Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Supernatural, Mythology Publication.Date October 7th 2014 Pages: 480 Published By: Balzer + Bray Author Heather Demetrios Exquisite Captive on Goodreads My review copy: Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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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.
“She is a slave, with no way home.”
Sadly, this was a DNF at 26%, so at around 120 pages.
I rarely give up this early but this really wasn't a book for me. It was exotic and the mythology was very unique and fresh, but everything was just so convoluted, I didn't know who was who. The writing felt choppy and there was too much world building. The plot line essentially got buried under the world set-up. Plus, I just really disliked all the characters, with Nalia and Malek in the lead.
I think this is the kind of book that readers will either love or hate - and the Goodreads ratings reflect that perfectly. So far, I've seen both rave 5-star reviews and a whole bunch of DNFs and 1-star ratings. So the fact that I didn't enjoy it, shouldn't stop you from giving it a try. I definitely think the premise is gorgeous, intriguing and very original and I was fascinated by this world filled with magic and genies. I just didn't like how all the world-building and historical and mythological background was all crammed into the first 1/4th of the book preventing me from getting immersed in the story.
I know a big reason why so many people didn't like this book is the abusive relationship in it. I didn't get as far as to experience a whole lot of it, but I definitely felt something was off when reading about Nalia and Malek. Their interactions were.. well, not exactly pleasant. Nalia is Malek's magical slave, kept at a short leash and forced to grant his wishes. There's a lot of hatred and anger between these two, and yet there's also an unhealthy attraction. I can see how this could be disturbing to some, though having only read 120 pages, I don't know what happens between these two later.
Overall, I'm not saying Exquisite Captive is a horrible book you should avoid, not at all. The author is a wonderful and kind person and many people seem to have absolutely loved Nalia's story. And just because I didn't fell in love with it, doesn't necessary mean you won't either.
I give it 2 stars for creativity and promising concept.