Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Stained by Ella James

   Normal?  Never.  Freak?  Oh yeah.  Alone?  Almost always....

  Yes that was a good summing up of Julia's life.  Her parents had died before she could even remember them.  Then she had been shifted around in foster care.  But she was different than other kids.  She had a gift that tended to freak most normal people out.  She could see people's auras.  Julia could tell what mood they were in, if they were lying, and if they were hurt.  She could see injuries and could heal them as well.  The power Julia had was not something she really understood.  In her early teen years she was adopted by Suzanne and Harry and they were good to her.  They bought Julia nice things and lived in a nice, safe house. There were no other children to torment her, unlike previous experience.  She became close to her new
   Four years later Julia sneaks out of the house to help some friends with their homework.  On her way back she begins to smell smoke.  By the time she reaches her block she has realized that it's her house on fire!  As she is watching her house burn she sees something that looks like the angel of death to her.  "Huge, dark wings, pasted onto a monstrous creature with glowing coals for eyes and an eerie-low, chuckling laugh.  The Angel of Death..."  In an instant the creature is gone and so are her parents.  Instead of going back into foster care, Julia makes a run for it and ends up all the way from Overton to the muddy Mississippi River and takes up a temporary residence in an abandoned warehouse.  Still in shock from all that happened, Julia sleeps a lot while at the dirty, grimy warehouse, and she steals necessities, like food and drinks, to get her by.
   The third night a fight ensues above Julia in the warehouse.  The fight is so intense the floor falls through the upper story down to where Julia is.  A very hot guy named Cayne is laying at her feet injured.  She heals him only to find out that he had been fighting Samyaza, the half-demon that killed her parents.  Samyaza is the king of the Nephilim, the half-demons.  She quickly agrees to help Cayne draw out this monster so that they can kill him.  For quite some time the two of them try to draw him out only to find out that Samyaza had moved on elsewhere.  Cayne and Julia decide to track him down.  And during their tracking, they become closer to each other.  Cayne wants to protect Julia, but he also wants to know more about her and why Samyaza wants her dead.  Their findings along the way are somewhat gruesome.  Samyaza leaves a path of destruction and death.  All of the people he is killing has the same mark as Julia has.  It is the mark of the Stained.  They are a special group of people that have certain talents, such as healing, like Julia.  Cayne, however, is not one of them.  He turns out to be a Nephilim as well.  During a fight three years ago with Samyaza, Cayne hit his head and lost his memories.  When they finally return, they are very painful and full of death.  During their trek across the country to find this half-demon king, Cayne and Julia are captured by other Stained ones and Cayne is to be put on trial.

   Ella James told a very captivating story of two young adults on their way to finding out who they really are.  Julia has no idea about her family history or why she has the power she has.  And most  of her power still lies dormant within her.  Cayne doesn't remember who he is.  And when he does, it's almost too much.  His memories and past threaten to keep he and Julia separated.  Keeping her at arms length would be keeping her safe.  After all, Cayne was not a good person.  He was half-demon.
   Cayne and Julia are two very lonely people who have had more than an unfortunate past.  They have much in common.  They both have lost people they loved to Samyaza.  Both are different than the others around them so acceptance is almost impossible.  And neither know where they belong in the world.  For them to find each other and become romantically involved is a very satisfying part of this book.  They are no longer alone in the world no matter how difficult it is for them to see that they are better off together.  Even if it is hinted at that this is a forbidden love.
   The story unfolds in such a way as to not give away too much.  In fact, there are many questions left unanswered.  You don't find out a lot about who the Stained really are or why they want to get Julia back so bad.  Why is she so special?  We are virtually clueless about her parents, although we can rightly claim that they were most likely Stained ones as well.  Why is Samyaza going around killing everyone with the mark of the Stained?  We see a little of Cayne's history.  But there is still much to be seen in that area as well.  It leaves just enough curiosity to make you want to read the next book immediately!

                                          For more information on Ella James visit her blog at:

*quotes via Ella James (Stained Book 1)
*image via Ella James (Amazon)

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