I have reviewed Shadow-Stained by Rachel Hobbs for Reedsy Discovery.
For demon lord Drayvex, the powerful stone on the necklace of Ruby was the only attraction. Yet, even after getting the stone, he could not deny an invisible force demanding his attention toward Ruby. She lingered on his thoughts like a plague that would just not let go. He hunted humans, killed them, and devoured them. Even the idea of having any other emotion for them was disturbing to him. Since his absence from his planet, other demons began defying his direct orders.
In fact, some of the lowest degree demons had started attacking Ruby. For some unknown reason, he could not let anybody hurt Ruby. She, on the other hand, was attracted to Drayvex like a moth to a flame. Nevertheless, something inside of her screamed at her to hide whenever he was in close proximity. In a sense, Netflix sensation Lucifer meets Hollywood movie Twilight in Shadow-Stained by Rachel Hobbs.
Snatching him from the floor, Drayvex sunk his fangs into the neck and ripped. Torrents of blood spurted from his jugular, painting the ground…….
Yes, he was the better predator. Better in on ever level. And if there was one sure way to get yourself killed, it was to steal from those far, far above you.An excerpt from Shadow-Stained by Rachel Hobbs
Rachel Hobbs has woven an astounding tapestry of conflicting emotions in Shadow-Stained. Drayvex is at a tug of war between an incomprehensible pull toward Ruby and his true nature. He is a formidable character, whose confidence, wit and cruelty grab the undivided attention of the audience. Although the readers are aware of his contradictory feelings for Ruby, trusting his intentions remains almost impossible. On the one hand, Drayvex reflects,
“If you treated a pawn like a queen for long enough, the lies would eventually start to stick. She was a pawn.”An excerpt from Shadow-Stained by Rachel Hobbs
And yet, on the other hand, he contemplated many times,
Why in Hell’s name was he still protecting her?An excerpt from Shadow-Stained by Rachel Hobbs
In my viewpoint, Rachel Hobbs strokes just the right chords, which creates a strong bond of understanding between readers and the characters. Demon Lord was bound to be powerful, yet Ruby wasn’t created to succumb to his will like a dimwit. Keeping her feelings aside, she brainstormed to find the truth hidden behind Drayvex’s mesmerizing calm eyes.
Drayvex slipped through the recesses of the old theatre, his gaze fixed on the cluster of humans below. They were arguing amongst themselves, oblivious to the danger they were in. Creating enemies with their own twisted minds.
He smiled, running his tongue along sharpened fangs. Humans were so easily corrupted. They may as well have big red X’s on their backs.An excerpt from Shadow-Stained by Rachel Hobbs
Shadow-Stained by Rachel Hobbs does not try to humanize a demon. The beauty of the plot is the very fact that Drayvex remained a demon in his actions and thoughts. He massacred brutally and punished demons mercilessly. His protective instincts for Ruby did not change his personality. That’s where Shadow-Stained both surprised and captivated me. Packed with spine-chilling action, compelling conspiracy, and startling twists, Shadow-Stained by Rachel Hobbs is undoubtedly the best dark fantasy I have read so far. I highly recommend it.