Saturday, November 8, 2014

Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios

Series: Dark Caravan Cycle (bk. 1)

Genera(s): Paranormal Romance/Fantasy

Subjects: jinn, supernatural, magic, alternate worlds, mythology

Setting: Los Angeles, California, various other places around the world, and the world of Arjinna

POV/Tense: 3rd person past tense: Nalia and Raif, and present tense chapters of various jinn.

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 463 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $17.99

Publisher: HarperTeen: Balzer & Bray

Summary/ product description: “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.

My Review:  I got way more that I expected out of this book. When I first heard about it, I thought it was some historical fairy tale retelling of Aladdin. Thank goodness that’s not what this book is. It’s a mix of paranormal romance and fantasy, set in modern Los Angeles. I love this take on Jinn. Jinn from Middle Eastern Islamic mythology (Djinn, Genie) appeared out of a magic lamps and granted wishes. (Mentioned on Ancient Aliens, Jinn could have been projections of holograms of aliens).

These jinn all have elemental based powers and can grant wishes or manifest things by drawing energy from their element. They comes from a world called Arjinna and are separated by their elemental castes. Wikipedia mentions the different types of Jinn: “The social organization of the jinn community resembles that of humans; e.g., they have kings, courts of law, weddings, and mourning rituals. One common belief in Muslim lore lists five distinct orders of demons — the Marid (the strongest type), the Ifrit, the Shaitan, the Jinn, and the Jann (the weakest type).” In the book the Marid have the element of water, the Ifrit have fire, the Shaitan have air and the 4th type, the Djan have Earth.

Nalia can draw power from air, water, fire and earth, and that make her a rare kind of Jinn. The royal caste of Jinn called the Ghan Aisouri, which are all but extinct. The fire powered Ifrit jinn have been killing then off. The other lower caste hated the Aisouri rulers because they forced them into servitude. Nalia has a fiery strong personality and stubborn. She doesn’t like being forced to do things for her master and want badly to escape and save her brother who was taken from her. She meets Raif, a Djan revolutionary who may be able to help her in exchange for an important relic. Raif has prejudices against the Aisouri, and seems to hate Nalia at first, but their relation changes as they get to know each other. Romance happens!

There are also undertones of human trafficking/slavery in this book. Stuff like this happens in real life. Girls get sold to men in foreign countries. (If you ever seen Taken with Liam Niesen, when the daughter is taken.) This book is magical and a supernatural romance. Nalia has to try to seduce her master Malek, even if he seems like a sick, horrible person.

This book is so complexly plotted, it has me excited for the rest of the series. There needs to be more unique paranormal/fantasies that take mythology to a whole new level. This is that kind of book. If your interested in Eastern/Asian myth and legend and books about fantastical world parallel to our own, than make Exqusite Captive you next read! Don’t bottle up you reading list! Put this book on your wishlist.

Nalia is stuck with a very powerful master who won’t grant his final wish, so she’s his slave.

Cover Art Review: I love the colors and the type on the cover. The bracelet it nice, but I wish it was more detailed. Maybe the second book will be violet and gold instead of blueish and orange

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