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4.12  ·  Rating details ·  2,125 ratings  ·  495 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, is set 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
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…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
 ·  2,125 ratings  ·  495 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 different
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 andthe 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
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
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
Dark Lordette Jennymort ♔
this sounds dark as hell.

i want it.
Sunny ✨wordslikefury✨
This book: "Castaway princess tries to reclaim her throne."

Me: Oh look...another YA fantasy book with the same overused trope. No thanksss!

Also Me: *buys book anyway and then proceeds to read it.*
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
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
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
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.
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 ...more

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
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
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
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.
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

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
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
ash | emeraldbookowl
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.
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
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
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 ...more
Victoria Alyesa
Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5stars-worthy
I have to admit I have never quite read a book that has made me feel such weird feelings towards it while draggin me into the fairytale bit by bit until I cant help but love it.

The main story started with a bang and keep going; enticing you in and strangely putting you in a sort of book coma; writing style was like a lullaby in story form that keeps you enticed with the book. Although it slows down for several chapters to a crawl it was worth read through.....especially for that awesome
I fear my review will not convey my feelings well, but I will try. I was so impressed by the author's writing. It was like reading poetry over every page. It was beautifully done. This author has a beautiful imagination and can get it out on paper and make you believe it. This was one of the most unusual fairy tale retelling I have ever read. Nothing was like I thought, it was all original and so well planned. The love story was woven deep and later within this book and normally that would shut ...more
Emm - On a Hiatus of Uncertain Nature
An elegant blend of rose and thorn - the beauty of fairytales with all of their blood and deceit intact. Stain is not strictly a retelling, and I enjoyed that it was more original than derivative.
The characters are mostly well-written. I think Griselda's daughters were a bit over-the-top callous and evil, but I never was fond of the wicked stepsister trope played straight either. A.G. Howard's writing style is poetic and laced with hints of danger and the macabre, and really gives a sinister
Alexa Abee
Dec 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
You can check out this review and my other reviews at Writing the Universe

Title: Stain
Author: A.G. Howard
Pub. Date: January 15, 2019

This will be a spoiler free review.

I’m going to start this by saying that I listened to the audiobook via Audible. Definitely recommend it – but more on that in a moment.

I’m also going to say that while I was super excited for this book, I was also a little wary of it. I loved the Splintered Trilogy, but Roseblood fell flat for me (mostly since it was
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a must-read if you like fairytales and maybe Neil Gaiman, too. This book reminded me of Neil Gaiman’s The Sleeper and the Spindle.

Stain is by far my favorite book by A.G. Howard. She really did a great job with this one. She described the world and its characters so beautifully and detailed that I was hoping some artist out there had created fan art already, but sadly I couldn’t find any.

I love that the story doesn’t center on a romance, but more in the development of the story from both
Jul 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is simply fabulous! Here’s the description from > “
After Lyra—a princess incapable of speech or sound—is cast out of her kingdom of daylight by her wicked aunt, a witch saves her life, steals her memories, and raises her in an enchanted forest . . . disguised as a boy known only as Stain. Meanwhile, in Lyra’s rival kingdom, the prince of thorns and night is dying, and the only way for him to break his curse is to wed the princess of daylight—for she is his true equal. As
Gigi Lefebvre
Feb 05, 2019 rated it did not like it
"Once Upon a Nightmare" INDEED...
I don't know what possessed me to read this book, I didn't like Roseblood and I was not even remotely interested in Howard's Splintered series, but for SOME REASON I felt the need to read this?? and it was.... a lot. I can't even say I'm not the right age for this book or demographic! I'm not even sure if I read this at fourteen I would like it very much, it's just objectively not good.

Lyra's a princess, Vesper's a prince, CAN I MAKE IT ANYMORE OBVIOUS.
Feb 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
The "Flux Capacitor Rule" in writing is the concept that you can throw something in your story now and then that completely breaks all rules of logic, but do it anyways. Marty McFly didn't shake his head when he heard about the Flux Capacitor and say, "Don't believe it." He went, "That's pretty swell" and rolled with it. If you're going to create a new world and new rules, go hard. Own your fantasy world. Own your lore. Your magic principles, politics, and creatures. Howard did that with Stain. ...more
Denia  Books & Baubles
This was a very interesting read, very different and not what I was expecting at all. The book itself is not bad but you have to have a specific taste to get through this book. The writing is based on old fairy tale writing, like the brothers Grimm or something similar. It's written in third person and her writing is beautiful and it flows nicely. However, there are many words that are confusing and "old" if that makes any sense. You have to be really paying attention to this book--like you ...more
Jun 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasyyy, retelling, babe
if you will ask me what's my epitome of a perfect book, my definitive answer would be this piece of beauty. i would like to take this with a hot cup of coffee, curled in my white sheets on a rainy summer day, thank you.

*coherent thoughts to come*
Sarah Duarte
Mar 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
STUNNING VISUALS! I hope it’s a movie and I hope they don’t ruin it! So fun! Haven’t loved a book as much as this one in sooooo long ...more
Loved this latest book from A.G. Howard! It is a definite must for fairytale lovers. There were several different fairytales that are twisted in this story and it was fun to see how Howard put her unique spin on these. It's based mostly on the fairytale of the Princess and the Pea. There is a unique twist that I didn't quite see coming which made it that much more enjoyable. The villainess in this story is particularly evil. I loved listening to the audiobook version of the book and highly ...more
Nov 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
3.5 stars

Stain is a simple tale of a princess and prince who must join forces to save their world from a curse. This is an unusual read for me because I hardly read YA, preferring my books with a touch of darkness. One of my students asked me to read it and gave me a copy so I felt obliged.

The main character is Lyra, also known as Stain, who is born with white hair, glowing purple eyes, and skin so fair it cannot be exposed to the sun. After tragic death of her parents (how original) her aunt
Jul 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
A rather long, very interesting, very in depth story I quite happily enjoyed.
Bethany Crandell
Apr 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
As one of AG's critique partner's, I had the privilege of reading this beautiful book while she wrote it and...OHMYGOD! You guys, this story has EVERYTHING! Rich characters, delicious world-building, an unpredictable story line riddled with betrayal and friendship, romance and's SO good. Cannot wait for everyone to read it next year!!
Oct 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, sara

No tengo claro que nota le doy, un 3,5 quizás.

La historia en general me ha gustado mucho, el puntito tétrico que le da la autora a sus historias siempre las hace especiales.
Aunque sus libros me han gustado prácticamente todos, he de decir que la autora, a veces, tiende a meter mucha información, mucha historia y sus libros se hacen a ratos largos y pesados. Pero todos son muy especiales, creo que merecen la pena. Ademas de tener buena prosa, la autora crea personajes diferentes, y no
Dec 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Holy crap this book was so fuckin' good it is literally my favorite book it was that good! I loved every single goddamn thing about it. I was hesitant because I didn't really care for Roseblood by this author, but damn she really blew me away with this gothic magical fairytale of a book. The words that flowed within these pages were so sickeningly beautiful and it really held my attention. The characters were so dark and beautiful in many ways it made me love this book so much. The book was a ...more
Kenny Danewitz raveh
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was ok
DNF at 20%.
I had such high hopes for this one but sorry, this is not for me.
The language is very difficult, some words I have never heard before - with no actual need but maybe to add another layer to the fairy tale but a better way in my opinion is to make the story interesting.
I had a very hard time picturing Lyra as feminine and couldn't picture her in a romantic scenario.
i'm sure at some point the story will evolve but I just don't have it in me to wait.
Brittany Kantack
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was so magical and beautiful, I was sucked in. The story was fantastic, the world building was perfect. I have no complaints about this book. I'm so glad I made this impulse buy. I honestly think this is one of my favorite books ever. Definitely will be in this year's top 10 favorites.
Sep 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I went into this book expecting to lose interest, but boy was I wrong. If you haven't read this book yet, DO IT. It may not be for everyone, but I was in love with the beautiful characters and world that Howard created.
Asia McGough
Dec 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
the number of times i’ve said “i’m SLAMMINGGG” while reading the last 200 pages of this stellar book is… enormous

i don’t review things

but i must compliment how incredibly all of the plot details were tied together in the end. although, throughout the majority of the book, i was a bit confused about where the many details would lead, the conclusion cleared up my confusion and was extremely satisfying to read!!
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YA Buddy Readers'...: Stain by A.G. Howard - Restarting March 4th 2019 5 43 Mar 11, 2019 06:28PM  

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#1 New York Times and International bestselling Author of Gothic / Fantasy & Paranormal tales. Mystical & romantic with a side of horror. YA, Adult, and Literary Romance. Repped by Jenny Bent.

A.G. was inspired to write the Splintered Series, her tribute to Carroll's Wonderland, while working at a school library. Her pastimes are reading, rollerblading, gardening, and family vacations which
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“Friendship has many rewards. Love is the culmination of them all.” 5 likes
“Sometimes it takes more courage to stay in place than to move.” 3 likes
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