Welcome to another blog tour posted hosted by the ever fabulous The Write Reads! My tour stop today features a book that is perfect for this time of year. It features demons, an ancient artifact, and perhaps a touch of the end of the world as we know it. It’s a dark fantasy novel that doesn’t hold back on the gore… or the sexual tension: Shadow-Stained by Rachel Hobbs!
Now, before I jump into my stop and my review, I want to say thank you to Dave @ The Write Reads and the author for providing me with a free e-book in exchange for participation with this tour. It is, as always, much appreciated. All views written here are definitely my own!
Now, let’s get to the post.
“For her, it’s her late grandma’s legacy. For him, the mother of all black arts spoils, granting one demon the power of a God. Immortality.
When occult-magnet Ruby falls victim to Demon Lord Drayvex’s viperous allure, she loses a sentient dark relic to his light fingers and appetite for power. Like calls to like. But when Drayvex himself loses the relic to a traitor to the throne, Ruby coerces him – the tyrant king with a soft spot for humanity – into helping her save her pokey old world village from becoming a ground zero of mass demonic carnage.
Both invested in reclaiming the relic, the one thing Ruby and Drayvex agree on is that it’s in the wrong hands. Co-existing in a precarious arrangement between predator and prey, to save the planet they both love for different reasons, they must become a formidable double-team in the face of an apocalyptic takeover. Now, the fate of both human and demon alike rests with a killer that walks between worlds, and a woman with a curse in her bloodline.”
About the Author
Rachel Hobbs lives in soggy South West Wales, where she hibernates with with her bearded dragon and her husband. By day she is a dental nurse at a small local practice. By night, she writes.
Her debut novel SHADOW-STAINED is the first in a dark fantasy series for adults, inspired by her dark and peculiar experiences with narcolepsy and parasomnia. She’s since subjugated her demons, and writes under the tenuous guise that they work for her. Fuelled by an unhealthy amount of coffee, she writes about hard-boiled monsters with soft centres and things that go bump in the night.
If you’re a fantasy reader looking for a dark and gruesome tale to get you in that October mood, then Shadow-Stained might be just the book for you!
The story follows two main characters. Ruby is human and trying to adjust to a new life in the country with her mom. Her life is pretty mundane until a tall, dark, and handsome man walks into it. Drayvex, however, is a little more than he seems. He’s the Demon King of a planet in Hell and, on a trip to Earth, Ruby happens to capture his attention. More to the point, the necklace she wears that she thought was useless junk happens to be a power demon artifact and Drayvex will possess it at any cost. But when the plan goes awry, the human and the Demon King might have to work together to get what they both want.
This was certainly a thrilling read! Fair warning, if you don’t like a lot of gore in your fantasy, you might want to give this one a miss. The author certainly doesn’t spare the details, but, when you’re dealing with demons, that does seem fitting. The action in this story had to be some of my favorite parts. It was tense and exciting and kept me on the edge on my seat! I will say that there were some pacing issues. Though I got through this book fairly quickly, there were moments that felt like they were dragging and the plot was barely moving forward. Then it would be followed by stretches where everything was happening all at once! I still enjoyed the ride, even if it was a bit choppy.
I think part of what made some sections seem slower was that this book is told from both Ruby and Drayvex’s perspectives and I enjoyed one way more than I did the other. I mean… Drayvex’s sections had most of the otherworldly stuff in it, so it makes sense that my little fantasy heart was drawn to them more. But I honestly enjoyed him more as a character than I did Ruby. Don’t get me wrong, Ruby is interesting and I did a little cheer when she finally started to develop a backbone, but she fell a little flat when compared to our Demon King. That could also be my love of a sarcastic character talking, too. Still, our main characters are certainly compelling and the chemistry between the two of them? Just… *chef’s kiss*
I also enjoyed the world-building in this book! The demon world is wonderfully imagined, with it’s complex ruling class and the beautiful descriptions of Drayvex’s home planet. I loved the bits of lore we got and learning about this completely alien world. The only thing is that I wanted more! I wanted to know more about the demon hunters. I wanted to know more about Drayvex’s old enemies and his grudge against a “the one who got away”. Hell, I wanted to know more about Ruby’s grandma and how she came to possess such a powerful artifact! There were so many interesting tidbits that we only get a peek of that I wish had been fleshed out more. Of course, this is only the first book in a series, so there’s always the potential that we’ll get more information in subsequent books. That’s enough to make me want to read more!
Final thoughts: This is a quick and gruesome read that is not for those who don’t like vivid, gory descriptions. This dark fantasy tale completely wrapped me up in the story of these two unlikely heroes. Though the pacing was a bit choppy and I would have loved a tad more world-building, I still enjoyed my time in this world with Ruby and Drayvex. And the tension between those two was beautifully crafted! If you’re a fan of dark fantasy tales that feature breathtaking action, sarcastic leads, and just a hint of romance, I think you would enjoy Shadow-Stained!