Book Review: Exquisite Captive
Published By: Balzer & Bray
Publication Date: October 7, 2014
Page Count: 480
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher via Edelweiss
Audience: Young Adult - Fantasy
Nalia is a powerful jinni and the last of her race. In her world, her race controlled the other jinni races and functioned as royalty. A bloody coup leaves everyone but Nalia dead and she has no choice but to hide on Earth. Nalia is sold into the dark caravan forcing her into slavery on Earth.
The story opens in modern day Los Angeles where Nalia is doing the bidding of Malek, her master. Malek makes his money through corruption and secrets; he forces Nalia to grant wishes for his creepy business associates. Her lifestyle under Malek's control made me sad, but I did admire Nalia's fire. She never stops planning ways to get her freedom. She's also not the sort of girl you want to mess with - she can kick some serious butt.
Nalia's life becomes more complicated when she learns that an assassin from her home world knows she is alive; he is coming the globe to find her. Nalia must put her faith in a former enemy in order to have any chance for survival.
I had high hopes for this one. The jinni aspect provided a fresh element to YA fantasy. I'm sure other novels with these beings exist, but I can't think of one that I have read. I wanted this one to sweep me away, but instead I found myself bogged down in the world building and the tedium of the beginning chapters. I was overwhelmed by the amount of information that was pushed out in the opening chapters. It was difficult to keep track of all the jinni races and their forms of magic. There is a handy definition of sorts in the beginning, but it's annoying to go back and forth when reading on the Kindle. I also felt like the information about Nalia's home was more telling and less showing.
I feel like this will be one of those novels that readers struggle with or absolutely love. There was nothing wrong with the writing and the characters were well developed, but this novel just didn't speak to me. I applaud the creativity of Demetrios. I just wish that I had been able to get into this one more. I would still recommend it to those who enjoy fantasy and want to experience an inventive jinni world with diverse characters.
One Last Gripe: I was slightly annoyed by the shift in perspective. The villain's sections distracted me from Nalia's story.
Favorite Thing About This Book: I liked that Demetrios focused on jinni.
First Sentence: He'd buried her alive.
Favorite Character: Nalia
Least Favorite Character: The Ghoul
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.