I'm excited to be a part of the review blitz for Ella James' Stained. I have all the details on the book for y'all, a couple of teasers, and, of course, my review. :)
FYI - Stained is currently **FREE**
Release Date: September 14, 2011
Genre: YA Paranormal, Fantasy
Source: I purchased my own ecopy from Amazon
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
After a fire destroys seventeen-year-old Julia’s home and kills her foster parents, she chases the half-demon responsible across the country and back, determined to avenge her family and discover why a host of celestial baddies want her dead. With Julia is enigmatic hottie - Cayne, who has his own score to settle with the half-demon, and who might be just as dangerous as the creature he and Julia hunt.
When a character has a distinct voice (in my head) within the first few pages, I get a little excited. When the story has its own take on a species (Nephilim) along with plenty of action, mystery and emotion...I'm ecstatic! I was quickly drawn in to Stained and was enthralled throughout.
Julia is not your average high school senior. Soon after we meet her, we learn she has some unique abilities. We then learn Julia has led a difficult life. She's endured a lot of loss, having lost her birth parents and then having been bounced around foster homes, and finally suffering the loss of her adoptive parents. Now she's joined with Cayne to track down the half-demon who killed her parents and she just might learn a few things about herself...and her abilities. Julia's a strong heroine, which I enjoyed. She's not looking for someone to save her.
Cayne is a mystery in the beginning. He refuses to tell Julia anything other than he's hunting Samyaza, the being responsible for Julia's recent trauma. Once he begins to open up, we see he's a kind person. As we learn more and more about him, there are some startling revelations made. But we know he intends to protect Julia at all costs.
I'm definitely intrigued by this world Ms. James has created. The Nephilim aren't exactly good and there are different classifications among them, which is interesting. We discover Julia is Stained but we don't yet know exactly what that means. However, it does seems as though Nephilim and the Stained don't like each other. The pacing of the story is nice and I enjoyed how Ms. James provided backstory and even glimpses of the future through memories as well as dreams.
There were a few places where I got a bit confused. I felt Julia's visions were difficult to follow and I was puzzled when Cayne did something to protect Julia only to undo it when she was actually in danger. But I'm sure everything will be explained as the series progresses. And I am enthralled with this story. I must know what's going on - why Julia's being hunted by both the Stained and the Nephilim, why these beings are embittered towards each other, and are Julia and Cane safe after the events at the end of the book.
By the way, Stained does end with a cliffhanger - but not one that had me wanting to bang my ereader against a wall. I knew things were not going to be wrapped up, as this is an over-arcing plotline. And it ended in a reasonable way.
With lots of pulse-pounding action, mystery, intrigue, and sexual tension too, Stained is a riveting start to a series. It's told in 3rd person POV and changes between Julia, Cayne, and Nathan, who is one of the Stained looking for Julia. Nephilim are a species I love reading about and Ms. James' take on them is new and exciting to me. And her prose paints the story so vividly. I'm anxious to start the next in the series.
Ella James is a Colorado author who writes teen and adult romance. She is happily married to a man who knows how to wield a red pen, and together they are raising a feisty two-year-old who will probably grow up believing everyone's parents go to war over the placement of a comma.
Ella's books have been listed on numerous Amazon bestseller lists, including the Movers & Shakers list and the Amazon Top 100; two were listed among Amazon's Top 100 Young Adult Ebooks of 2012.