Friday, October 03, 2014 13:13

Review 291. Heather Demetrios – Exquisite captive.

18106985Title: Exquisite Captive.
Author: Heather Demetrios.
Pages: 480.
Published: October 7th by Balzer + Bray.
Sort: Dark Caravan #1.
Source: Edelweiss & Publisher.
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?
Rating:

I was so disappointed by this book. It had all the potential to be a very good story inspired by the Arabian nights. Instead I was thrown into a horrible love-triangle and a confusing world-building that would have been amazing if it was handled with more care.



Nalia is a Jinni slave for Malek, a mysterious human being who doesn’t age. He is mean and has kept her in his presence for the past 3 years, because he manages to manipulate Nalia into granting wishes without sacrificing his third and last wish. He punishes her, because Nalia often attempts to escape from his mistreatment, by putting her back in her bottle. This is a torture method that makes Nalia feel like she is suffocating. Then Raif appears in her life. He is the enigmatic leader of the Arjinna’s revolution against the Ifrit. He needs Nalia’s help to win the war, but there is only one way and it seems impossible: Nalia needs to get her bottle back from Malek.

The Jinni part was amazing, but Heather uses a lot of different terms and throws them easily around in the story. I was sometimes confused what everything meant, but slowly I understood the basics of this world. There is Earth and a place called Arjinna where the Jinni’s come from. Nalia fled from Arjinna after a coup from the evil Ifrits and they killed her kind, the most powerful type of Jinni’s; Ghan Aisouri. She has been hiding her true appearance to look like a lesser Jinni and became part of the Dark Caravan; the slave trade between Arjinna and Earth. Raif is aware of her true identity and he needs one of her secrets for his war against the Ifrit. He and Nalia are sworn enemies and it pains him to ask her for help.

If the information would have been better integrated in the story, it would have been less overwhelming. I must give credits for the originality and I was intrigued by the overall world-building. The Arjinnan castes information page was a nice addition.  This is also one of the few things I liked about this book, because Nalia is thrown into one of the worst love-triangles I’ve seen in a while.

Malek is a cruel guy, but Heather tries to make up for his harsh punishments by giving his behavior an explanation. I wasn’t swayed by that and that made the romance between Nalia and him disgusting. I don't care for abusive guys. I was disappointed by Nalia and how easily she was swayed by his sweet words and kind temper when he wasn’t in one of his moods. In the end she does turn around, but I couldn’t completely believe her words when there were parts like this in the story:

”He pulled her closer, deepening his kiss, and she didn’t realize she was kissing him back – that she was suddenly wanting to kiss him back – until a knock sounded at the door, startling both of them.”

You can’t kiss someone without knowing it and just because someone is a good kisser doesn’t mean you suddenly forgive their abuse.

She is supposed to be this powerful Jinni, but all I could see was a girl that whined too much. I also felt there was too much emphasis on the fact that letting Malek have his way with her was the only answer to get the bottle back.. Nalia had her moments, but I wish I saw more of the strong girl I was expecting. The sudden romance between her and Raif went way too fast. He hates her for most part of the book, but out of nowhere he kisses her and announces that he loves her. I also didn’t care much for him. I found his character a bit dull and shallow.

The ending didn’t blow me away either. Now I think about it, I don't even recall what exactly happened.. This was a story with potential, but it let me down.
author image

Mel@thedailyprophecy

Mel is a microbiology technician who is obsessed with Disney, fairytale retellings and fantasy. If she's not reading or blogging, she's either busy with gaming, hanging out with family or watching a TV show. She loves summer and bright nail polish. One of her dreams is to travel the world. She has found her Prince Charming and they are together for 7+ years.

33 comments:

  1. Is it just me, or do love triangles seem to be on the rise lately? I can't stand whinny heroines, and it's hard to push through a book when you know that the ending doesn't make up for the rest of the story's shortcomings. I appreciate your honest review. Happy Friday!

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    1. I'm not sure what it is, but they stay popular :(

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  2. I'm sorry you didn't like this one more Mel ^^ You know, I was really excited for this one when I first heard about it but as the reviews are coming out my excitement has dwindled down to pretty much nothing. A trusted blogger DNF-ed this one and now that I've read her review and yours, I'm glad I didn't grab this one at BEA this year. I hate abusive love-interests too and it's hard for me to accept that Nalia would forgive or be swayed by her captor at all. I might have checked the book across the room reading that, personally. And the world-building sounds very info-dumpy and that's always a big no-no. I hope your next read is/was much better :)

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    1. It's such a shame! I loved the sound and promise - it could have been so good.

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  3. Ew abuse is NOT attractive. While I like the premise, it looks like most people agree that the execution falls flat.

    I love genies/djinni/jinni, I hope we see more books featuring them!

    Amber Elise @Du Livre

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  4. OH no, an abusive relationship and a whiny protagonist?? Ugh, definitely not for me. Glad I decided to wait for a few reviews before I wasted time reading it. Sorry it was such a disappointment, Mel, but good to know!

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  5. There are three things that seem to NEVER go away in YA no matter how much readers complain about them: love triangles, whiny heroines, and instances of abuse, no matter how severe. You would think that authors would see how annoyed readers get by these things and NEVER include them, but alas. An interesting take on Malek and Nalia's relationship would have been to given her some sort of Stockholm Syndrome, and for him to be less abusive to have ACTUAL redeeming qualities.

    Sorry you didn't enjoy this one, Mel. :( I was tempted to read it but hearing these things makes it less of a priority. It'll likely just piss me off.

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    1. And this book has a lovely combination of them, haha.

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  6. What a bummer that the romance didn't work out. I think I'd have a hard time liking Malek. Sounds like it would've turned out better had the second romance been developed sooner. Sorry to hear this didn't work out for you! Great honest review, Mel! :)

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  7. Oh no! :( Something Real - Heather's other book - was one of my favorite reads of the year so far, so I was really highly anticipating this one. Sorry to hear it was a bit of a letdown and that the world-building and the instalove ruined it for me. I'm definitely still going to read this, but I guess I'll lower my expectations a bit knowing it's not quite as good as Something Real. Thanks for sharing Mel and, as always, BRILLIANT review! <3

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    1. Her writing-style wasn't bad, so at least that's something.. I hope you enjoy it more than I did!

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  8. ohh noooo... an ending you do no remember, confusing world building and a love triangle. You are killing me haha those are huge issues for me so I can see how it disappointed you. I will be pushing this back some or let Nicole read it ;)

    Ashley @ The Quiet Concert

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  9. Ah, that's a shame. This reminds me of The Fire Wish, another Jinni novel that had surprisingly the same issues this one did with the romance and world building. The concept sounds so good but the execution so bad. Plus a whiny protagonist? I'll be skipping this one!

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  10. I so agree with what you've said here, Mel. Especially this bit:

    "You can’t kiss someone without knowing it and just because someone is a good kisser doesn’t mean you suddenly forgive their abuse.!"

    ^ It really irked me and I ended up DNFing the book. Such a shame because like you I actually liked the world the author created, it was unique and interesting.

    Anyway, great review, Mel! x

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  11. In reference to Ashley's comment, "let Nicole read it", I am glad I am her guinea pig! :) But I did just start this one haha I am a little scared because some of the things you didn't like are things I don't think I will like (like whiny Nalia, or the relationship between her and Malek) but I was already ready for this to go either way for me. We shall see!

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    1. This will be interesting. I'm going to keep an eye on your review!

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  12. SIGH. Amazing review Mel. <3 Thank you so so much for being honest. I'm glad I never wanted to read this book. But.. people told me the love triangle wasn't bad. Ugh. Then you say it is horrible. Yeah. Not for me :D Thank you for letting me know, hih. <3 Not a book for me ;p I'm sorry it was so awful.

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    1. Well.. IT IS, haha. I think you would dislike this one very much.

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  13. Yep. I didn't love this one even though I wanted to. I thought it had potential but didn't deliver. I wasn't a fan of the love triangle either. I wonder how the next will be. I might give it a chance to see if it's an improvement. Great review!

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  14. This looks to have everything I don't like to have in a book: abusive relationships, love triangles, whinny main characters, instalove :P The description is interesting and it look like it has potential, but I'll definitely be streering very clear of this book. Thanks for the review Mel!

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    1. Yep, it's pretty much a mix of everything we don't like to see in a book..

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  15. Oh I just hate abusive relationships and bad boys who do that, totally not up my alley at all! It sounds like the Jinni angle could have been interesting but it wasn't explored well enough and ended up being confusing. Great review Melanie, too bad this one didn't work for you.

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  16. Oh dear, abusive relationships are the least sexy. Why on earth would an author choose to have one in their book (in addition to love triangles and instalove, which readers are also always complaining about)? A WORLD OF NO. Sorry this one ended up being such a disappointing read, Mel - I know I would have been disappointed if I had read it too, so I appreciate your honesty here.

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    1. I don't know! Abusive relationships are such a no-go for me.. :(

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  17. I'm still totally into reading this sometime - I don't know about trying to explain away cruelties - I hate when people try to make excuses for the poor behavior of others.

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  18. Aw, I'm sorry you were disappointed with this one! I've been so excited to read it for a while because it sounds so intriguing. I'm pretty tolerant of love triangles, but one guy who is controlling and abusive and another who flip flops? Ehhh, even I probably can't get behind it. AND she's whiny? I'll probably still give this a try, but won't expect much. :) Great review, though, Mel!

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    1. You should, you never know if it's going to work for you!

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  19. This is so disappointing because I LOVE Heather's other two books (both contemporary, so maybe that has something to do with it) and there's zero hints of a love triangle. I know there were other things you didn't love about this book, but that's honestly the first red flag for me. I'm sad she went in that direction. :/ Not sure if I will pick this series up or not. I'll be waiting for the second book, for sure.
    Thanks for your review!

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  20. Such a shame. I am currently reading this and Raif has only just been introduced. I am not looking forward to the love triangle aspect of this. When she started kissing Malek back it really annoyed me. She's supposed to hate this guy, he treats her like rubbish. All the different terms got a little confusing for me too, but I think I'm slowly starting to get used to them. This is also a long book and I am nervous that I am going to end up being really disappointed to.

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  21. Oh, no - this is such a shame, Mel! Thanks for a wonderfully written and honest review, nonetheless. :) After reading and loving Something Real by the same author last month, this quickly captured by attention and was added to my TBR. It's a shame that there's an abusive relationship and a whiny protagonist. I may still have to check this out, but from my library.

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