main characters have what their societies consider to be disabling conditions. Lire, the main protagonist is unable to speak and cannot go out in sunlight. Because of this she is shunned by the people of her kingdom and she faces both adversity and discrimination. One of the things I love most about this book is that the characters that only find ...more
Cabiria Aquarius
I admit reading the synopsis made me wary of diving into this book. I was worried I wouldn’t like it. What was said in the synopsis worried me. But then I started this book and it was good. Then things started happening and it turned into a beautiful story. It evoked true emotion from my heart and my eyes. The character growth and strength and love. Always love. Or pride and righteousness in the aunt. The way this was written... and the mother figures and all side characters had a story. Had a p ...more
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#1 New York Times and International bestselling Author of gothic / fantasy & paranormal tales, mystical & romantic with a side of horror. A.G.'s dark Alice in Wonderland inspired Splintered series has been published in over a dozen languages.

Young adult, Adult, and literary romance. Repped by Jenny Bent.

How A.G. Howard rates books on GoodReads:

"I only rate or review books I enjoyed reading, and w

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