Review of Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios

Exquisite Captive (Dark Caravan Cycle #1)Exquisite Captive
By: Heather Demetrios
Release Date: October 7th 2014
Publisher: Balzer+Bray
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:

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?

My Thoughts:
I was excited to read Exquisite Captive because I love the new trend of jinn in young adult fiction. I had pretty high expectations for this book and it provided a good read but wasn’t 100% there for me. Something always felt missing, like it was just inches away from being amazing.

The story itself was pretty slow to start focusing a lot of attention telling the reader about the history of the jinn up to this point and Nalia’s personal journey to becoming Malek’s slave. I wish we could have learned more about the jinn world that Nalia had grown up in since for the most part it felt like information given rather than really expressed emotionally. I wanted to feel immersed but did not. I hope that as the series progresses we get to experience more of jinn world because Demetrios has really created compelling jinn mythology.

Nalia’s present story takes place in Hollywood and under Malek’s control. Unfortunately, I never connected very deeply to Nalia. I wanted to be invested in her personal journey but it didn’t happen. I think because of this I was disconnected to a good amount of this book. I could see myself becoming more and more invested in her as the series continues but it fell rather flat for me in this first book. I think the slow beginning had a good amount to do with that.

I thought that Demetrios tried to give Malek a multi-layered personality and history. I wished that the love interest aspect between him and Nalia hadn’t been present or done differently. I think it could have been done successfully and taken away from the love triangle feel. Regardless, Demetrios made it work in the end and built up a history between the two characters that should provide a lot of interesting scenes and interactions in the future.

The other romance, between Nalia and Raif, was incredibly typical for young adult- they meet, bicker and fall in love incredibly fast. I thought that since so much of the emotional appeal of this book relied on the reader feeling the chemistry and love between Nalia and Raif Demetrios should have worked further in giving them scenes together. I felt that their entire relationship was rushed.

Final Thoughts:
Though Exquisite Captive fell short of being an amazing read for me I felt that the building blocks have been put into place for me to enjoy the upcoming books much more. I hope that with the next installment I can connect with the main character.


    • says

      It had potential for sure and I’ve seen others really enjoyed it. I think the romance feeling rushed and some of the characters were my biggest problems. I will want to read the next book so that’s something. I hope you do end up enjoying it!

  1. says

    This is one of the books that I missed from the first of October releases because…time. I’m still hoping to find some for it though because jinns are so rare in YA. I want to see where this takes it. For some reason, the cover always led me to think that this would be set in the desert somewhere so I was surprised when I saw Hollywood. Hmmm…I wonder how that works out. Typical romance with a touch of insta love? =____= Been there, done that. Hmph, at least we get a bit of bickering, right? I’d fall straight asleep if it was just the “saw each other and fell straight in love” type of romance. Those are the worst. Hopefully this one builds up to be a strong series. Fantastic review, Kristen! xx

    • says

      I’m really hopeful that this will get stronger with each additional book. I will read the next book to see. I thought it would be set in the desert too. I was a tad disappointed to be honest. I wanted a more jin like local, haha. If/when you read it I want to hear what you think!

  2. says

    Aw, it sucks when you feel like something is missing in a book 🙁 that is no fun at all. Sigh. But I love your review Kristen. <3 I'm glad you still liked it, and didn't hate it 😀 I do not think it is for me. Not at all. The romance would bother and annoy me so much, lol. But I have seen many love it. 🙂

  3. says

    I liked this one. You’re right about the typical YA romance, but I was able to forgive that since I thought that Nalia had a lot of potential as a character. I also appreciate the mythology. It’s nice to read a book that is based on something other than the Judeo-Christian Angels/Demons or another Anglo-centric mythology.

  4. says

    Heather Demetrios is one of my favorite new authors – I love Something Real and I’ll Meet You There SO much. But I don’t think I can bring myself to start this series, at least not until book 2 is released. The love triangle is really throwing me off. :/ I hate that she put it in there.
    Sorry this didn’t work out more for you – there definitely seems to be a lot of promise, so hopefully the series will get better as it goes along. Great review!

    • says

      I think the triangle will be resolved fairly fast…this was my first Demetrios book! I would def try another of hers. I’m hoping the next book is stronger and I’m able to connect to the characters and that pesky love triangle is done with.

  5. says

    I’m not very keen on the love triangle here, but otherwise I’m extremely intrigued about the world building and the main character, since there are so few jinni books out there!
    Sorry to hear that you didn’t love the book as much as you hoped, Kristen!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *