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I Belong

Early Review: Exquisite Captive by Heater Demetrios

Exquisite CaptiveTitle: Exquisite Captive

Author: Heather Demetrios

Genre: YA Fantasy

Series: Dark Caravan Cycle (Book #1)

Publication Date: October 7, 2014

Format: Hardcover, 480 Pages

ISBN-10: 006231856X (HarperTeen)

ISBN-13: 978-0062318565 (HarperTeen)

Reviewed by: Bridget


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.

Quick & Dirty: Exquisite Captive was seductive, sexy, and chock full of action! I loved every minute of this and would highly recommend it to anyone that loves a good young adult fantasy read! One of my favorite reads of the year!

Opening Sentence: He’d buried her alive.

Excerpt: No

The Review:

Nalia is the last of her kind. She comes from the land of Arjinna where everyone possesses a type of magical power that is linked to the four elements of earth, fire, air and water. The Ghan Aisouri were the leaders in Arjinna because they had the ability to control all four elements. But three years ago all of the Ghan Aisouri were supposedly killed by the Ifrit, evil jinni’s that use their fire power to perform dark magic. Luckily Nalia, the last surviving Ghan Aisouri escaped, but she was captured and sold by a slave trader from the Dark Caravan. Now she lives on earth and is forced to serve the man that purchased her. Malek is wealthy, handsome, and cruel. Nalia would do anything in her power to gain her freedom, and she might finally get her chance.

The Ifrit were not the only enemies of the Ghan Aisouri, there was also a peasant revolution brewing for years before the coup happened. Their current leader is a young man named Raif and he has promised to help Nalia gain her freedom. The price for his help would betray everything Nalia is, but it may be her only choice. Also the dreaded Ifrit have learned that one Ghan Aisouri escaped them and they have sent a very cunning assassin to hunt Nalia down. She is running out of time and the only way she will be able to help the people she loves is to escape her master. But the only way Raif will be able to break the magic binding Nalia to her master is to get her bottle. Nalia will have to convince Malek that she truly loves him and somehow steal the bottle that he always wears around his neck. How far will Nalia be willing to go to gain her freedom?

Nalia is one of those heroines you just can’t help but love. In her life she has done a lot of things she’s not proud of and there are things from her past that continue to fill her with guilt. She is a strong and humble young women that has lost almost everything she has ever cared about, but that hasn’t stopped her from fighting for what she believes to be right. She was smart, funny and beautiful. When faced with an impossible situation she decides to face it instead of running away even though she is scared.  I honestly thought that she was an amazing character and I truly enjoyed being inside her head.

Raif is a gorgeous man that can be extremely infuriating, but he is also has a giant heart. His father was the man that started the peasant revolution and when he was killed a few years ago the leadership fell to Raif. He never feels like he is good enough to lead his people, but he would do anything to protect them, even ask the last Ghan Aisouri for help. Nalia was not at all what he was expecting and the chemistry between them was hot and instant. They drive each other nuts but they can’t fight how they feel about each other. I actually really loved Raif and I thought that he was an extremely swoon worthy guy.

So I know that in many ways Malek is the villain of the story and he has proven time and time again that he is a dangerous evil man. But there were moments when he showed his vulnerable and gentle side and that really won me over. Even though I didn’t want to, I found myself totally falling for him. He has a crazy temper and I realize that throughout the last three years he has really treated Nalia bad but that didn’t stop me from loving him. He had these moments where I felt like I could see a good man underneath all the bad. I feel like there is so much more to him than meets the eye and I honestly can’t wait to get to know more about him.

Just the name Exquisite Captive screams sexy and seductive. Having read the story, I can honestly say that both of these elements are definitely present, but surprisingly there was also tons of action and suspense blended into the story. I will admit at first I was a little lost with all the new terms that were presented. The world that Demetrios created was phenomenal and so captivating. But it is so extensive that at times it did feel slightly overwhelming. Once I figured out what meant what, I just got lost in how wonderful it all was. I can honestly say that this story was amazing and everything about it was perfect. The romance was beautifully done, the characters were very engaging, and the writing was flawless. I can’t express how much I truly enjoyed this book. I don’t know how I am going to wait another year for the next book, it is going to be torture!  Suffice to say, I loved this book and would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a sexy young adult fantasy!

Notable Scene:

Malek brought his lips to her ear, smiling as her heart threw itself against his chest. “I care, hayati. More than you realize.”

She pulled away. “No, you don’t.”

Nalia didn’t know what to make of this new Malek, with his soft words and caresses. But she preferred a beating to what he wanted. Sickening as it was to admit, Nalia knew she was lucky. Nearly every jinni she met on the dark caravan had been forced to sleep with their masters, slaves to commands that stole their very bodies from them. But Malek had never done that to her.

Not yet.

He reached for her hand and she placed it in his, un thinking—a natural reflex. After so much time in captivity, her body was accustomed to obeying his every command. He brought the inside of her wrist to his lips. Nalia forced herself to meet his eyes, though their hid den depths frightened her. It wasn’t just because her fate was entirely in his hands—Malek Alzahabi was un predictable at best and sadistic at worst. Just when she thought she’d figured out how to play nice, he changed the rules of the game.

“I wish . . .” he whispered.

Her eyes widened, but he just sighed. If he made his third wish, she’d be free.

“No,” he said. “You can’t grant me what I want. You have to give it to me. Someday you will.” He searched her face, a wistful smile playing on his lips. “But can I wait that long?”

Dark Caravan Cycle:

1. Exquisite Captive (October 7, 2014)

2. Blood Passage (2015)

3. Freedom’s Slave (2016)

FTC Advisory:  Balzer+Bray/Harper Teen provided me with a copy of Exquisite Captive.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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