Exquisite Captive (Dark Caravan Cycle #1)
By Heather Demetrios
Average Rating: 3.69
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?
I used to read this Juvenile Children’s series called “Children of the Lamp” and reading Exquisite Captive reminded me of that series but this book was 10x better and for older readers.
Now, I have a new favourite fantasy series about jinn!!!
Demetrios put such a unique twist on the famous genie/jinn/jinni subject that I find it stands out from most…or it SHOULD if it hasn’t. She revamped the common knowledge about jinn and made it her own. I feel like this whole book has her signature on it.
Nalia is one hell of a badass, and powerful jinni. She is a strong, smart and should make her up my list of characters that I look up to. In the world of Exquisite Captive, the Ghan Aisouri are the most powerful jinni and are females. Nalia is the last of them but she lives as a slave to her master, Malek. No one knows she’s the last of the Ghan Aisouri as they were all supposedly murdered, so Nalia must keep quiet yet try to escape her master and claim back her place as heir to her land. This is her story about the hardships and the lengths she’ll go through to find her freedom. Hell, it was one hell of ride that left broken hearts and loud gasps. Nalia’s personality clicked with mine. I became her friend and watched and supported her battle through the terrible cards the world handed to her and I was her best cheerleader. I want her to be real so I can be one of her closest friends! Demetrios wrote such a wonderful character that will definitely attract many types of readers. But Nalia isn’t the only character that I absolutely adored.
“The sensation of Raif’s skin was so different from Malek’s-where her master’s scorched, Raif’s tingled, like fine grains of sand shifting under a breeze.”
Ladies and gentleman, (if you roll that way 😉 ), I give you Raif. Sexy, enigmatic Raif. Leader of Arijinna’s rebellion and yes, Nalia’s enemy. This man will suck you in from the get-go. He is full of sass and sarcasm and his and Nalia’s relationship is sizzling. There was definitely not enough scenes with these two as I loved their banter and chemistry. Raif brings a mysterious feel to the novel and his sister is another fabulous addition to the novel. The presence of Raif gives a whole new meaning to Nalia’s journey to freedom. Because he is the enemy, Nalia should stay far, far away from him, but he wants something from her…and he can give her her ultimate freedom from her master.
The story line should captivate readers from the very beginning. Reading the blurb, I saw potential in the characters and story line, and I was right! The plot moved at a decent pace where there was always something interesting happening. It was full of dark magic but I like to think of this novel as a song. It works it way up to the crescendo in a way that you’re gripping the book, and flipping the pages manically. When you hit the crescendo, the climax, it just feels like your heart is about to explode with all the chaos and emotions happening in the novel. Then it slowly brings the readers back down to prepare for the end, but when the song ends you remain feeling like you’ve been hit by a bus yet content with the events of the novel. The melodies of the song still play in your head and the emotions connected to it are still there.
Well, that was a damn good analogy wasn’t it? 😛
“Soon, he will have the jinni backed up against a wall. Just as she was three years ago. The bodies. The blood. The hunger.”
The details of the Exquisite world are complicated. I mentioned the Ghan Aisouri the highest caste of jinni, but there are also the Shaitan (scholars, and artists), the Djan (laborers), the Marid (peasants) and the Ifrit (soldiers and sorceres). Respectively, that is the second highest to the lowest of castes. The level also governs how powerful their magic is. Each caste is distinguished by the colour of their eyes, the colour of their smoke and how they draw their power. Ghan Aisouri can control all four elements: fire, earth, water and air. The Shaitan draw power from air, the Djan draw from the earth, the Marid, water, and the Ifrit, fire. I’m extremely fond of these type of novels where there are caste-like segregation among the population, and having read many books similar to this, I can say it was well thought-out and creative. The jinni twist was new to me and gained my approval.
I remember finishing Exquisite Captive and remembering moments from the book in the middle of the day and painfully waiting for the release of the next book, Blood Passage. I am super impressed by the quality of this novel, along with the effectiveness of the characters. I’m a very satisfied reader. 😀
Exquisite Captive is fast-paced and never failed at keeping my attention. The plot was well constructed and truly spellbinding. Like your favourite song, it leaves a distinct mark on one’s reading soul, and that is rare.
I recommend this series to fantasy lovers and those who have read Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo.
Keep calm and read on,