Book Review: Captivate

Captivate (Submerged Sun #1)
Published By: Harlequin Teen Australia
Publication Date: January 1, 2014
Page Count: 294
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher via NetGalley
Audience: Young Adult - Fantasy, Mermaids

I wanted to get my hands on Captivate as soon as I saw the amazing cover. Isn’t it just gorgeous? I had to wait a few weeks past publication, unfortunately, but it was definitely worth the wait. I was a little unsure at first, because I thought it was about mermaids, but let me assure you, these characters are all too human.

Miranda and her older sister, Lauren, haven’t really spoken since their parents died almost a year ago. Both are carrying guilt over the events that led to their parents’ death, but they’re unable to open up to each other. Their grandparents drag them to their holiday shack on Bob’s Bay, in Western Australia in an effort to force them to communicate with each other and rekindle their old relationship. 

Just as Miranda, out for a midnight swim, decides to tell Lauren what happened, she is grabbed and dragged under the water. The next thing she knows, she’s in a room made of stone and without any windows. She discovers that she has been kidnapped and transported to an underwater kingdom in order to marry the king, Marko, and secure his crown. But Marko declares Miranda not his type, and she is definitely not interested in getting married at 17, especially to the man who had her kidnapped.

However, Marin, Marko’s kingdom *is* captivating and alluring, and she finds herself growing increasingly attached to him and his underwater city. At the same time, she’s spending more and more time with Robbie, Marko’s personal guard and best friend. Robbie was kidnapped too, although he claims not to remember his previous life. Miranda tries to convince Robbie to help her escape, while also trying to convince Marko she’s madly in love with him and he can trust her. Marko needs her help in Marin, but her grandparents and sister have already lost so much. Can she leave them behind?

Who Miranda’s heart ultimately belongs to and whether she stays or goes you will have to read to find out for yourself, but the world Vanessa Garden creates is magical. This is not simply a romantic story, Marin is in a state of political turmoil and Miranda finds herself in some perilous situations, as do Marko and Robbie. The action sequences will keep you turning pages eagerly in order to find out who survives.

Miranda is a great female lead. She could have just sat in her room and cried, but she did everything she could to manipulate the situation to her favour. Marko and Robbie are both completely swoon worthy and I still can’t decide which one I like more. She's also aware that her affection for these boys might just be a case of Stockholm syndrome, and I really liked that she didn't blindly accept her own feelings.

Plus, any book that uses the phrase "stunned mullet" is definitely a winner.

I do have one little niggle though – Marko goes from disliking Miranda and not finding her attractive to declaring his love for her after only a couple of weeks. Where does this come from? It wasn’t enough to diminish my enjoyment of the book, but it did make me think, "What? Where did that come from?".

Over all, this is an incredibly enjoyable read with an ending that will leave you shouting, “No! I need more!!”

Can’t wait for #2!

In a glittering underwater world, nothing is as it seems...

For the past twelve months since her parents’ death, seventeen-year-old Miranda Sun has harboured a dark secret — a secret that has strained the close relationship she once shared with her older sister, Lauren. In an effort to repair this broken bond, Miranda’s grandparents whisk the siblings away on a secluded beach holiday. Except before Miranda gets a chance to confess her life-changing secret, she’s dragged underwater by a mysterious stranger while taking a midnight swim.

Awakening days later, Miranda discovers that she’s being held captive in a glittering underwater city by an arrogant young man named Marko...the King of this underwater civilisation.

Nineteen-year-old Marko intends to marry Miranda in order to keep his crown from falling into the sinister clutches of his half-brother, Damir. There’s only one problem. Miranda is desperate to return home to right things with her sister and she wants nothing to do with Marko. Trying to secure her freedom, Miranda quickly forms an alliance with Robbie — Marko’s personal guard. However, she soon discovers that even underwater, people are hiding dangerous secrets...


  1. I love mermaid stories, but unfortunately, I haven't come across any good ones-- so might check this out. Although the change of heart from the king might put me off...

    Anyway, great review!


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