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Blackouts have always been Melissa’s problem, but now she has a new one. People are missing, and she isn’t entirely convinced she’s not responsible.

1 review for Stained

  1. Erica Freeman

    Kayla Krants is definitely an expert in the construction of short stories, which are fast-paced with well thought out characters and a sense of intrigue, which leaves you wanting more of that world.

    Stained is no exception as it hooks you from the very beginning where within just a few lines we come to care about our protagonist Melissa as she tells us about her nightmare and then the reality of a missing girl next door. We sympathise with her as she desperately reaches out to her absent parents only to be rejected, we learn from her once again by her mom, and only curt conversation from her father.

    Melissa instantly paints herself as the victim in the breakdown of the relationship between herself and her mother telling us she has no idea what she ever did to her but that her mother has always been cold and distance, often making her feel as if she wasn’t even her child. Her father tries to placate her, saying her mother just needs time, leaving us questioning from what, all we know is there was an ‘incident’ of some sort between mother and daughter that has left the mother unable to be alone with her daughter, she won’t even speak to her on the phone. We are given the sense that this is a very broken family.

    Melissa tells us she was only a kid and that she was sleepwalking. This sounds harmless enough, but then she asks, “Why can’t she just forgive me!?’ Aside from the horrific dreams she has, this is the first sense we are given that all isn’t as it seems with Melissa. What did she do that she would want her mom to forgive her for it? also, if she has no idea what the ‘incidental’ is, why does she want forgiveness for it? There is a definite sense of resentment from Melissa towards her mother for how she’s made her feel since the ‘incident’ or possibly even before that.

    As the story progresses at an unrelenting pace we are made to wonder more and more if there isn’t something darker to Melissa, the way she chooses to relay certain details feels slightly off and the narrative is skewed in her favour when perhaps there is more to it than we see.

    Jessie Caruso gives a brilliant performance in the reading of this book, lending a very human aspect to the character of Melissa, even as she gives us hints at the possibility of darker intents.

    I was given this audiobook for free and have left this review voluntarily.

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