Book Title: Stain
Book Author: A.G. Howard
Genre: YA Fantasy/ Faerie Tale Retelling
Publishing Date: January 15th, 2019
Publisher: Abrams/Amulet Books
Synopsis: 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 Lyra finds her way back to her identity, an imposter princess prepares to steal her betrothed prince and her crown. To win back her kingdom, save the prince, and make peace with the land of the night, Lyra must be loud enough to be heard without a voice, and strong enough to pass a series of tests—ultimately proving she’s everything a traditional princess is not.
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The Original Faerie Tale:
The Princess and the Pea was written by Hans Christian Anderson and was first published on May 8th, 1835. It was thought that Anderson had heard the tale as a child. The story tells of a princess whose identity is called in to question by testing her sensitivities to see if she can feel the pea placed under 20 mattresses, because “Only a real princess would have the sensitivity to feel a pea through such a quantity of bedding.”
You can read the original tale here.
Information and quote from wikipedia.
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 sparkled with its own originality and depth.
This tale was everything I hoped it would be, and so much more. It was a fully realized faerie tale with bits of Gothicism, and plenty of moral lessons to provoke the mind. It spoke to me on the importance of inner beauty, friendship, sacrifice, and showing kindness in place of prejudice. It even brought to mind a very important quote from one of my favorite songs, “With glowing pride I’ll wear my scars.” (Malleus Maleficarum by AFI).
Stain was about struggle and strength. It was about true love and doing what’s right, and it was about truly getting to know someone beyond their appearance. But, it was also about struggling kingdoms, magical creatures, and prophecies. It was exciting, dark, and beautiful, and it was about the vivaciously dynamic characters and how they touched each other’s lives.
These characters were incredible. From odd little Lyra who defied all odds and found her inner strength and beauty, to terrifying Crony who proved that it’s what’s on the inside that counts, to the alluring trickster Luce who symbolized the importance of a conscience and redemption, to Scorch who symbolized friendship and the importance of truly getting to know and love someone, and Vesper who symbolized bravery and honor. And, let’s not forget our evil aunt Griselda and her horrid daughters, whom added a horrifying layer of strife, struggle, and wickedness.
Stain was hands down the best faerie tale I have ever read. I finished it in one sitting and dreamed about it that night. The world and story came to life right off the pages. Everything was so rich and vivid, and the characters touched my heart and sparked deep emotion and thought while I was reading. I loved everything about the book and Howard’s beautiful writing. If you haven’t ordered this book yet, you need to!
Thank you to Abrams/Amulet Books for providing me with this ARC in exchange for my honest review!
All images found on Pinterest.
About the Author:
A. G. Howard is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of RoseBlood and the Splintered series. She lives and writes in Amarillo, Texas.
All promo and book images used are courtesy of Abrams and Amulet Books/ Pique Beyond.
All you have to do is pre-order A.G. Howard’s forthcoming book from your favorite retailer, then complete the form here to receive a limited edition swag pack and a “never before told” backstory for Morpheus of Splintered.
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