Thursday, 7 January 2016

An interesting premise ruined by a useless love triangle and abusive love interest | Exquisite Captive

Exquisite Captive (Dark Caravan Cycle #1) by Heather Demetrios

Genre: YA fantasy
Published: October 7th 2014 by Balzer + Bray

Goodreads summary: 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 dangerous than ever for Nalia. There's just one catch: for Raif's unbinding magic to work, Nalia must gain possession of the bottle...and convince Malek that she truly loves him.

Battling a dark past and harboring a terrible secret, Nalia must make choices that betray everything she believes in and choose between the jinni who has unexpectedly stolen her heart and the dangerously persuasive master who wants to own it. Soon Nalia realizes her freedom may come at a price too terrible to pay; but how far is she willing to go for it?

In this gorgeous fantasy debut, Heather Demetrios brings to life a deliciously seductive world where a wish can be a curse and shadows are sometimes safer than the light.


The world we were introduced to was so unique and interesting, I really enjoyed it. But at the same time, I didn't like the way the author presented it, because we knew nothing and then boom someone told something really important... If I hadn't been that careful in the beginning, I would have missed vital information to this story. Then, in the middle of some chapters, we'd got an full history lesson or a flashback and it felt unnecessary and info-dumpey *sigh* The jinni's world was very interesting though, I loved learning about it, the hierarchy and the different types of jinnis.

The plot was really interesting and could make me want to continue with this series, but I don't think I will. In the beginning, it was so slow because we mainly saw Nalia's life with shopping, parties and so on but it wasn't what interested me. Same for Haran's chapters, it was creepy and interesting at first but it quickly became boring!

Nalia was an interesting main character, but she complained a lot and looked powerless sometimes, when she was supposed to be one of the most powerful jinnis. It was pretty weird. It was interesting seeing her using her power, like with the client in the beginning (that's the powerful and strong woman I waited for the whole book). I understood why she needed to fight, it was a cute reason, but it didn't explain why she planned on selling her body. No, just no. I'm so mad that it was the only solution and that Leilan, her friend, almost found it... Normal. Yep, because she went there too. Okay, I understand the slave situation and that sometimes you don't have a choice but here... She had a choice and choose to do this???

That's exactly it, Nalia.

Malek was the worst character of all times (my rant is starting). He was Nalia's master that bought her decades ago and sometimes he was basically torturing her. Like, he was locking her in the bottle and didn't let her out for MONTHS (now that I'm thinking about it, I don't think we got to see what the inside of the bottle looked like... Or was it in the part I skipped?). He was an abusive master that hit her sometimes and then... He totally changes his behaviour and decides he's madly in love with Nalia.

"When you came here, you were wild, a feral little thing. But I saw your potential-like a stallion that needed to be broken. I knew how great we'd be together: you just hadn't seen that yet."

Reading this makes me want to throw up guys, I can't believe it! It's kind of incoherent by the way, because at the end of the novel he says he realized he loved her six months ago, but I'm just saying, right? I can't believe Nalia let him touch her and everything. I know she was mostly letting him to get the bottle back but at some point... She was enjoying being with him. I understand Stockholm syndrom but still... This relationship wasn't really questionned, it was almost presented as a healthy relationship... The author wrote some scenes were you could feel the lust everywhere, to make him sexy and everything. How can anyone want a man like that???? I'm stopping there for Malek but I've never hated a male character more than I hate him.

 But this book actually has a love triangle, because obviously you always need one! Raif was fine as a character, a revolutionary and everything... But I'd have liked see him fighting a lot more than this... Their romance was totally instalove-y... At the end I bought it a little more, except when he said that he loved her, because it was unrealistic. It was lust everywhere, not feelings... At all... Please no.

The problem is that this book focused a lot on the romance, the plot moved at a snail's pace... I was in the middle of the book and I wondered what the author still had to say... It could have been shorter, the world-building could have been better, and skip the romance because seriously? If it wasn't for the romance, it would have been 3 stars and I would have continue with the series, because it seemed promising and had a unique world I loved to read about, nevertheless.

Have you read this book? What did you think of the romance? Of Malek? Will you read the second book?


  1. My thoughts exactly Lucie. I loved the concept, but the love triangle was definitely a bit of a letdown. :( Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! ♥

    1. Yes, I totally understand. I should try to read more books about jinnis, it could be really interesting and different from our usual "paranormal creatures"! Thank you! ♥

  2. Oh boo! I'm sorry that this one didn't wind up working for you, though I can totally understand why it didn't. I do love the jinni lore though, and definitely would read more books inspired by that :)

    1. I actually forced myself to continue because of the jinnis, but sadly it didn't work. Yes, jinnis are really interesting, I can't wait to read The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury, which deals with that :)