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.
Rating: 5 Stars
Book Title: Exquisite Captive
Author: Heather Demetrios
Release Date: October 7th, 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Fans of The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh will love this first installment to the Dark Caravan Cycle, Exquisite Captive, by Heather Demetrios. This Arbian Nights inspired book is based on jinni lore. The Jinni (more commonly known as djinn or genies) live in their own world, far from the eyes of prying humans. Unfortunately for some jinni though, they end up on Earth as slaves, bound to their masters and forced to obey their commands until their master has used all of his/her three wishes. For Nalia, she knows this day will likely never come, since her master knows the consequences of using up his third wish.
Throw aside all the genie stereotypes you already know, especially those of you like myself who grew up on Disney movies like Aladdin. There will be no magic carpet rides in this story (although I’m holding my breath for future books in the series) and the jinni in Demetrios’s world are powerful, using the Earth’s elements to fuel their magic. What I really liked about the construction of the jinni in this series is how they’re set up in castes based on their powers. At the top, the Ghan Aisouri are the most powerful due to their abilities to access power from all four elements. The lower castes are typically confined to one element though, such as the Djan whose power comes from the earth.
Favorite Characters: Once again I’ve managed to fall completely in love with the bad guy, who in this case, happens to be the main character, Nalia’s, master. Malek purchased her off the Dark Caravan, where jinni are sold to humans on Earth, as a young girl. He’s cruel, forcing Nalia into her bottle for extended periods of time as punishment for misbehaving. Unlike the genie of lore though, the bottles aren’t their homes. These bottles are designed for punishment and a means of keeping jinni in line. Made of iron, these bottles are not only dark and lonely for the jinni, but also poisonous to them. The longer Nalia is forced into her bottle, the sicker she is after she is let out.
Despite this brutal treatment, Malek starts to change. His relationship with Nalia has changed from master/servant to something more. For Nalia though, she’s reluctant to give into him. She knows if he asks her to do something, she’ll have to, but she slows his advances anyways. Although I’m probably a masochist for saying it, I loved Malek even BEFORE we find out there’s more to his mood swings than just bad behavior alone. Malek has secrets Nalia knows nothing of and once she figures some of them out as the book progresses, I think she starts to have some more sympathy for him. That’s when her feelings get complicated.
Romance: Speaking of feelings, what made Exquisite Captive stand out so much (in my opinion) in the paranormal romance category is the construction of the romance. The feelings jinni have for one another is complex, and has to do with their chiaan. I also loved watching Nalia learn about love. All her life she was taught by the Ghan Aisouri that love was a myth and sex was only for reproductive purposes. Then she meets Raif, who changes all of that for her. Also, let’s not forget her complicated feelings for Malek, which she struggles with the whole book. The romance in this book consisted of a love triangle (WAIT. Just listen!) but it was SO GOOD. Unlike love triangles from other series, this one really makes sense. Nalia’s unfortunate relationship with Malek means she feels a sense of obligation to him since he’s her master. Then she has to separate these feelings from those she develops for Raif.
The Ending: OH MAN. NOT what I was expecting in the least and WAY more plot twists than I could have seen coming! I loved that though, because you all know by now if you read my reviews that I despise predictable endings. Finishing Exquisite Captive was heart-wrenching not because of the ending itself (although I shed a few tears towards the end due to one of the deaths) but because I know the next book isn’t out yet and that I’ll have to wait for quite some time to read it! Blood Passage (Dark Caravan Cycle #2) by Heather Demetrios just made it to the top of my most anticipated 2016 releases!