Monday, January 26, 2015

Review: Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios

Title: Exquisite Captive (Dark Caravan Cycle #1)
Author: Heather Demetrios
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal (Portal) Fantasy
Source: Balzer + Bray via Edelweiss

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.
Review by Nara

When a book about an unconventional creature is released (here: genies/jinnies), you know I'm going to jump on it as soon as possible. There's something about interesting creatures that really captures my attention- maybe the fact that it's a fresh idea, maybe the fact that I just like them better than the conventional vampire or angel. In any case, Exquisite Captive turned out to be quite a good read, with an unorthodox romance and an exciting plot.

That being said, I can definitely understand why some people might dislike it- especially because there's this weird love triangle where one side of the triangle is an abusive, terrible relationship. While initially, you're not too sure whether this side is viable, I'm going to tell you now in case you're worried: this relationship is not romanticised. She hates it, you hate it, everyone hates it.

Exquisite Captive is also quite a long book, but I feel that it's not too long. You're always caught by some mystery or another, so you don't get bored (although the first section is perhaps a little bit slow), and there's no lack of action and magic. I do have to admit, I was expecting a high fantasy, and was pretty surprised when the book turned out to be more of a paranormal/portal fantasy. Not that this was a bad thing- now there are two worlds for the author and characters to move through.

I'm quite looking forward to seeing where Demetrios will be taking the characters next, and I recommend this book for a fresh take on the paranormal genre.

Really liked it

Overall: 7/10
Plot: 4/5
Romance: 3/5
Writing: 3.5/5
World Building: 2.5/5
Characters: 4/5
Cover: 2/5