Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios is a thrilling and sensuous fantasy about a jinni named Nalia who has been sold into slavery. The story rapidly captivates the audience and keeps a steady yet fast pace throughout the novel. Fans of myths, fantasy, and magic will adore this new series that has a modern twist!
Demetrios is an excellent creator of worlds and is very unique, using imagery to create a glorious yet chilling setting. The main protagonist and heroine is Nalia, the only surviving Ghan Aisouri, and the rightful heir to the Arjinni throne. Nalia was the only survivor of a deadly attack that killed nearly everyone she loved, except her young brother who is in a work camp, held captive by the Ifrits. She would do anything to try and save him, but she was sold into slavery to a gorgeous, never aging, and most of all vicious master Malek. Raif, the mysterious leader of the Arjinni revolution and Nalia’s sworn enemy, has a way to rescue her. But in order for his unbinding magic to work, Nalia has to gain ownership of her bottle and prevent herself from getting trapped inside it.
I do have to say that Malek was my favorite character. He had a well lit backstory that allowed me to better understand where he came from and pity his circumstances. Of course, that did not excuse his vicious behavior and enslavement of multiple jinnis just to prove his worth.
The book was fascinating and hard to put down; it did, however, have some problems. The setting of the love triangle created confusion and much angst in the plot that wasn’t necessary. One love was also abusive and the other an “insta-love” that emerged out of nowhere. Materialism played a big role in this book, which did irk me. Finally, there was Nalia. I couldn’t really connect with her character, and she repeatedly made bad decisions that she never seemed to learn from. She came off as irresponsible and was very slow to become the protagonist, while doing really nothing in the book except appearing to be “all powerful”.
Overall, Exquisite Captive was an intriguing and interesting read and provided a great world to escape to. It did have some issues but those could be mostly overlooked. I am excited to read the second book in The Dark Caravan series, and hope that Nalia’s character becomes better rounded and more relatable.
Jamie lives in the suburbs of the twin cities, working 8 to 5 and saving for college. She’s an aspiring writer and editor.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Balzer + Bray. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.