October 9, 2014

Latest Read: Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios

Exquisite Captive (Dark Caravan Cycle #1) by Heather Demetrios
Publication date: Oct. 7, 2014
Publisher: Balzer+Bray
Category: Young Adult - Paranormal/Fantasy
Source: Received ARC from author in exchange for honest review (Thanks!)
Summary: Nalia is a jinni of tremendous ancient power, the only survivor of a coup that killed nearly everyone she loved. She’s now in hiding on the dark caravan, the jinni slave trade between Arjinna and Earth, where jinn are forced to grant wishes and obey their human masters. She’d give anything to be free of Malek, her handsome, cruel master. Enter Raif, the leader of Arjinna’s revolution and Nalia’s sworn enemy. He promises to free Nalia so that she can return home and free her imprisoned brother—for an unbearably high price. With her enemies on the hunt, Earth has become more perilous than ever for Nalia. There’s one catch: for Raif’s unbinding magic to work, Nalia must gain possession of her bottle and convince Malek 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. (goodreads.com)

The good
Exquisite Captive introduces us to the world of the jinn, better known as genies. I’ve been so excited to read Heather Demetrios’ book! I’ve never read anything that delved into this mythology and she did not disappoint. I think we pretty much all know the standard myth: you get three wishes but you can’t wish for someone to fall in love with you, bring someone back from the dead or ask for more wishes. Demetrios keeps these same rules but as I expected, she weaves in the lesser known mythology (I googled jinni after reading!) and adds her own unique twist. What I didn’t expect was for all this to take place in a contemporary setting. Between this, the mythology and the characters we meet along the way — this was a solid beginning to the Dark Caravan Cycle series and I’m already itching to see where she takes it next.

The story is told mainly from Nalia’s eyes, who is an immensely powerful jinni and the only survivor of a specific jinni caste that was wiped out ages ago. No one knows she’s still alive and she means to keep it that way. She was sold into the dark caravan, which is a slave trade between Arjinna (where the jinn reside) and Earth, and these jinn are then forced to grant the wishes and obey the commands of their human masters. Nalia’s master is Malek, a powerful and rich businessman who is also abusive and believes himself to be in love with Nalia. Can you say deadly combo? He simultaneously threatens Nalia with trapping her in a bottle for her insolence and yet spoils her with presents to win her affection. It’s a complicated and very thin line that Nalia has to tread because she does want her freedom but at what cost? I could feel every bit of Nalia’s turmoil, frustration and entrapment through the author’s words and I wanted so badly for her to find her freedom.

And that chance for freedom comes in the form of Raif, the leader of Arjinna’s revolution who once opposed Nalia’s jinn caste fiercely. They immediately clash but because they need each other, they are forced to call a truce. And more importantly, they get to know another beyond what they’ve heard. Nalia is compassionate, rebellious and more than anything wants to free her little brother who’s been imprisoned. On the other hand, Raif, beyond his first impression, is actually kind, slightly overwhelmed by the pressure of his leadership, strong and passionate. He truly wants to help the jinn find freedom and equality. Together I think they made a formidable force but it’s hard to tell yet where this series will take them. I sense tumultuous roads ahead!

(Super minor) reservations
I think it’s pretty easy to foresee a potential love triangle given the two men in Nalia’s life and I kind of wish it hadn’t gone there? I think all readers will swoon over Raif but understanding Malek will be a stretch. At the same time, exploring Malek's past and personality was necessary and ultimately important plus everything (somewhat) resolves itself by the end, which is why I only consider it a very minor reservation.

Do I recommend?
I do! The world-building is so thorough and given how the book ends, I’m curious to see more of the world Demetrios has created and more of their adventures. I definitely recommend!

Collaborative feature with Alexa! 

Based on Arjinnan castes, what kind of jinni would you be?
Even though my first instinct was to say Ghan Aisouri because controlling all four elements would be awesome, I don't know if that's quite me. The Ifrit are definitely out because I am not evil. I can't swim so no Madrid. Me and manual labor would only go so far so that crosses off the Dian. Which leaves the Shaitan and I think it's the right one for me. They're scholars and artists who draw their powers from air and I'd like to think I could fit in with them. 

2 comments:

  1. This is a great review! I am currently reading this one and I love this new world - i've never read anything like it!

    Nicole @ The Quiet Concert

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  2. Honestly, Exquisite Captive was a whole lot darker + more intense than I expected - and that's a good thing! I really liked seeing how Heather made the djinni mythology her own, and cannot wait to see how she's going to continue her series. (Plus, all the djinni castes are really, really interesting!)

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