Stained by Ella James
Reviewed by Michala T.
At just under 200 pages this book was an easy read and fortunately a free one for me thanks to Amazon.com. Most books this size would have taken me maybe 4 hours (6 on a rough day) to read. This one however took me two days. That in itself says something (if you know anything about my reading habits). So let’s take a dive into this book and see what when right and what went wrong.
This is book one in a series, FYI. The opening was a perfect pincher! It took me just a few lines of reading before it was screaming “don’t put me down!” Julia, who is seventeen years old, finds her world has forever changed; in fact, it’s been ripped out of her hands. Everything she knows and loves is gone and she has nowhere to go and no one to turn to. To prevent spending the last year of her adolescence in a group home she alters her appearance and hides away.
Julia takes the saying ‘a handsome guy fell from the heavens’ literally when a mysterious man crashes through the roof of the abandoned warehouse that is her current home. But he isn’t alone. He’s with a very sinister presence that is out to kill…surprise, her! Tall, dark, and hunkalicious saves her this round!
Cayne refuses to give Julia answers but insists that he will help her take him down since he wants to kill him anyway. But she does finally get him to share some details about himself and who the monster trying to killer her is. Together they travel, hunting the ‘angel of death’ down with all intent on killing him and over and over they come across killings of people just like Julia; people who have ‘birthmarks’, or are as he calls them, Stained.
While the angel of death and his men are looking for people who are Stained, including Julia, she and Cayne learn that the Stained are after Cayne, though for reasons unknown to them. Both endure very private trials while simultaneously dealing with the growing feelings of love for the other which puts makes their journey that much more dangerous.
The story Ella James created was definitely an intriguing one. Its hard to create new twists in a world where paranormal is the new Harlequin Romance novel but she was able to do so. Unfortunately the story was very brief and lacked the depth that I needed to draw me further in. I felt that the author rushed the completion and publication of the book and the depth and intensity was a casualty of the war.
The characters were, well, I am divided with my feelings in this category. Julia in the beginning was very likable and believable. I just felt that she accepted too easily that tall, dark, and brooding stranger in her new life. And Cayne’s character wasn’t believable to me either. It isn’t that the characters’ history isn’t believable; their connection, the relationship between them just wasn’t doing it for me.
Well, maybe if you take into consideration that they have both been in a very high stress and emotional event which can and often does bring together people in unique ways psychologically…but I don’t believe that is what the author was going for here. So, um, no…not doing it for me.
And if I couldn’t say anything more against the book…the ending…hello? WHAT! No! You do not do that to a reader. I am totally all for the books that stop somewhere and force the reader to beg the author, will even give their left (or right) kidney for the next book. This book however, the ending wasn’t just dropped of a cliff…it’s throat was twisted and dead in less than a millisecond! I didn’t blink and it was…done. And I’m left….blinking and wondering if my ebook was cut off and I didn’t get the remaining page or pages. But no…the author could have done a way better job at closing this book and still raising many tension mounting reasons to propel me into reading the next book in the series. At this point I won’t be reading anything more of this series. No thanks. Loved Julia, the Seer and her son could be their own story (oh please write that!) but either rewrite this and don’t jip me of the true story it could be and would be if the effort was put into it.