Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Exquisite Captive, Heather Demetrios

Pages: 480
Publisher: RHCP Digital
Release Date: 9th October 2014
Edition: UK e-book, purchased

Other Titles by this Author: Something Real

A jinni of tremendous ancient power and Empress to Arjinna, Nalia was sold into slavery on the dark caravan, where jinn are forced to grant wishes and obey their masters’ every command. She’d do 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 Arijinna’s revolution and Malia’s sworn enemy. He promises to free Nalia so that she can return to her ravaged homeland and free her imprisoned brother. But freedom comes at a heavy price and danger is everywhere.

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 light.

I sometimes find fantasy difficult. It takes me a little longer to read and it occasionally feels too foreign for me to fully connect with the characters and the world, but I thoroughly enjoyed Exquisite Captive.

Heather Demetrios has created a complex and intricate world of jinni. Even though we never set foot on Arijinna, the hierarchies of the different jinni races and their histories are vividly recalled and we get a picture of the beautiful, mysterious world that Nalia calls her home. But this world has now been ravaged by war, rebellion and the Ifrit jinnis and Nalia has no idea of the extent of the damage. I do hope we get to see Arijinna in the next book.

A lot of problems on Arijinna that led to the revolution and lots of jinnis on Earth stem from prejudices between the jinni races. Each class has a different type of power and at a different strength, and naturally, those at the top are the strongest. Nalia was one of those jinni: the Ghan Aisouri, hated by the rest of the jinni, and the first deaths in the uprising when the lowest class, the Ifrit, fight back. I didn’t expect the politics of the jinni to be such a strong theme in the novel, but it was really interesting. The Ghan Aisouri, Shaitan, Djan, Marid and Ifrit all had they role to play in Arijinna, roles that fit their skills and powers, but there was unrest and hatred. Even when marooned on Earth with their world in tatters, it remained. It’s a deep rooted hatred that the relationship between Nalia and Raif shows promise for.

But it was the relationship between Nalia and Malek, slave and master, which drove the novel. Malek made my skin crawl. His weird version of love for Nalia was obsessive, controlling and abusive. It was the moments when Nalia’s affection-starved brain turned her reaction to Malek into something she might have wanted. His actions made me so angry and it made me feel sick. He couldn’t comprehend how Nalia couldn’t love him; it was strange and unnerving, especially when Nalia showed signs of Stockholm Syndrome in her responses to him. It is an interesting dynamic, however, and propelled the story forward with urgency.

Exquisite Captive is the fantastic first book in what promises to be a dark, seductive and completely compelling fantasy series. I’d really quite like to still be reading this, actually...


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