Laken Honeycutt's Reviews > Shadow-Stained

Shadow-Stained by Rachel Hobbs
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it was amazing

This book drew me in like the pull of a dark tide under a starlit night. Each chapter became more alluring and more difficult to put down. I am left longing to read more and anxiously awaiting the sequel.

Shadow Stained is author Rachel Hobbs' debut novel about a woman, Ruby, who is uprooted from her urban life and forced to move to the country with her injured mother. She’s having a hard time adjusting when she meets a mysterious stranger. Little does she know this stranger is the Demon Lord Drayvex who is stalking her for a sacred relic she carries. Intrigued and oddly drawn to this dark stranger, a bond forms and the two enemies find themselves engaged in a battle to save humankind as Drayvex battles his own inner demons around his burgeoning feelings for the human girl that could lead to his destruction.

The slow burn between Ruby and Drayvex is powerful and effective. I admit, it kept me hooked. Ruby is flawed and human. She is emotional and yet strong in her own quiet manner. At first Drayvex irked me. His arrogance, his invincibility- I understood he was a powerful demon lord, but in the first few chapters he came off as a one-dimensional character. But that changes, and it changes in a manner that I found quite beautiful. His vulnerability becomes apparent as his feelings for Ruby grow. The Beauty and the Beast dynamic between the two is timeless and I appreciate this spin on it: between human and demon.

I think one of Hobbs' great strong-points is in her world-building. The demon planet, Vekrodus, planet of shadows and darkness has a glowing demonic forest, a Sea of Blood, black crystalline mountains, red velveteen flowers, tentacle grass- there is so much detail and rich originality to this world, I felt instantly transported there. I felt similar during the scenes in Drayvex’s fortress, to where I was really disappointed (in a good way!) when Ruby returned to her own world.

I honestly had a difficult time with the beginning of the book. The colloquialisms and a fair amount of sticky writing - overly wordy - almost led me to shelve it. But the plot was fast-paced despite these things, and there was just enough to hook me and keep me reading. Then maybe a quarter of the way into the book both issues dissipated, and the story took over, pulling me right into the characters’ lives, their world, and all that they cared for. It really is a lovely dark story, and I’m so glad I stayed with it. Anxiously awaiting book 2.
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Reading Progress

November 25, 2020 – Shelved
November 28, 2020 – Started Reading
December 6, 2020 – Finished Reading

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