Title: Exquisite Captive (Dark Caravan Cycle #1)
Author: Heather Demetrios
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Acquired Via: Around the World ARC Tours
Release Date: October 7, 2014
Jinni. Empress. Warrior. Slave.
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 cruel master, and his lavish Hollywood lifestyle.
Enter Raif, the enigmatic leader of Arjinna's revolution and Nalia's sworn enemy. He promises to release 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 keep the dangerously persuasive Malek from trapping her inside it.
Battling a dark past and harboring a terrible secret, Nalia soon realizes her freedom may come at too terrible a cost...
In this gorgeous fantasy, Heather Demetrios brings to life a deliciously seductive world where a wish can be a curse and shadows are sometimes safer than the light.
Please excuse me while I gather my thoughts.
What? I was supposed to do this before writing the review? *sigh* Very well...
Okay, I liked Heather Demetrios' Exquisite Captive a great deal, but I'm really at a loss for words about it. Basically, we have members of a race from another world trapped in ours while their world is at war and being enslaved by the fire jinni. No, it's not like Avatar... Well, maybe it is in that the fire folk are the enemy, but NEVER MIND. Anywho, the book reminded me of a very real problem in America (and the world) right now, which is sexual slavery. Nalia may not have been a sex slave, but she was very much the abused victim of her master who had already suffered a great deal before coming to him.
I had trouble connecting with Nalia at first because she was such a broken character. She's been enslaved by Malek and held under threat of her bottle for around three years. She is forced to grant wishes for Malek's clientele, and she has a pretty large chip on her shoulder. (Not that I can blame her for it.) As I got to know Nalia and her backstory, I started to like her more. And since it's a paranormalish YA novel, you know she had a love interest. Two, if you want to be technical, but I don't consider Malek an option because he abuses his position of power over her in their relationship. I have no fucks to give that he could be affectionate and generous. Raif was an interesting choice to throw at her, but he was not nice to her. Can we please get someone that IS nice in the next book, please?
I wish that I could have seen more of Arjinna in Exquisite Captive. The majority of the book is set on Earth, and I would have loved to read more about Nalia's home. The history and events that I did get to read about it was so, so good. Demetrios has quite a bit of area that she can explore in other works, that's for sure.
I guess I can wrap my scattered thoughts about Exquisite Captive up by saying that I'm glad that it has been written. There isn't nearly enough Middle Eastern mythology-based novels floating around, and this book is a nice representative. I can see teen girls swooning over the romance in Exquisite Captive like they did over the love triangle in Twilight. The book is well worth reading, and I'll step out of the way so you can get to it.
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To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received an advance copy of the book briefly for reviewing purposes through Around the World ARC Tours in exchange for an honest review. The book was likely provided to the tour by the publisher or author, which has in no way affected the outcome of my review. All opinions expressed are rambling, honest, and completely my own.