By Heather Demetrios
Rating: 2.5/5 stars
Exquisite Captive is the first book in the Dark Caravan Series and surrounds to myth of genies(jinnies) and their interactions with humans. After years of political unrest, the jinnies homeland of Arjinna has been overtaken by the darkest group of Jinn who pull their power from fire, opposed to other jinn who pull from wind, water, and earth. These jinnies have begun a slave trade between Earth and Arjinna called the Dark Caravan, where wealthy humans who seek to gain more influence in the world purchase jinnies to grant them three wishes.
Nalia is a jinni from the warrior class of jinn who has been sold to a wealthy man who has found a loophole in the three wish stipulation. Instead of making three wishes, he instead has her grant wishes for his clients in return for favors and business transactions. While searching for a way to become free from her shackles, Nalia begins working with a rebel leader named Raif, who seeks to right the injustices in Arjinna and end the slave trade. They must work together despite their classes past conflict and find a way to help the jinn both on Earth and in their homeland.
Review: I found Demetrios’ description of the different classes of jinn and their characteristics interesting. I also thought portraying jinn granting wishes for humans as a form of slave trade was really effective. However, other than that their wasn’t anything in this novel that really stuck out to me. I felt like the major plot points in this book are all pieces I have read in other YA fantasy books and have been written more effectively. This was especially true of the romantic relationship between Nalia and Raif. Maybe its because of the amount of fantasy I have read recently, but I just didn’t find much chemistry between them. The one part of this novel that I have a real issue with however, were the romantic/lustful feelings that Nalia felt for her master when he began to express an interest in pursuing her romantically. He spent years imprisoning Nalia and torturing her by placing her in a container that would slowly suffocate and poison her for months on end. I realize that her reciprocating his feelings had more to do with the effect of their souls interacting rather than her true feelings for him, this was still something I did not find okay.