Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios: Review

Title: Exquisite Captive
Author: Heather Demetrios
Publisher: Balzar + Bray
Buy this book: Amazon / Book Depository

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. (Goodreads summary.)

Basically what happened with this book.
I'd been debating whether to do a mini-review for Exquisite Captive or not. It's a book that I ended up having to DNF because I just didn't care enough to continue. But I did get to 83%, which I felt was far enough to do a full review and rate it. If it had failed to impress me by that point, I'm pretty certain the last 17% wasn't going to do anything to change that.

I'd been so excited to read Exquisite Captive, I'd downloaded it the moment I saw it on Edelweiss. It not only had a beyond stunning cover, it had a premise that sounded incredible. I couldn't wait to read an Arabian Nights inspired story about jinni, because how could that not be amazing. It seemed like a recipe for awesome, but I should have prepared myself for the fact that it might not live up to my expectations.



The longer the novel went on  the more
bored I got.
Exquisite Captive seemed to fall victim to the problem that I think a lot of the first books in a series struggle to avoid. And that's the problem of spending far too much time introducing the world, the characters and the back story to both. It ends up feeling like a massive information dump and I think the story suffers for it. I was learning so much about the different types of jinni, their world and what happened to them in the past. It's important to the story, you need to know it and at the beginning I was enjoying doing it. But it meant that not enough time was spent getting to know Nalia or feeling like she was much of a character. I was mostly just being introduced to the world, but that wasn't enough to keep me invested in the story.

My biggest issue with the story is that I felt like not much of importance had really happened, and I was almost at the end of the book. Nalia's story felt like it was really only going to be about a love triangle that you see coming from a mile away. I've just become tired of reading stories that focus too much on a person spending far too much time worrying about which person they like, rather than thinking of the things that actually matter. I could see that happening in this series as it progresses and I couldn't deal with it, especially when one of the love interests is just awful.

Nalia and Malek's ship needs to sink already.
Nalia's master is Malek, who's basically just a giant dick. Sorry not sorry, there's literally no better way to describe him. He's violent, controlling and abusive towards her. So it's understandable why Nalia hates him so much. But cue him kissing her one time and her kind of enjoying it and suddenly the story turns into the Malek/Nalia romance drama. That was when my interest started to fall dramatically. I lost all respect in Nalia as a character, this is a guy that has caused her unimaginable pain. But one kiss and suddenly she forgets it all. I know they try to come up with a defense as to why he treats her so terribly, but it doesn't justify it for me. For me it was turning into some weird YA version of a sub/dom erotica and I was not a fan. It just became really strange and uncomfortable to read, I wasn't okay with their relationship at all. Especially not when Malek comes out with things like this:

'When you came here, you were wild, a feral little thing. But I saw your potential - like a stallion that needed to be broken.' 


No, thank you. Now please go away and never come back. 

2/5 Butterflies

I really wanted to enjoy this book but I just couldn't. Learning about the jinni was interesting, but it felt like it took up far too much of the book. I never felt like I came to really know Nalia, and what  did know I didn't particularly like. I can see a love triangle aspect playing a bigger role in the second book and I wouldn't be able to handle that. Malek's character and his developing relationship with Nalia is just truly disturbing and wrong for so many reasons. I didn't finish the book, which is surprising seeing as I was so close to the end, but I just could not continue reading. It had an amazing sounding premise but just didn't deliver for me. 


*I received a copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for a free and honest review and received no monetary compensation for this review.


20 comments:

  1. Blah, I have seen a lot of negatives for this and I will definitely not be reading it. I am sorry this wasn't better for you, hopefully your next read is a good one.

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    1. Me too. I know so many people loved it, but it just really didn't work for me. I could see the love triangle aspect becoming a thing, and I couldn't stand that.

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  2. I'm disappointed too, this one had a very cool premise! But that quote is so icky, that relationship can not be a thing. Yuck. A lot of books have this slow, minimal character development problem... :/ Thanks for the review though!

    -P.E. @ The Sirenic Codex

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    1. I just found the relationships between the characters as really odd. There was too much information giving and less time placed on the actual story and character development. I was disappointed because I expected so much more.

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  3. Dude, well done for getting so FAR into it though. With DNFs, I'm always too lazy to get past the first few chapters. It drains my soul too much. And I need my soul for things like Raven Boys (so Maggie can destroy it).

    Also: Love triangles are my kryptonite. WHY DO THEY EXIST?

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    1. I DON'T KNOW! I wish they didn't because they're never really pulled off well. I know, I just got to that point and suddenly realised what I was doing. I just couldn't keep wasting my time on something that I was clearly not going to love.

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  4. Awww that's a little disheartening. I was excited for this one. I wasn't planning on picking it up anytime soon, but at some point I would have bought it.
    That being said, you are not the only one DNF'ing. I've been seeing a lot of not so great reviews.
    Still, I can't believe you made it to 83%. That's a good job on your part.
    Happy reading!
    Brittany @ This is the Story of My(Reading) Life

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    1. It was, but also a stupid decision on my part. I should have given up sooner, I just kept holding on for something to happen that made me want to continue reading. But it never did. I wanted to love this one so badly, so it was disheartening that I had to DNF in the end.

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  5. It's a shame that the book was a bit too informative for your liking, and kind of bland with nothing impressive happening. Yes, this does happen to a lot of first books in a series, but it does make them hard to read. The idea sounds inspiring though!

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    1. I know, I kept reading hoping we would get to the good stuff but it just didn't happen.

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  6. Dang it! That is an awesome cover. You're the second now I've seen blah! on this one from. Darn! That's a real shame they couldn't pull their act together.

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  7. I can totally understand why this one would be a miss for you. Malek is an an a grade dick, I totally agree. But for some reason, I just think there's something deeper but then I again, I may be digging at nothing. I'll just have to see in book 2! The info dumps where strong though, weren't they. I was terribly overwhelmed at first and it took me FOREVER to get used to it.

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    1. I am going to rely on you to let me know how the sequel goes. You can find out if there is anything more to Malek than just being a giant penis!

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  8. Too bad this one didn't work for you. I still may read it because I really like this author, but I've definitely read mixed reviews. I can't believe you didn't finish it, though since you read over 80%! It's definitely a difficult thing for authors to balance world-building, plot, and characters in a series. It seems like something is always sacrificed (although there are a few authors who do a fantastic job). Thanks for the honest review! ~Pam

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    1. It got to that point where I realised I was seriously forcing myself to read and it was painful. I just suddenly decided to stop wasting my time on it as it clearly wasn't suddenly just going to start working for me.

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  9. Oh no. Oh no, oh no, oh no. I'm so sorry to hear that this wasn't very enjoyable and, in fact, a DNF for you, Charnell. I read Something Real by the same author not long ago, and I really, really enjoyed that. However, I haven't heard any positive (mixed and negative reviews only) for this one, which is a bit disappointing as I was really looking forward to reading more from Demetrios. Maybe fantasy (this is fantasy, right?) just isn't her thing? Thanks for a wonderful review, Charnell, nevertheless.

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    1. I know, I just really wanted to love this and then I just didn't. Maybe I'll try something else by the author as I have heard a lot of good things about her other book.

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  10. Oh, boo. That is not good, I am sorry this book didn't work out for you. (And I agree- 83% is definitely enough to develop an opinion/review!) I won this book, and was excited for it, but I haven't been hearing such great things and your review (especially the stuff about Malek, he sounds horrible) has me leaning toward not bothering. Ugh, such a shame, it sounds like there was potential.

    Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight

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    1. There was, it just didn't seem to meet it in book one. There is always the hope that this is a series that gets better as it goes along. Only time will tell.

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