All that magic trapped... Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios (Review)

Exquisite Captive (Dark Caravan Cycle, #1)Exquisite Captive
(Dark Caravan Cycle #1)
by Heather Demetrios
YA Urban Fantasy
Hardcover, Paperback & ebook, 480 Pages
October 7th 2014 by Balzer + Bray

Summary

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.

   
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My Review

EXQUISITE CAPTIVE describes Nalia, who is an enslaved powerful jinni on earth, perfectly. She's beautiful, exotic, magical, and feisty. She would give just about anything to be free and save her brother, who is a slave in her homeland. She has a dark past and present. She meets someone who she hopes will be able to help change that. The characters were all well done and played their roles well, both villains and heroes. There were meaningful glances and touches, as well as a dangerous plight with Nalia's enslavement and her people's war that evoked emotions. The story had an overall dark and sensuous feel. An intriguing beginning to this series of half reality, half fantasy.

What I liked:
- I loved the whole premise behind the story and the overall setting.
- I loved how there were various magical powers and sources and learning how the jinni used them.
- I really liked the characters, well, at least Nalia, Raif, and Raif's sister. I would have liked a little more complexity/depth, but they were all still really good characters.
- The villains were really strong in the story. Malek was especially well done. The author did great in conveying his moods and his character without telling the reader.
- I loved that I never felt like the overall plot or the main characters' emotions had to be told to me - I experienced them with the characters.

What I had issues with:
- Parts of the story dragged for me. There were a few places where nothing was really happening per se and Nalia was just frustrated.
- I'm not completely sold on how the author introduced the parts where Nalia is being hunted. It was so different than the rest of the story and it made things a little disjointed. I also didn't like that those being hunted didn't catch on and were so easily fooled, especially by the hunter's speech.
- The violent aspects were rather descriptive and disturbing. Well done, but not for me.
- Some of the sensual/innuendo/sexual content was a little too much for me as well.

The story felt more like an adult novel than a YA one. I do like stories about genies, in this case, jinnies. I also thought the approach was creative and I'm curious what will happen next. I think there is also quite a bit of potential here.

Content: Some fairly descriptive violence, a few swear words (include a few f-words) and some innuendo/suggestive content (including gay).

Source: Received an eARC through Edelweiss, which did not affect my review in any way.

I'm a tour stop for book two, Blood Passage, today as well here. Have you read any books with genies? Do you have a favorite?

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