REVIEW: Exquisite Captive (Dark Caravan Cycle #1) by Heather Demetrios

Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios
Series: Dark Caravan Cycle #1
Published by Corgi Children's on 9th October 2014
Pages: 480

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 Raifthe enigmatic leader of Arjinna’s revolution and Nalia’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 the light.
Magical, thrilling and dark, Exquisite Captive was captivating and enchanting, yet dangerous and cruel, but certainly a unique twist on Jinnis’. This cover is beautiful, it tells you everything you need to know about the novel, but it is a shame they changed the covers for the sequels; I much prefer this one.

Nalia is the last of the Ghan Aisouri, captured and sold into slavery on the dark caravan on earth, and forced to grant the wishes of her master Malek. She is the last heir to the throne, Empress of Arjinna. Nalia has been in disguise as a Shaitan to ensure the Ifrit don’t realise they missed killing one. But now they know, and when Nalia meets the Revolution’s leader Raif, Nalia realises her freedom may come sooner than she ever realised, but at a greater cost than she ever imagined.

Nalia is an interesting character. She is certainly likable; Nalia is strong, independent, and has a strong head on her shoulders. It was intriguing to watch Nalia’s character; throughout she experiences new feelings and hopes, ones she has been forced to abandon previously due to her training. Her feelings towards Malek were intriguing. When originally reading reviews, many complained that the feelings between Nalia and Malek were weird, and turned them off the novel, seeing as Malek is her master and due to the awful things he has done. Although one does completely understand how this perspective could have come about, when reading what I saw was a woman whom was confused in her environment, she has never experienced any form of affection, whether that is family love or romantic love. Therefore, I found it was understandable that Nalia would become confused and drawn to the affection pointed her way. I am not saying it is right, but that it is understandable, and Nalia soon comes to realise this herself, and thankfully makes the right decisions. Therefore, you certainly see Nalia grow and adapt throughout the novel.

"She was the current that carried boats on its back and the foam that slept on sandcastles. She was the roar and the whisper and the stillness.
She was nothing.
She was everything."
Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios, page 216 (Paperback)

What I also really enjoyed when reading this was that we got to read from the perspective of Raif, the leader of the revolution, sworn and expected to hate Nalia. He was a refreshing perspective in the plot and environment they were in. Raif was a fun, sometimes humorous character, yet also serious and loyal. I thoroughly enjoyed understanding and witnessing his background and the two differences between the people from the perspective of him in their homeland compared to that of earth.

The plot I must say did start a little slow, but it was expected as Demetrious is creating a brand-new world and trying to describe this to the reader. There is a brilliant key at the beginning of the novel to help you understand the words, and this was extremely appreciated and I wish more novels included this. To be honest I think the map was a bit pointless, but maybe it will be of more use in the sequel. The plot soon became fast paced after the world was established. It was dark, gritty and violent, yet addictive and captivating. There were many twists throughout, and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. I also enjoyed the ending, it wasn’t how one expected it to end, and I am really looking forward to seeing how the plot progresses.

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