"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."
Reading Exquisite Captive is like watching a really good and frightening horror movie. You scream at the naive girl to not do this, to not do that. Don't hide in the closet, don't hide in the basement, don't trust him, don't follow the sounds. Don't, don't, don't, don't! The villain is gruesome and scary. And every choice there is? Well, it is all a bad choice. Every word read is one more word you don't want to see. Also, the horror movie always ends badly (in my experience of watching horror movies). The terrifying endings are usually some variation and combination of death, torture, misery, horror, and entrapment.
Nalia is a jinni, and she is a very powerful one. However, she is trapped and bound. Her cold, confusing, and smart captor (more about him in the later paragraphs) never makes a third wish and never will. Never. She takes delight in ways to undermine his control, but her actions will always come back to haunt her. The war, the same one that has killed Nalia's family and species, comes to Earth. Raif, who is a leader of the rebels, comes to her for help against the very people who killed Nalia's family. She has a hot temper, and she is a horrible liar, but she does have her strengths and weaknesses. She is the naive girl and the prey of the horror movie.
Raif is a love interest for Nalia. As a rebel leader, he has a hard edge and a particular dislike towards Nalia's family. But he shares a heated chemistry with Nalia. Slowly, they grow to understand each other and become allies.
Malek, Nalia's captor, is a very complicated man to Nalia. But most readers can tell the creepiness and wrongness of his actions. Scenes with him are so horrifying and disturbing that I have to look away from the book. Bravo to the author for making a very appalling character who simply begs the readers to hate him. Even worse is that Nalia is developing feelings for him (probably because of Stockholm's Syndrome).
The ending is the most devasting and shocking part of the book. It is not satisfying, and it leaves readers wanting more from the series, wanting to read the next book, wanting to know more about Raif and Nalia. There are no good choices, no clear options, and good endings. Nothing comes out right. It is the most bittersweet ending I've read in years, and it ruins me.
Overall, Exquisite Captive is a well-plotted and dark book. Like a horror movie, the book welcomes readers to read with parts of their eyes covered. Some sections of the book are perfect for readers to scream their frustrations at their heroes. Best recommended to those who love misererable characters, Exquisitie Captive is captivating and scary.
Rating: Three out of Five