I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios
Series: Dark Caravan Cycle #1
Published by Balzer & Bray on October 7th 2014
Genres: Fantasy & Magic
Source: the Publisher
Forced to obey her master.
Compelled to help her enemy.
Determined to free herself.
Nalia is a jinni of tremendous ancient power, the only survivor of a coup that killed nearly everyone she loved. Stuffed into a bottle and sold by a slave trader, she’s now in hiding on the dark caravan, the lucrative jinni slave trade between Arjinna and Earth, where jinn are forced to grant wishes and obey their human masters’ every command. She’d give almost anything to be free of the golden shackles that bind her to Malek, her handsome, cruel master, and his lavish Hollywood lifestyle.
Enter Raif, the enigmatic leader of Arjinna’s revolution and Nalia’s sworn enemy. He promises to free Nalia from her master so that she can return to her ravaged homeland and free her imprisoned brother—all for an unbearably high price. Nalia’s not sure she can trust him, but Raif’s her only hope of escape. With her enemies on the hunt, Earth has become more perilous than ever for Nalia. There’s just one catch: for Raif’s unbinding magic to work, Nalia must gain possession of her bottle…and convince the dangerously persuasive Malek that she truly loves him. Battling a dark past and harboring a terrible secret, Nalia soon realizes her freedom may come at a price too terrible to pay: but how far is she willing to go for it?
Inspired by Arabian Nights, EXQUISITE CAPTIVE brings to life a deliciously seductive world where a wish can be a curse and shadows are sometimes safer than the light.
The reason that I am reviewing this book so late after its release is partly because of lack of time, but mainly because my expectations were extremely low as a result of all the negative reviews. While I was really excited to read Exquisite Captive at first, I heard such negative things about it, and there were so many negative reviews, that I had a hard time picking up the book. When I did pick it up a few days ago, my expectation where so low that I honestly thought I would end up disliking it as much as others had. Surprisingly enough I found that I quite enjoyed reading the book. Maybe the low expectations were a good thing in that way, because I was pleasantly surprised.
The world crafted was extremely original and creative. I love the jinni’s! and I seriously wonder why there aren’t more books about them. The world surrounding them, the castes, the magic, it was all described so vividly. The world-building is top notch; the history, customs, and the vivid picture-like descriptions of the land and magic; it’s incredibly hard not to fall in love with it all. The world draws you in.
Nalia was a good character. I felt for and with her. I admired her strength and resolve to keep going. The confusion and guilt that plagues her throughout the story are described are as vivid as the rest of the story is. At times I had some trouble connecting, but that didn’t keep me from appreciating her character. She is ferocious, and strong, and I admire her the more for it (especially with all that is happening in her life).
As for the love-interest… Now we’re getting to the tricky part. This is the part that I heard some really bad things about. Slight understatement there, this is the aspect that I heard, and read, terrible things about it. There was a love triangle, yes, but it was not the worst one. It actually fit the story. Nalia was incredibly confused View Spoiler » and abused by Malek for about three years « Hide Spoiler and her feelings all over the place. Still, Malek was a horrible guy. Honestly, the guy gave me the creeps, but he shows this softer side every now and then. Hell, his mood swings would have confused me as well (another understatement). And when the romance occurred, it was pretty well-written!
The *drumroll* there is Raif. Now him, him, I have zero trouble with! He is the leader of the rebellion and has a serious dislike (another understatement) for Nalia’s caste. Since she has the knowledge to help his cause to fight the Ifrit, he helps her. Needles to say, Nalia and Raif have the whole love-hate-thing going down perfectly. They had some serious chemistry though, it was a slow-burner and I just loved how everything unfolded.
So yeah, this all sounds pretty positive right? So, what’s up with that 3,5 star rating huh? Well, let me get to that part. While I really enjoyed the story, it unfolded quite slowly. There were moments that I couldn’t stop reading, and moments that things went so slow that I got distracted really easily. It’s a big and lengthy book, and those scenes were a bit hard to ‘battle’ through. Also, at the beginning, there’s a slight case of a little too much information at once, especially regarding the castes. I found myself flipping back pages once or twice while reading.
I really think you either like Exquisite Captive or you really don’t. If you can look past Malek, because from what I’ve read most people fall over his character and the romance between Nalia and Malek, this might be a story you’ll really like. I loved the world building and just the jinni’s in general. I’ve never read a book about jinni’s before, but I think Demetrios did a pretty great job, because her story is so incredibly original and creative. All and all, Exquisite Captive turned out to be an enjoyable read (against expectations).