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Dark Caravan Cycle #1

Exquisite Captive

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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.

480 pages, Hardcover

First published October 7, 2014

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About the author

Heather Demetrios

12 books1,448 followers
Heather Demetrios is a critically acclaimed author, writing coach, and certified meditation teacher. She has an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and is a recipient of the PEN America Susan P. Bloom Discovery Award for her debut novel, Something Real. Her novels include Little Universes, I’ll Meet You There, Bad Romance, as well as the Dark Caravan fantasy series: Exquisite Captive, Blood Passage, and Freedom’s Slave. Her non-fiction includes the Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection Code Name Badass: The True Story of Virginia Hall, and she is the editor of Dear Heartbreak: YA Authors and Teens on the Dark Side of Love. Her honors include books that have been named Bank Street Best Children’s Books, YALSA Best Fiction For Young Adults selections, a Goodreads Choice Nominee, a Kirkus Best Book, and a Barnes and Noble Best Book. Her work has appeared in LA Review of Books, Bustle, School Library Journal, and other fine outlets.

In addition to her writing, Heather is passionate about bringing words and mindfulness to women in the refugee community as well as "helping the helpers" on the ground through mindfulness and therapeutic writing. She works in communications and mindfulness outreach for Becky’s Bathhouse, a wellness center and safe space serving refugee women in Lesvos, Greece. Find out more about how you can support their work here.

Find out more about Heather and her books at heatherdemetrios.com.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 689 reviews
Profile Image for Steph Sinclair.
461 reviews11.1k followers
July 21, 2014
DNF'd at 52%

1. Abusive Love Interest:

I really tried to love this, but when it was apparent that it was impossible, I would have settled for "like" instead. Unfortunately, none of the 52% that I read convinced me to stick it out until the end. Instead, I was given Malek, the abusive asshole, who I'm told later, is a part of the love triangle. It's possible that this could be a bit of Stockholm going one, but I couldn't care less at this point because I've lost interest. He throws her against a wall hard enough to cause a knot to form on her head and bruises her arms. Nalia makes excuses for his behavior, Malek feels guilt and I'm sitting here fuming. The way the novel was going, it conveniently had a reasoning for his behavior (he just can't help he's a violent !) and I just could not.

2. Boring:

NOTHING happens in the first half. Nalia goes shopping, talks about her past life, goes dancing, talks about her past life, goes to a party, and talks about her past life. There was just way too much set up and not enough action.

3. The World-Building Didn't Feel Organic:

The characters would be in the middle of dialogue and all of the sudden we have to have a 3 page flashback or history lesson. It felt out of place and disrupted the scenes. They also felt forced, and for this to feel like it was upper YA, I was constantly underwhelmed. It's like Demetrios spent so much time trying to build an atmosphere, describing so many things at once that they ended up conflicting with the story she was trying to tell.

4. Just... NO
From her fingertips to her elbows, the henna-like tattoos of her race crawled over her cinnamon skin

I really, really hate when a non-white character's skin is described with food. I was excited that this book featured diverse characters, but disappointed with how they were described.

As much as I was looking forward to this book, it's just not be for me.
July 28, 2019
All the Stockholm Syndrome mixed with the coming of age angst and PTSD/dormitorium/lack of familial anything issuesmade for an interesting story to read. Even with all the uneven story-telling.

An intricate social structure, these jinn seem to have:
THE GHAN AISOURI: Once the highest caste and beloved of the gods. All but annihilated, the members of this female race have violet eyes and smoke. They are the only jinn who can access the power of all four elements: air, earth, water, and fire.
THE SHAITAN: The Shaitan gain power from air and have golden eyes and smoke. They are scholars, mages, artists, and the overlords who once controlled the provinces.
THE DJAN: The largest caste and the peasant serfs of Arjinna’s valleys. They have emerald eyes and smoke, and their power comes from earth—the sacred soil of Arjinnan land. They are manual laborers, denied education or advancement.
THE MARID: Caretakers of the Arjinnan Sea and fishing folk, these serfs draw their power from water. Their eyes and smoke are blue. They are the peasants of the coast, as uneducated as the Djan and subjected to equally brutal labor.
THE IFRIT: Long despised throughout the realm, the Ifrit have crimson eyes and smoke. Their power comes from fire, and they use its energy for dark magic. They are soldiers and sorcerers. (c)

Her brother’s face. The peaks of the Qaf Mountains at sunset. Her mother’s approving smile when Nalia had manifested something for the first time. She flipped through these few happy memories, grounding herself. (c)
He had been sitting at his desk, near the window that overlooked the rose garden, sipping his absinthe with that faraway look in his eye—like he was examining the fabric of the universe, peeking through holes the gods had forgotten to sew up. (c)
Nalia did her best not to glare at the client as he outlined his absurd request.
What is with these humans? (c)
Granting was a science, an art of exactitude. Earth was a glass sphere balancing on the point of a needle, and one errant wish could shatter it against the cold hardness of the universe. (c)
The whole city was a prison, built on shattered dreams and lost souls. (с)
He said not to take it personally.”
“No,” she said. “You should definitely take it personally.” (c)
So casual. He spoke as though her stolen childhood and the years of training to grant, to manifest, to coax wishes out of the universe’s tightly closed fist was the equivalent of flipping a burger. All that pain, sacrifice, and loss—gods, so much loss—it all came down to one man-boy’s whim. (c)
“You’d be a great dominatrix, you know that?”
He was making it far too easy to ruin his life. (c)
His home was something of a legend, a story shared in halls of power, in the backs of limousines. The people who passed through the tall, wrought-iron gate that surrounded the property were the fault lines of society—the movers and shakers of the world. Foreign dignitaries. Journalists. CEOs and scientists. Black-market specialists and the kings of Earth’s underworld. (c)
Waking up in the morning without a master to serve—priceless. (c)
She waited until she felt herself reflected in the still center of the dancing flames, then thrust both hands into the fireplace. (c)
She’d been taught how to fight to the death, not how to lay down her sword. There was no honor in this, no fearsome nobility. Just a flicker of hope in the darkness. (с)
She grasped at the inner calm that had been battered into her throughout her childhood. It had come so easily to her mother, to the other Ghan Aisouri. But it had always been hard work for Nalia. (c)
It was the time of the Santa Anas—the strong gusts that blew through Los Angeles every year, carrying mysteries of other worlds and filling Nalia with power. Even on Earth, it seemed, the wind goddess Grathali reigned supreme. (c)
...until the smoke unraveled her, throwing her into the night sky in a burst of perfumed evanescence. She was cloud and wind and moon, fragmented, yet suddenly whole. For just that brief moment, all she knew was the feel of the cool night on her skin and the closeness of the stars. Then she was gone. (с)
Gusts of wind swirled around her, and Nalia opened her mouth to taste its salt and melancholy, swallowing the listless dreams of humans from across the sea and drinking in the vast emptiness that throbbed against the shore. She shivered in the chill morning air as the wind held her in its salt-tinged embrace. A cleansing breeze from the south whipped by her and peeled away the long sleepless night, and the next wave that crashed on the shore sent its spray to wash Malek’s scent off her skin.
“Shundai,” she whispered to Grathali, goddess of the wind, and Lathor, goddess of water. Thank you. …
These mornings spent greeting the dawn replenished that energy. (с)
His was a magic of mismatched patches, sewn together with hope and desperation. (c)
Nalia sat on her knees and bowed low to the ground, pressing her forehead to the sand. She whispered her thanks to Tirgan, god of earth. Then she walked down to the water, setting her palms on the ocean’s frothy surface. Where her hands rested, the water lay still and silent. Again, she murmured words of gratitude, this time to Lathor, goddess of water. Then she lifted her palms to the sky, closing her eyes as the wind swirled around her. She once again honored Grathali, goddess of the wind. Finally, she walked to the far end of the beach and set a dry piece of driftwood in the sand, like a totem pole. She held her hands over the wood and chiaan burst from her fingers, a lightning bolt. The dry tinder turned blood red as the flames licked its surface. She gazed into the flames, chanting a last sadr—one of the hundreds of prayers in the Halamsa, the jinn holy book. This time the words were for Ravnir, god of fire. …
willing herself to evanesce. Moments later, all that was left of her on the beach was the burning piece of driftwood and a few small footprints in the sand. Then a wave crashed on the shore, hungrily claiming even those remnants of the jinni’s presence. (c)
these human books were illusions in paper and ink, just as powerful as the kind Nalia could manifest out of thin air. Lost in the magic of story, Nalia had begun to understand what it meant to be human, to burn so brightly for such a short time, just a tenth of a jinni’s lifespan. (c)
He looked at her, and in the fraction of a second before he shuttered his eyes, she saw the depth of the despair he’d been carrying with him for decades. (с)
Strange, that discovering a murderer was after you could feel so invigorating. But it did. (c)
The stars above them seemed to fall like sparkling rain, and she saw, in the folds of the magic, the sigil ring itself, glowing on an altar in the middle of a rocky fortress. (c)
Sailors would look on her with longing, and lightning would strike through her heart, causing no pain, when storms raged above the sea. ...
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. (c)
She knew that from now on, visitors to the gardens would feel an inexplicable peace as they gazed upon the blossoms, and worries they had would vanish. Their day would be full of luck and they would look back on those moments in the garden as a turning point in their lives. (c)
She realized that there had been meaningful moments peppered throughout her time on Earth. Willingly or not, she had become a part of this planet, though as temporary as a shooting star. Nalia drank in the balmy, fragrant air and allowed her awareness to dim as she basked in the comforting ebb and flow of her chiaan. (c)
Faqua celique, she thought, forcing herself to stand. Only the stars know. In human terms: get over it. (c)
Anytime someone tries to do the right thing, it’s a terrible strategy. (c)
I was miserable—the kind of mood that makes you start a world war. (c)
Profile Image for Wendy Darling.
1,635 reviews34k followers
February 16, 2016
I haven't read a YA paranormal romance that I enjoyed in awhile, but this one was excellent. Nice worldbuilding, magic, and characters who all have agency, and a sort of love triangle that I didn't mind at all.

Quibbles--there were a few too many flashbacks/cutting to the villain POV for my taste, to the point where it interrupted the flow of the story. I think the ending could have been smoothed out, too. There are also definite triggers because there's an imbalance of power in the master/slave relationship, and there's some possible Stockholm syndrome stuff happening with it, so your mileage may vary depending on how much that upsets you. But I quite enjoyed this overall, and totally recommend it if you're curious.

I think it would have been really interesting if this story had been written as a New Adult title, by the way. There are some nicely sparky scenes between our heroine and the two guys, and that could have been taken even further for an older age group.
Profile Image for Sue.
781 reviews1,590 followers
February 12, 2017
Review and playlist also posted at Young Adult Hollywood.
Listen to my Exquisite Captive playlist on 8tracks.


Exquisite Captive came into my life like the perfect book I could ever wish for. I have so much love for this novel. It is brilliant and filled with rich world building. I would read it again and again. And trust me, this is the book YOU would want to read.

What lured me into reading Exquisite Captive is that it reminded me a little bit of The Grisha Trilogy. If you’re fan of Leigh Bardugo and Laini Taylor’s books, you will absolutely devour this one.

Exquisite Captive is far superior to other Young Adult High Fantasy books out there. Not only is it a masterpiece of work, it is also diverse in gender and race. It’s the perfect book everyone’s been looking for.

The book follows the story of Nalia, a jinni like a genie who can grant wishes. She is the only survivor of coup d’état that killed almost everyone from her caste. Now back on Earth she is sold into slavery. She is bound by the golden shackles to the rich and handsome Malek, her human master. She is forced to obey his every command or else suffer the consequences.

“Granting wishes is a bitch.”

Meet Nalia, the protagonist of the story. She is a Ghan Aisouri, a jinni who can access the power of all four elements. What a perfect way to introduce yourself, young lady. I instantly fell in love with her. She is a remarkable heroine, feisty, strong and is willing to admit that she can be vulnerable. She also has a very great humor. She keeps the book going.

Malek is such an enigma. He certainly has the charms to make everyone fall in love with him and he can also be cruel if the situation requires it. He makes it easy for everyone to warm to him despite his misgivings. It’s the era of I-love-hot-villains.

“You see now, don’t you?” he whispered, his voice tender, but his onyx eyes hard. “We need to be together, you and I. This fighting –it only brings us sadness, no?”
“Yes, Master.”

Meet Raif, the leader of Arjinna’s revolution. He promises to free Nalia in exchange for an unbearably high price. He is your norm Young Adult hero, selfless and would do anything for the greater good.

“You make me so godsdamn angry, Raif! How do you do that?”
His lip curled up. “Special talent of mine.”

Yes, certainly. There is plenty of kissing and fondling involved.
Exquisite Captive tackles challenging matters like SLAVERY.

While there are some parts of the novel that might make some uncomfortable, the story telling is immensely sweeping making the flaws glide smoothly. There was never a dull moment. The pace is just perfect. The writing was great. We already established this book has a great set of main characters, brilliant plot and alluring romance. The world building is fantastic, a breath of fresh air. I finished it in one sitting. I can guarantee Exquisite Captive will pave the way for more genie books in the future.
Profile Image for Alyssa.
1,069 reviews843 followers
October 7, 2014
***Review posted on The (YA) Bookcase! blog***

***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios
Book One of the Dark Caravan Cycle
Publisher: Balzer+Bray
Publication Date: October 7, 2014
Rating: 4 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher/The (YA) Bookcase

Summary (from Goodreads):

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.

What I Liked

Ahhhh, jinni-related books are totally awesome, in my opinion. There aren't too many in YA literature, but in general. I LOVE them. The Fire Wish by Amber Lough came out earlier this year and I LOVED it. I mentioned this book in that review, so it's only fair that I mention The Fire Wish in this review. I'm so glad that I enjoyed both books! Especially since I saw a particularly negative review for this book (very professional, but not positive at all), which turned me off a little. Still, I read this one and really liked it!

Nalia, the last Ghan Aisouri, is an enslaved jinn. Her master, the cruel but persuasive and wickedly handsome Malek, has asked for two wishes, and is holding on to his third wish. Meanwhile, Nalia's homeland is in the midst of the aftermath of a war and the continuation of a rebellion and power struggle. Nalia's kind, the Ghan Aisouri, have been destroyed (except her) - but they were the royalty. When a Djan, an enemy of the Ghan Aisouri, seeks out Nalia for help, Nalia can't refuse. But is the price of her freedom enslavement by another?

In the very beginning of this book, I was iffy. I already had low expectations because of that Goodreads review, though I was still excited about a jinni-related book. But I immediately didn't like Malek, or even Nalia, though I felt sooooo bad for her. When Raif showed up at the party, then I started to feel more for Nalia. Him being there... I felt like I understood Nalia more, perhaps because she had to reveal more to Raif.

I don't like Malek, won't like Malek, and will never hope for redemption for him. He's messed up, and totally out of chances, in my opinion. He hurt Nalia many times (mostly mentally, but physically too, by stuffing her in the iron jinni bottle, and grabbing her too hard). He thinks he's being merciful or whatever by not forcing himself on her. I hate him and his role in this book, though he is a totally necessary, well-developed character. Basically, Demetrios did a very good job of making me hate him (which was her goal, I'm sure).

I loveeeee Raif. He sees things very black-and-white, until he has to tangle with Nalia (he needs someone as powerful as a Ghan Aisouri for something very specific to help with the rebellion). They're enemies, their races of the jinni (Djan are serf, Ghan Aisouri are royalty), but he's totally smitten, by the end of the book. Raif is hardcore, but so sweet. He doesn't trust Nalia, but he falls for her.

Nalia... I like her. My heart aches for her, and the decisions that she had to make. I get it, even if I hate it. She IS brave, braver than I could be, in that regard. I love that she gets someone to love and someone to love her back, by the end of this book. She deserves it.

I LOVE THE ROMANCE. Okay, I hate the insinuated love triangle. I hate that Nalia has to do certain things with and to Malek (it never goes that far, trust me), and she basically has to deceive him to make him think she loves him. BUT. The real romance? The true pair? Love it. Love them. Raif and Nalia are a great forbidden romance pair.

There is so much history to this book. A huge part of the world-building is the amount of history and customs and prejudices and things of the jinni world. Nalia's kind, the Ghan Aisouri, were slaughtered, and the Djan are leading a rebellion. By historic and modern means, Nalia and Raif hate each other. Or they should. They're on opposite sides. But their budding relationship is symbolism, I suppose.

This book is completely in third person (yay!), but it is not just Nalia's third-person limited perspective. We also get Raif's third-person limited perspective, and isolated chapters following someone else (see the next paragraph).

I love the rising action building towards the climax. There are chapters/scenes that break from Nalia's or Raif third-person perspectives - these chapters/scenes that are different are set in different countries, and follow this sinister ghoul who is preying on jinni females... looking for Nalia. This leads up to the climax - which is epic, by the way.

I really, really enjoyed this book! I'm really excited to see where the next book takes us. There are so many things to be solved/explored... the sigil, the dark caravan, Nalia and Raif's relationship... let's go, Blood Passage, I'm ready for you!

What I Did Not Like

Obviously, I didn't like Malek and his relationship with Nalia and how Nalia had to convince him that she loved him. It was borderline sickening... but I suppose that goes to show how well Demetrios set up this part of the story. It will break your heart though, or piss you off. Just be warned.

Also, I think think this book could have been cut down some. It didn't need to be as long as it did - I hear some people saying that they're losing interest and might not finish. Well, personally, I think you SHOULD finish, but I understand what you're saying. It gets REALLY good in the second half though...

Would I Recommend It

In my very honest opinion... YES! Of course! I love fantasy, I love jinni-related books, I love book with Arab influence, and I love a good forbidden romance. The romance in this book really is seductive and thrilling! Once you realize that there really is no love triangle.

I repeat, there really is no love triangle. Says the queen of I-hate-love-triangles-they-can-go-die.
Profile Image for TJ.
980 reviews119 followers
April 9, 2016

Why this book?
I heard about it from Angel Erin

What I thought

I'm a huge fan of jinn stories and this one was awesome! This book was filled with magic, terrific world building and amazing characters. Nalia is a great proganoist she was feisty, strong and determined . There's sorta a love triangle in this book but then again kinda not. This book was highly entertaining and there was never a dull moment. With that said, can I say how much I love Raif he is just plain Swoonworthy!
Profile Image for Jess.
470 reviews598 followers
November 14, 2014
We should all know by now that I’m drawn to fictitious characters that ooze power, mystery and wealth. The last part ties in with my tendency to flaunt my shallowness but that’s a story for another day.

You see, there was one real motivator in this one for me and it is a he that goes by the name of Malek. That’s right—the rather abusive slave master (and also a deadringer, characterisation wise, for the Darkling). And I know that that sounds all kinds of wrong and I realise that it’s socially frowned upon and whatnot but the heart wants what the heart wants (in saying that, the heart definitely does not want nor does it condone abusive behaviour).

Exquisite Captive is yet another one of 2014’s controversial releases. It’s Demetrios’ first foray into fantasy and hell, I’m impressed. Jinnis (or as us mere mortals know it, genies) are an undiscovered terrain in YA (yes, those still exist) and, if I may say so, Demetrios has set the bar high.

In saying that, fantasy can be a tough nut to crack and the issue is always with the world building. With fantasies we want beautiful and intricately crafted worlds and we want them without the info dumps (we’re picky nowadays, aren’t we?) And as always, we get one of these elements at the sacrifice of the other. Yes, there were info dumps because, you know what, it’s hard to conjure a complex world, system, rules and whatnot and those are a must when it comes to fantasy. I’m sure there are a few out there who have the ability to create the best of both worlds and I’m sending snaps their way but most of the time, we have to compromise. While I adored the caste system that Demetrios created, the Gods, the mystic land of Arjinna, my head did hurt here and there. But you know what, it was probably worth it in the here and now. Look at it like this: come book two I’ll remember close to nothing, go into the sequel perpetually confused and come out a little enlightened, a little peeved with my new migraine.

There's also quite a bit of inaction and procrastination in this one. Much like Hamlet and yet not because let's get real here, Hamlet wasn't going about it via the art of seduction. I however didn't mind it as much, purely because Naila, your protagonist, is a feisty soul who loves a bit of humour and remains loyal to her cause. That's admirable.

I’m sure everyone’s talked your heads off about all the other elements so let’s get into the nitty gritty and take apart what I’ve been dying to have a go at: the romance. When you read a premise with two male characters named, the first train of thought is a one way trip to the land of love triangles. And if that is what’s putting you off then fear no longer. There are two relationships explored but one that is obviously unhealthy and frowned upon. Unlike others, Demetrios does not romanticise an abusive relationship. Abuse is abuse. It shan’t be confused for love, lust, care or whatever the heck it is that is often used to justify such atrocious behaviour.

“In his own warped up, insane way, Malek thinks he actually cares about me.”

I will dig deeper into my opening statement though. Malek’s your slave master, your terribly abusive captor turned supposed love interest, your ball of mystery. Yes, while I do not condone the relationship, I do have a weak spot for Malek. Call me dangerously curious, but there’s something absolutely magnetic about the perplexing nature of Malek. He has a disregard for morals. He has a hidden past. He owns the one car that I favour above everything else. Sure, I may be slightly drawn to the money (he owns a fucking Lotus and Aston Martin, I think I just sold my soul away), but it’s the greater mystery that surrounds him that lures me in.

Everything in life points to liking Raif. He’s fighting for the bloody greater good and here I am, pining and wondering over a man who probably knows nothing of selflessness and empathy. And you know why? It’s because I’m bored by the revolutionary fighter. What I read for is character development and if a character is intrinsically good then where is his character going to go? In YA there’s one way to go and it’s up and if a character is already ruling the heavens with his kind and soft soul then were the hell is he going to go next?

And you know what, kids? There was yet another small of the back scene (because someone out there knows of my weakness and is spreading the word.)

“Nalia’s master placed a hand on the small of her back and she stiffened”

Must you do this to me? How could I not be intrigued by that. I’m doomed because this ends well for one side and it’s the side that I’m obviously not on. Howdy ho, you just love to torture yourself, don’t you kiddo? I’ll be back for more painful “can not be’s” in book two.
Profile Image for Rashika (is tired).
976 reviews710 followers
September 20, 2019
I think the most important thing for everyone to know is that this isn’t a book for everyone. Some people will hate it and get so disgusted that they’ll have to give up and other people are going to love this. I know I did. Of course, had I not known a certain tid bit before, I probably wouldn’t have.

Before going into this book, you need to know that there is an awkward love triangle and one of the relationships in this love triangle is unhealthy and abusive. It’s not meant to be romantic though and that’s what you need to know. You need to know that this disgusting relationship isn’t being romanticized. In fact it’s the exact opposite. You’re meant to hate it with every fiber of your being.

Let’s start at the beginning thought. Let’s start with Nalia. Nalia is an amazingly strong female lead and you feel for her. Sold off in the slave trade when just 15, with her entire race dead and the only surviving member of her family, her brother, sent to work camp, you feel for her. She does not have it easy. Especially given that she has a crazy captor.

Malek is cruel yet on top of that all, he is also very emotionally manipulative. Nalia, having been mistreated for so long, living only on the hope of seeing her brother and freeing him, is immediately drawn by his ‘gentle’ side and falls for his lies. I say lies because no matter how much he claims to love her, he will never see her as anything but a possession.

It will break your heart to see her go through all these ordeals and when Raif comes into the picture, you cheer, you cheer like crazy and hope for Nalia to snap out of it and realize how unhealthy her relationship with Malek is. It’s beautiful to watch her go through that character development.

Raif is a wonderful character AND a love interest. What I love about him is that in spite of everything, he does put his faith in Nalia, he chooses to trust her. It isn’t that he isn’t vary of her, heck yeah he is but seeing that he needs her help, he, in the end, chooses to trust her instead of making the whole thing some awkward dance.

It’s why their romance is so beautifully developed. It starts with variness of one another and leads to trust. It may be a tad fast paced but it’s still no less wonderful. Romance based on trust rocks doesn’t it?

The world building in this book is amazing. Heather does NOT hold back on us. She uses her gorgeous prose to paint beautiful pictures of Arjinna. That isn’t it though, she makes this world come to life by creating different races of jinnis thereby giving the book her own original twist and she also throws in a fun language.

The plot was amazing. It keeps you on the edge of your seat, on the tip of your toes and you kind of just fly through the book. I mean it’s a big book but I was surprised by how quickly I got through it. The stakes are quite high in the book which really does amp up the anticipation levels.

I am definitely looking forward to where things will go with the sequel and I only hope that Raif and Nalia’s relationship improves.

I’d recommend this to anyone who is looking for something a little more original in Paranormal YA and won’t mind feeling some discomfort in the search of a good book.
February 7, 2017
Nalia and Malek= not good dor my emotions...

This is probably not good for my health, or Nalia's, but i ship them. The feels i got with their moments were just... Aaaaahhh! Tender is not exactly the word, but it comes close. And i see valid points for my ship:

*I am not influenced by teenage-not-so-teenage sensation Zayn Malik...
1Just think of it, Nalia+Malek, malek+Nalia (just beautiful)
2 Since Malek is
3I'm not a fan of captive romance, but spread the love

As for the rest of the story, the cliffie did nothing for me. I don't think i'll read the next book.

Ricchi, Rifie or whatever his name is, is a necessary character, but unnecessary love-interest. After "everything" Nalia has done, our poor hero won't get over it. Unnecessary bad things will go through them, and they'll be in an eternal rough patch. Whereas with Malek (like in any other captive-captor romance) Nalia will forget about all the pain, and see what Malek truly needs, somebody to love him like he loves them. There are real feels.
Profile Image for summer.
248 reviews298 followers
January 14, 2015
DNF review

Oh, Lord. I hate to admit this, but I was relieved to call it quits after resentfully trudging through 162 pages of dryness. There were quite a bit of problems I had with this book--mostly personal issues as opposed to technical--and they all hindered my enjoyment of the novel tremendously. I was very much anticipating this book, and the issues I had with it coupled with the immense amount of hype it had been receiving resulted in a very disappointed girl.

A few months ago, I read The Fire Wish and reviewed it . I quite liked it and thought it was a step in the right direction for the Middle Eastern fantasy genre. The same, however, cannot be said of Exquisite Captive. I am of Middle Eastern decent, so I know a bit about Jinn. To be frank, I don't really like how Demetrios handled the topic of Jinn; her approach just doesn't sit right with me. Maybe I didn't read enough of the story for me to make a fair assessment of this, but as far as I got, I did not feel any sense of Arabic folklore the synopsis boasts of. It felt as if I was reading some over-exoticized, cliched version of an authentic tale that tries way too freaking hard to be "oriental."

Hey, blame the summary for my uncharacteristically high expectations.

What bothered me the most, or rather who, was the master, Malek. The guy just made me extremely uncomfortable. The image I had of him was one of those stereotypical Saudi oil men you see in movies with tons of money and nowhere to put it. He was abusive and violent, and the fact that he would become a potential love interest later on made me reluctant to continue.

Raif, the revolutionary leader, was just an all-around jerk. And Nalia somehow found his jerk-ness admirable???

Speaking of the protagonist, no matter how hard I tried, I simply could not sympathize with Nalia. She wasn't unlikable, per se, but it was difficult for me to see from her point of view. Her awe-inspiring beauty was shoved down my throat so many times that I had to suppress the urge of throwing the book at the wall. Based on the back-story we were given, she undoubtedly had a cruel past, so does that make me a horrible person if I didn't really... care? (Don't answer that.)

As I said, the overall atmosphere was overly exoticized, mostly due to the relentless worldbuilding. There were constant references to... a war? Different races of Jinn? It wasn't explained very well so I was left feeling confused instead of intrigued. Alongside these tirades would be pages upon pages describing Malek's mansion and Nalia's beautiful dresses and the lavish parties and materialistic things I didn't care about. Can you blame me for DNFing?

I can definitely see the appeal in Exquisite Captive, and it'll most likely be a successful series, but it just didn't work for me nor it did hold my attention captive (see what I did there). I'd recommend to those who like fantasy with a heavy dose of romance.
Profile Image for Giselle.
1,057 reviews907 followers
March 31, 2016
An Electronic Advanced Reader Copy was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss for review.

I thought this was going to have a ton of magical elements and crazy wishes but it ended up being a romance. And not a very good one either because there were two men vying for her attention. One ended up being her master because let's face it she's a jinni and she has to obey him no matter what. He ended up being the creepiest master ever. Saying he loves her yet he enclaves her and doesn't care when she disappears for hours away from the house. Um okay, talk about mixed signals? Then the other love interest at first sounded like he had promise. Then that went out the hill because it was way too fast. They didn't fall in love gradually and it was just so complicated. I pretty much didn't care for the characters especially for Nalia. She is super judgmental and prejudiced against the "lower" castes of her world and it irritated me to no end when she pulled her superiority complex on the others. 

The biggest problem for me was the pacing, it was too long and too dragged out.. Barely anything happened until 70% in and that's too long of a time to stay with a book. The plot needs to grip you from the start and this one sadly did not. Also way too much romance that I couldn't feel. 

It's hard to like a book when you dislike the characters or they don't end up dong much except all the wrong things. I'm just sad this wasn't executed to my liking because it had a lot of promise.



"I wonder if fighting him is worth it."

"Just because you had the power to do something didn't mean you should."

"Hate keeps you alive. Makes you strong. Love? Is weakness."

"It's always best to do the right thing. Always."

"I'm not brave, I'm desperate."

"To have a point, to have a purpose, was its own kind of freedom."

"How can something so wonderful come from something so bad?"

"We fight because we love, not in spite of it."
Profile Image for Keertana.
1,127 reviews2,172 followers
July 3, 2014
Where Heather Demetrios's Something Real battered its fists on my radar for weeks--the media onslaught of this novel breaking through the tiniest of crevices--Exquisite Captive practically slipped under my notice entirely. Something Real failed to entice me with its reality television plot line--likely because my idea of television is the Food Network--but Exquisite Captive captured my imagination from its cover and title alone. The Arabian Nights and other Middle Eastern legends have gone unexplored for too long, so for Demetrios to break down that barrier and weave a fantastical tale of her own, drawing from ancient lore and myth, was to break down the barrier into my heart as well. While Exquisite Captive is certainly not without its flaws, its original storyline, complex characterization, and truly exquisite world-building allow this novel to transcend its limitations.

Exquisite Captive is told primarily from the third-person perspective of Nalia, a young jinni princess who has been captured and sold into slavery. Malek, her ruthless master, uses Nalia to further his large clientele, all the while holding her freedom out of reach as he refuses to make his third--and final--wish. In her homeland, Arjinna, Nalia is the last of her kind--a jinni race who can control all four elements--and thus the rightful heir to the throne. After witnessing the dark fire jinn slaughter her family and take over the crown, Nalia barely escaped with her life only to be shackled to the dark caravan where thousands of jinn are sold to human masters, serving their lords on Earth. Nalia would do anything to regain her freedom and return to Arjinna--not to reclaim her throne but to find her younger brother who she loves dearly. Anything, including seducing her master, Malek, and striking a bargain with Raif, the leader of the Arjinnian revolution. Raif represents the castes of other jinn in Arjinna--jinn whose magic only extends over one element. For years, Nalia's kind has ruled, withholding valuable training from the other jinn in Arjinna and looking down upon all those not royalty. Thus, the last thing Raif wants is to see the throne reclaimed but he needs Nalia's help--and can secure Nalia's freedom if she wrests her bottle away from her master. With the rumors of a live Arjinnian princess, an assassin is painstakingly hunting for Nalia across the Earth and the clock is ticking. Now, the only question left is who will kill Nalia first: the assassin, or Malek when he discovers her betrayal?

Demetrios has created such a rich, tangible world in Exquisite Captive. What I appreciated about her prose is the fact that she never resorts to info-dumping. Instead, with short, selective flashbacks and believable dialogue she creates Arjinna, a fictional realm which feels all too real. Yet, more than the complex backstory of a coup, social injustice, and violence Demetrios also discusses the dark caravan. Nalia, as a victim of the dark caravan, yearns for her freedom with an aching pain that is all to sharp. It is impossible not to pity her, empower her, and watch as she struggles to break from the chains of slavery that hold her back from her true destiny. With such a compelling background itself, it becomes impossible not to dive into this novel with our hearts in our throats, waiting to see if Nalia can overcome the odds stacked against her.

As a heroine, Nalia is impeccably written. On one hand, she's fiercely loyal to her younger brother--her only remaining family--and though we only know of him through brief flashbacks, the love she feels for him bleeds through the page. It is his face that keeps her enduring the tough situations she finds herself in and her courage, bravery, and strength are all admirable. Of course she is immensely powerful and her magic is a tool, but it is her inner-strength that this story allows us to see and it is that which makes her such an endearing protagonist. We know she isn't perfect--we've seen her perform unspeakable acts--but the double-edged sword of morality with which she does them cast her character in a different light. With all the blacks and whites swirling together to create so many shades of gray, it's impossible to wholly love or despise any one character in this tale, which I love.

Malek is, hands down, one of the most intriguing characters I've come across in fiction. In many ways, he reminds me of Javier Bernal from Karina Halle's The Artist Trilogy. As a master, Malek has tortured Nalia and been cruel to her, but he has also never forced himself upon her and she lives a lavish Hollywood lifestyle with him by her side. Moreover, Malek is slowly changing in his attentions towards Nalia; from master to lover. As he displays a tender, sweeter side to Nalia, she is all the more confused by her master's behavior. No matter what Malek may believe, Nalia is still forced to be subservient to him; obeying his orders, working with his clients, and chained to his side. Yet, as Nalia discovers more and more about who Malek is, what his motivations are, and everything that drives him, both she and the reader cannot help but become more sympathetic towards this "villain." With his drop-dead good looks, charisma, and not-quite-a-villain personality, Malek is a force to be reckoned with both on the page and in our hearts. I could not bring myself to hate him, though I could not love him either. Nevertheless, his presence throughout the novel is unpredictable and keeps us on our toes, which I love. Out of all the characters I am most eager to re-visit in the sequels, Malek makes the top of that list--easily.

When Raif first burst onto the page, I stiffened up in alarm. After all, the presence of two handsome men usually screams "love triangle" in blaring neon lights. Yet, it quickly became apparent that the focus of Exquisite Captive was not on the romance, but rather the countless political issues plaguing these characters. Raif dislikes Nalia on sight as her claim to the throne represents everything he's been fighting, but he needs her help--desperately--and a bargain is struck between the two. Neither Nalia nor Raif trust one another but, as they grow to understand each other better, they cannot help but dissolve their first impressions. For me, Raif felt similar to a typical male protagonist in the sense that he's caring, his motives are largely selfless, and he forces the protagonist to witness her life through a new lens. Yet, it is the swirling darkness in Raif that sets him apart as, at a young age, he is carrying the hopes and dreams of an entire nation on his shoulders. It is practically impossible to dislike Raif, what with him being such a likable hero and all, but his presence in the story thankfully transcends that of a mere romantic interest.

Granted, there is a love triangle of sorts at play here but, because of the manner of Nalia's relationships with these two men, we know exactly which love story is doomed from the start. It's still a treat to watch everything play out, but it becomes clear just who Nalia wants by the end of this novel. If it's going to work out in the future is still largely unclear, but who Nalia's heart belongs to isn't murky in the least. Nevertheless, I do feel as if the main romance arc played out a liiiitle too quickly for my liking; at least in the sense that it jumped from "like" to "love" really fast. Another quibble came from the perspectives of the assassin sent after Nalia--after a point, each chapter featuring the assassin's hunt for Nalia across Earth began to read a bit too similar. Moreover, the jarring presence of these chapters interrupted the flow of the story, at times, which was a bit disappointing.

With those exceptions, however, Exquisite Captive contains a fascinating growth arc, even more intriguing characters, and a world heavy in darkness but not without hope. I, for one, cannot wait to see where this story continues in the sequel and its unpredictability is an aspect I've really enjoyed of it. I will say, however, that this is a tale where emotional connection is key. Having been emotionally embroiled in this novel, I found it impossible to set down and my heart bled for each of these characters; for the loss they'd sustained from the past and for the loss they'd continue to sustain in the future. It straddles the line between young adult and new adult (though I'd have loved for this to be more strongly new adult, in some departments) and, as such, the growth is so relevant and realistically drawn. Without a doubt, Exquisite Captive is one of the more surprising reads of the year and Something Real cannot fall into my hands fast enough; if it has even a quarter of the heart and soul that Exquisite Captive contained, I know I'll fall in love.
Profile Image for Alyssa.
632 reviews596 followers
September 3, 2015
After reading and enjoying I’LL MEET YOU THERE by the same author, I had to have more of Demetrios’ writing. EXQUISITE CAPTIVE did have the descriptive writing that was easy to fall into from I’LL MEET YOU THERE, but every other aspect couldn’t have been more different.

A romance-centric plot can work. It worked fantastically in THE WRATH AND THE DAWN and A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES, particularly because the two still had other elements and the romance itself was enjoyable. It definitely did not work here.

There is a love triangle. It can be argued that it’s not a true love triangle, but due to the main character’s swaying feelings, I think it was. Due to this setup, there was just too much angst, jealously, and confusion. One love interest is abusive and the other, while nice, seemed based on insta-love. Well, hatred then insta-love. Which is still insta-love to me even if she first hated him.

Still, the romance wasn’t even my largest issue with the book. What bothered me the most was the huge focus on materialism and the constant parties. Having brands in books, particularly one like this that is supposed to be fantasy, really takes me out of the story. I understand that there are two worlds and one is modern society but I couldn’t care less about what type of fancy car the characters drive or what brand of suit the love interest wears or how much something costs. Especially when it happens all the time.

I didn’t really connect to the main character, Nalia, that much either. She makes poor decisions and doesn’t seem to learn anything from them. Although I do have sympathy for her because she has been through some hardships, she still came off as somewhat of an immature and hesitant protagonist that doesn’t really do anything, despite the fact that she is “all powerful.”

Add in cringe-worthy moments and some poor attempts at humor, and this one just wasn’t for me, which really was a shame because I enjoyed the author’s contemporary books and this one sounded so good.
Profile Image for Zemira Warner.
1,569 reviews1,043 followers
October 16, 2014
Woohooo! I loved it! Well, everything except the love triangle. One love interest was hot as hell and had actual chemistry with the main character while the other one was limp as a dead fish and the insta-love was out of control.

Team Malek for the win! While I was reading this book I couldn't help but compare it with Shatter Me, because of the love triangle. The guys are very similar. And if you know me at least a little bit, you know I tend to ship the more complicated(read-the right) pairing.

Naila, the main character didn't annoy me, like some other MCs in paranormal or fantasy novels do. Well, she's not perfect and I was judging falling for a guy she knew for a couple of days. I was like


Gurl, why you kissing this limp fish?! Oh, well... I guess you need to learn a Adam Kent lesson. Haha I can't wait for the messy drama in the sequel.

Sorry for writing such a lame review. I plan to write a full, serious one closer to release date, in September.
Profile Image for Dana.
440 reviews290 followers
August 8, 2017
Micro Review (courtesy of my two year old.)

Despite the title awkwardly sounding like a very erotic romance book, I quite enjoyed this novel. The story centers around Nalia, a powerful Jinni trapped in servitude to a cruel and mysterious master. When she finally gets a chance at freedom its only through a tense alliance with an enemy.

I loved the story, I was on the edge of my seat for much of it. The relationships were my favourite part. They were so well done, the relationship between Nalia and her master felt very realistically complicated. The sequel looks good too but for some reason I'm not in a rush to read it. Probably just due to my huge tbr pile.

Buy, Borrow or Bin Verdict: Buy

Check out more of my reviews here
Profile Image for Erin Dunn.
Author 3 books88 followers
April 7, 2016

First of all thank you to the author for providing me with a copy of Exquisite Captive that I won in a giveaway. This in no way influenced my opinion on the book. Also, I can't recall where I won the book from (sorry :x), but thank you to whoever hosted the giveaway!

While I haven't read many books with Jinn characters, I am really intrigued by stories involving Jinn. So I was really excited to read Exquisite Captive, but I wasn't 100% sure what to expect. When I first started reading this book I had fallen into a small reading slump and thankfully this book helped pull me out of it. Thank goodness this novel was so good otherwise I would have fallen into a big reading slump! EEK!

I am really pleased with how original the story felt, but it kept some great tropes that I just love. I am always happy when a book can blend something unique with a few loved tropes. The whole tone and mood of Exquisite Captive was just on point. This book has a captivating blend of fantasy, mythology, magic, Jinn, and rebellion.

Okay, I have to say it... I kind of like Malek. Not at the beginning of the book, but then he grew on me. I got a bit of Stockholm syndrome on Nalia's behalf for Malek for a bit. However, I LOVED Raif!! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. I can't wait to see what will happen with Nalia and Raif in the next books. I also can't wait to find out what will happen with the Jinn homeland, Arjinna. I would like to know more about Arjinna in general. The parts where we learned a little about Arjinna were very intriguing to me.

Overall Exquisite Captive is very well done. Everything from the world building and mythology to the story and the characters are just perfect. The whole book is exquisite! I do have to say that there were a few slower parts that you may have to push through, but those parts are valuable to the overall story. It's totally worth it, I promise!

I recommend Exquisite Captive to anyone interested in books about Jinn.

Profile Image for Lucia.
735 reviews815 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
November 19, 2015
DNF at 16% - no rating.

I just don’t get captor/captive stories when bond is created between cruel master and his slave. Reading about attraction and hormones overpowering someone’s sense of humanity and pride...that is not my thing. It makes my blood boil and I had no other choice but put this book away immediately after reading one particular scene. * beware, minor spoilers ahead * How could Nalia want to kiss someone who kept her as his slave? She has been his slave for three years. Three years which she spent hating him, undergoing his tyranny, trying to escape him, seeing him doing all this terrible things to other people... And still, she wants to keep kissing Malek, her master, when he is charming to her for the first time? I do not get that. * end of minor spoilers *

Story itself and characters weren’t holding my attention since beginning and once I reached THE scene (see above) I had enough. It is real shame because I loved all other books by this author and was really looking forward to reading this one as well.
Profile Image for Elena.
480 reviews4 followers
June 22, 2019
Who was the lucky girl that got to read this book early? ME!

The only problem with reading it early is that now I have to wait even LONGER for the next book!!

As I think the description pretty much covers the synopsis, I will just give some impressions.

* I liked the amount of humor in the book. There are a lot of dark themes going on and I thought the humor was well placed and not overdone.

* I really enjoyed the characterization. I felt that the characters were multidimensional and INTERESTING.

* I thought the relationships between the characters were strong and believable.

* The emotional and sexual tension between certain characters = HOT HOT HOT.

* I enjoy fantasy, but tend to get overwhelmed and frustrated quickly if things aren't explained to me or if there is an overabundance of information right away. I feel this book balanced my frustrations quite nicely. It didn't explain everything right away, but came in soon enough to curb my frustrations.

* The girl character is not whiny, not clumsy, not awkward, is strong and vulnerable and amazing and and and YES.

I will be handing this book to my book club girls when it comes out. I can't recommend it enough!

First read January 18th, 2014
Second reading June 2014
Third reading April 29th, 2015
Profile Image for Elena.
570 reviews181 followers
April 7, 2015
I am so happy right now. Exquisite Captive easily became one of my new favourites! Maybe I'm in the minority when it comes to this book, because other people had quite some issues with the pacing , but I truly adored this book! I was engrossed right from the first page on and the only reason it took me a few days to finish this was, that I actually put it off, because I didn't want it to end. This is something that shows me I not only loved a book, but I was very invested. Also, all the time I wasn't reading it, I couldn't stop thinking about it!
I was expecting to like this book, because...duuuh it is about Jinnis! Enough said.

''Nalia kept her eyes on him until the smoke unraveled her, throwing her into the night sky in a burst of perfumed evanescence. She was cloud and wind and moon, fragmented, yet suddenly whole. For just that brief moment, al she knew was the feel of the cool night on her skin and the closeness of the stars. Then she was gone.''

That's right. Our main protagonist can evanesce. HOW. FREAKING. COOL. IS. THAT?!
The whole world Heather Demetrios created in this book was simply fantastic. I loved everything about the different types of Jinnis, about their world and especially about their powers.

''She was the current that had 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.''

Our main protagonist Nalia had a lot of different abilities and it was so much fun to discover more about her, her past and abilities! As a character I found her to be very interesting and different. She belongs to the most powerful caste of the Jinnis, so she is definitely no damsel. Which I loved. She was feisty, strong and hilarious. I simply adored her as a main character.

Unfortunately this story contains a love triangle. But, at least for me, even that was a somehow different experience. I loved both of those guys for entirely different reasons! I have two kinds of love interest I always root for. This is the first book that had both of these kinds as love interests.
You see my desperation? :'D

''He cupped her face with his hands. 'If he'd killed you... I think I would have burned the whole world down.'''

On one hand we have Malek. The not so nice guy, which suddenly is nice, but somehow isn't and you can't decide whether to love him or just spit in his face. Seems confusing, right? It is. He is definitely the most complex character in this book. You just don't know how to feel about him. In some way you love him, but you know that is just wrong.
Well, I'm a sucker for characters like this. (*cough* Warner.)

Then there is Raif. He's a Jinni as well, not implicitly as powerful as Naila, which was very refreshing to read about, and he is a complete asshole. Naila and Raif fight all the time, especially because they are supposed to be enemies. But...you know what fights like these lead to. :P
Like I said, he is mean, but in the course of this book, we get to see another side of him.
I'm a sucker for characters like this as well.
Nice. :'D

''Nalia's eyes, filling.
Her heart, crumbling.
Her hate, stirring.''

I can't express how much I loved this book. The writing style was captivating, amazing and easy to follow. Even though there is a lot to take in about this whole world, I felt like Heather Demetrios was able to visualize everything without boring me.

I'm HIGHLY recommending this!
Profile Image for nick (the infinite limits of love).
2,120 reviews1,364 followers
September 30, 2014

The first time I read Exquisite Captive, I shut the book and decided that I didn't have very good feelings about it. After I calmed down, stalked the author's Twitter page for updates, I decided to give it a second shot and my opinion of the book definitely improved. Exquisite Captive is undoubtedly not going to be the book for everyone, mostly because of the love triangle, but it is a book that also attempts to send out a social message, which I have come to expect from every Heather Demetrios book.

As I mentioned, my relationship with this book was shaky at best in the beginning. I was utterly confused and I had no clue as to what was going on, mostly because of all the different jini species and their special abilities. Once I decided to screeshot the glossary, I had a better hang of it. The world building progressively got better as I became more and more involved in the book and by the end, I was absolutely fascinated. Heather Demetrios definitely created a fantasy world, but she tackled themes such as slavery and discrimination in a tactful way. I was a teensy bit disappointed that the book didn't have more of a Middle-Eastern desert setting (it's set in LA), but I think the next book will have us traveling to different places. That doesn't mean Exquisite Captive was devoid of any Middle-Eastern culture though. It was the complete opposite. I loved how the book was brimming with culture. I'm in interested to see where the world building is heading to in the next installment.

As far as the main character, Nalia, went she was the kind of character who slowly grew on me. I wasn't convinced with her character at first because of the way she allowed her master Malek to treat her so disrespectfully, but it soon became clear that she was suffering from Stockholm Syndrome. I was frustrated by many of her actions throughout the book, but I understood where she was coming from, and by the end, I loved how badass she had become. She has the potential to became a fabulous character throughout the series and I'm excited for the prospect. The romance was very complicated, or so it appeared at first. I was convinced that this would wind up being a frustrating love triangle where the girl fell for the abusive master, but while Nalia definitely leads Malek on, she had her reasons which became clear as the story progressed. I personally don't think that Malek will ever be a contender for Nalia's heart and the author has confirmed this on Twitter (if I read into her Tweets well). I personally thought she was trying to make a point by depicting Nalia and Malek's relationship : the cycle of abuse and how difficult it is for victims to break away from that cycle. The real love interest, Raif was a sweetheart. He was rough around the edges, but he was devoted to his clan and to his sister. While many readers found him to be boring, I found him to be the opposite of that. She was swoony, enigmatic and absolutely a good guy (which is HOT in my opinion). I did think the "I love yous" in their relationship came a little too fast, but it didn't bother me as much because their chemistry was smoldering.

Heather Demetrios is one talented author. There is an addictive quality to her writing that sucked me in from the first page and reading the book the second time around just proved further about how gorgeous writing is. Like I said, Exquisite Captive isn't going to be a series for everyone, but it's worth a try. It's rich, romantic and beautifully written! I can't wait for the second book!
Profile Image for Nasty Lady MJ.
1,060 reviews16 followers
October 10, 2014
To see full review click here

Maybe this is a case of over hype. Part of this book really worked for me, but part of it. Not a fan.

Also, what probably makes me even more bias is that I really enjoyed Demetrios’s debut.

So, obvious this book should be awesome.

Wasn’t though.

But it wasn’t terrible.

It really did have a lot of things going for it. I really enjoyed the world building. Not only was it wonderfully woven in throughout the story, but the map and info sheets were actually helpful. There were a flew blips there and there that lead me to think plot holes, but I tried to avoid thinking of them and for the most part they weren’t that annoying.

I also enjoyed the main character. Nalia seemed like a fully developed character and even though I’m not a huge fan of third person it was alright here. I feel like for the story it was probably a good idea, and it is something different for Demetrios. Something Real was written in first.. I really was sort of surprised how much I liked Nalia because a lot of things in the novel should’ve added up to Mary Sue (she had purple eyes and is the last of her kind), but surprisingly she’s not. She’s oddly flawed.

However, even though Nalia can defy cliches doesn’t mean her men can.

Both male leads are douches. Though, I’m actually rooting for the technically bigger douche of the two. Mainly because at least he admits he’s a douche.

As for Raif…




His douchey actions are “noble”. It’s okay he treats the lead like crap when he doesn’t even know her.

Of course, he has pretty green eyes to makeup for it and that’s all that matters.




Besides, being a self righteous twat, he really lacks a personality. Which is odd, because we actually have scenes that take place in his POV. But he is Edward Cullen bland I cannot care less.

Now, Malik on the other hand. Sadistic bastard, yes, but actually an interesting character. You know, I actually hate shipping the sadistic bastard ship because I know it is grossly unhealthy. Especially since I took a human trafficking course in law school and I know how much power and control the sadistic bastard exerts over the main character. But Jesus…it’s a more compelling relationship.

And maybe he can be reformed like a certain beastly Disney character. All the seeds are there.

And now I feel like I have to bathe in bleach for rooting for said sadistic bastard.

Profile Image for Arooj .
529 reviews319 followers
April 28, 2016
Oh my god, oh my god, OH MY FREAKING GOD.

I started this book thinking it would go this way, but it ended up going a completely different way, and holy shit it was amazing. My gut feeling was right yet again.

I loved everything. Just-ugh. This was so damn good.

Read it, guys, just read it.
Profile Image for Teresa Sporrer.
Author 32 books196 followers
October 6, 2017
EDIT: Schreib grad die Rezi, muss einfach noch mal die Bewertung runtersetzen. Hab die Logiklöcher vergessen aus lauter Hass ^^

Zwei Punkte muss ich dem Buch lassen: Einfach für die Idee und die Dschinn-Welt, aber ich kann nichts lesen, wo eine Frau so herumgeschubst, gefoltert und beleidigt wird UND dann romantische Gefühle für so jemanden hegt-
Profile Image for Meli  .
1,103 reviews202 followers
October 10, 2017
Früher eine mächtige Kriegerin der Ghan Aisouri in ihrer Heimat Ardjinna ist Nalia jetzt nur noch eine Sklavin. Die Ifrit haben die Ghan Aisouri gestürzt und abgeschlachtet. Nur Nalia konnte entkommen - wurde dann aber an Malek verkauft. Sie ist an ihn gebunden, muss ihm dienen und im Glanz und Glamour von Los Angeles leben, bis er einen dritten Wunsch äußert - was er aber nicht vorhat, denn er will Nalia niemals gehen lassen.
Der Rebellenführer Raif kann ihren Bund lösen, doch der Preis ist hoch. Gleichzeitig sucht ein alter Feind nach der letzten Ghan Aisouri, daher bleibt ihnen nicht viel Zeit ...

Cover und Titel

Das Cover finde ich sehr hübsch. Jede der fünf Dschinn-Arten hat äußerliche Merkmale, und Lila gehört zu den Ghan Aisouri. Nalia muss ihr wahres Wesen verstecken, aber hier ist ein Mädchen mit violetten Haaren und Augen. Auch die orientalischen Details wie das Tuch und der Kopfschmuck gefallen mir sehr gut!
Der Jadedolch in Nalias Besitz spielt schon eine Rolle, aber meiner Meinung nach ist die nicht so wichtig, dass sie titelgebend sein müsste.

gehörte mal zur wichtigsten Gattung der Dschinn, denn als Ghan Aisouri beherrscht sie nicht eins, sondern alle Elemente und hat auch mehr Macht. Darum hat Malek sie auch gekauft. Nalia musste nicht nur mit ansehen, wie alle ihre Freunde getötet wurden, sondern ist nun selbst zur Sklavin geworden, während ihr kleiner Bruder in einem schrecklichen Arbeitslager schuftet. Sie schämt sich sehr für das, was aus ihr geworden ist, und was sie alles tun würde, um sich und vor allem ihren Bruder zu retten.
Sie hat Angst vor Malek und rebelliert, so gut sie kann, ohne sich selbst sehr zu schaden. Sie hasst ihn auch für die Dinge, die er ihr antut und sie tun lässt. Sie möchte ihm entkommen, hat aber kaum noch Hoffnung und fügt sich Malek meistens. Als er sich ihr annähert, ist sie absolut schockiert, sieht darin aber auch eine Chance. Und dafür hasst sie sich dann selbst.
Nalia läuft meist traurig und verstört durch die Welt, weil sie eben kaum noch Hoffnung hat, nach all den Dingen, die sie erlebt hat. Als letzte ihrer Art ist sie selbst ein Ziel für verschiedene Feinde und Malek macht ihr zusätzlich das Leben schwer. Sie versucht wieder einen Sinn in ihrem Leben zu finden und will um jeden Preis ihren Bruder beschützen, da bringt Raif neues Leben in sie: Sie ist wieder deutlich motivierter, etwas zu unternehmen!

ist der Rebellenführer, nachdem sein Vater viel zu früh gestorben ist und ihn ungewollt zu seinem Erben gemacht hat. Er möchte in Ardjinna vieles verändern, weil es seinem Volk sowohl dort als auch auf der Erde wirklich schlecht geht. Viele glauben an ihn und unterstützen ihn, aber sie haben trotzdem keine Chance gegen die Ifrit - darum braucht er Nalias Hilfe, um wirklich etwas bewirken zu können. Seine Familie und Freunde wurden wie alle anderen von den Ghan Aisouri unterdrückt und ausgebeutet, darum sieht er in ihr nur einen Mittel zum Zweck. Als er dann aber Mitgefühl für sie empfindet, als er sieht wie schlecht es ihr geht, fühlt er sich, als würde er seine Leute verraten. Keiner würde seine Gefühle für eine Ghan Aisouri verstehen können.
Er ist sehr ernst, weil eine schwere Last auf seinen Schultern liegt, aber er ist trotzdem ein netter Typ, der einen weichen Kern hat. Man muss ihn einfach mögen.

ist Raifs ältere Schwester und eine Seherin mit nicht ganz perfektionierten Fähigkeiten. Sie ist sehr freundlich und bildet daher einen Kontrast zu den anderen Hauptcharakteren, und das ist wirklich erfrischend. Sie liebt ihren Bruder und hat eigentlich die gleichen Ziele und Träume wie er. Auch kümmert sie sich um den Jungen, der viel zu früh so viel Verantwortung übernehmen musste.

Eigentlich war Malek immer so schlau und gerissen, hat mit Vorsicht gehandelt und war so berechnend, dass ich schon sehr enttäuscht war, wie dumm er handelt, wenn Nalia ihm schöne Augen macht. Dann ist er auf einmal so naiv und startet, nach allem, was er getan hatte, Annäherungsversuche! Und dann glaubt er auch noch, dass Nalia seine Gefühle erwidert. Also bitte, Malek! Er ist ein Mann voller Widersprüche, weil er eigentlich eiskalt manipuliert, aber wenn es um Nalia geht, wird er sehr sensibel. Er ist auf jeden Fall ein interessanter Charakter.

Handlung und Schreibstil

Letztendlich war ich ein klein wenig enttäuscht. Ich fand es eigentlich nicht langweilig, aber wenn ich zurückblicke, kommt es mir so vor, als wäre kaum etwas passiert. Nalia hat einfach versucht, Malek ihre Flasche zu klauen, was so gefährlich war, dass sie sehr lange dafür brauchte. Das war schon ziemlich frustrierend, wie sie sich immer wieder ganz schrecklich dabei fühlt und dann doch wieder etwas dazwischen kommt.

Sonst gefiel mir die Welt der Dschinn doch ganz gut. Die tollen Ghan Aisouri haben die anderen Arten unterdrückt, die Shaitan waren noch so etwas wie Adlige und die Marid und Djan waren wertlose Bauern und Sklaven. Also, es war nicht alles rosig, aber unter der Herrschaft der Ifrit ist es noch schlimmer. Darum gibt es noch immer die Rebellen, deren Anführer Raif geworden ist. Alle Dschinn hatten ein hartes Leben, egal, zu welcher Art sie gehören.
Also, mir gefiel diese Kulisse, und ich fand es auch gut, dass es nie wirklich gute Zeiten gegeben hat. Es gab immer Sklaverei und Ungerechtigkeit, während es manche viel zu gut hatten, diese Glück aber nicht teilten. Nalia macht neue Erfahrungen und ich denke, dass diese ihr helfen werden, gerechter zu handeln und Empathie zu empfinden.


Die Protagonisten fand ich alle sympathisch oder zumindest interessant und die Kulisse gefiel mir auch sehr gut. Mir ist ein bisschen zu wenig passiert, aber ich fand es trotzdem sehr spannend. Also hat "Nalia, die Tochter der Elemente - Der Jadedolch" sehr gut gefallen!
192 reviews98 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
July 15, 2015
DNF at 54%

This book reunited me with disappointment, my old friend.(So thanks, I guess?).

I decided I'd give this book a visually impaired chance because uh, instincts? But I think we all know the lovely cover played a role in that decision.

After reading this, I had two things in my mind, (1) I will not be doing the blind dive thing for a long time and (2) this book had oodles and oodles of potential. Wasted potential.

The starting was spectacular. I could see Nalia becoming what she was described as - "a Jinni of tremendous ancient power." I wanted to see this power, I wanted to see her kick some ass. I WANTED TO KNOW. Excitement, take over me.

And then a big POOF, followed by an eerie musical number.

I was dumped into a big mess of a love triangle, and Nalia was nothing but a weakling, falling into an abusive relationship and being unable to control her hormones.

As she drifted between two guys (and kissed back her abusive master Malek without 'realizing" it, uh) and went to a party or something, I almost forgot what this book was about.

Then we have the information dumps. I vaguely remember bidding the book a hasta la vista and dozing off when it happened for a second time. The flow of the plot was interrupted by the flashbacks and lengthy dialogues (a futile attempt at background information, I'm assuming).

So yes, it was overwhelming.

Like seriously, we ALREADY had a lot of information to grasp like what a handful of unfamiliar terms were and I just...I'm not interested in getting my brain fried, as of yet.

All in all, this book just didn't work for me.

Profile Image for Gelisvb.
340 reviews91 followers
August 27, 2016

Despite the title, that makes the reader think that is is going to be a particularly seedy, dark romance, this book has probably the most original plot that I've read this year.
It is complex and well thought and well written.
The story is about Nalia, a jinni enslaved by the darkly handsome and mysterious Malek .
Nalia is a jinni with secrets, lots of them. Raif is the leader of the revolution and needs Nalia help( he is the boy next door with emerald green eyes turned badass to avange is people) Nalia need Raif's help to be free of Malek. Problem: Malek is immortal and he always keeps Nalia's bottle(you remember Aladdin and the lamp? Something like that) around is neck.
I don't need to tell you that a love triangle follows(because, how is Nalia going to convice Malek to take the bottle off his neck).
The plot was intriguing enough( I know that my explanation of the plot sucks, but really it's not bad at all), so why three stars?
Because it was slow and i didn't ended up being invested in the charcters and I wasn't very interested in the love story.
That said I wish Nalia the best of luck with her quest(because there is a quest), I think that I will see her and her boys in 2017, when the third and last book comes out.
Would I recommend it? Sure, It won't change your life, but at least it's original.
October 3, 2014
Exquisite Captive was one of my most anticipated books of 2014. Just look at that gorgeous cover! But, it wasn’t just cover love that had me anticipating this book. The summary sounded so good and I loved the concept of the Jinni world and the message in the story. The fact that I’ve heard such good things about this author’s books just made me more excited to read this. If you know me, you know that I struggle with books that are over 400 pages. I’m just not a very patient person. I picked up my copy a few times, but the weight intimated me and it would go back on my shelves. I’m very thankful for Harper Teen for sending me an early audiobook copy. Despite it being more than 13 hours long, I breezed through the story and ended up listening to it in one day. I was addicted to Nalia and the fascinating and scary world that she lives in!

Nalia is a Jinni who is entrapped to her owner Malik until she grants him his 3 wishes. She’s magically bound to him and the her bottle and the shackles on her wrist. Despite the fact that he only has 3 wishes, he can also command her to do stuff as long as it’s not a wish. As a wealthy and successful businessman, he uses Nalia in several of his dealings. Nalia hates that Malik owns her, even though she is treated far better than other Jinni that are sold on the Dark Caravan. After spending years being punished by having to spend time in her bottle (which hurt the Jinni), Nalia has found a way to fight back smarter. She pushes the limits of what she can get away with, but when Malik starts treating her with kindness and starts developing feelings for her, Nalia knows playing into these new developments can be the only way to escape Malik and free her brother.

But then Nalia starts feeling confused and conflicted towards Malik’s new feelings toward her. When she meets the dark and brooding Raif, leader of the Arjinna’s revolution, Nalia’s sworn enemy, her plans are changed once again when he promises Nalia her freedom. Confused over her feelings over Malik, the guy she’s trying to escape, and Raif, her enemy, and running from her enemies, Nalia fears she is in far over her head. I wasn’t sure how to feel about the love triangle for most of this book, and I’m still not even sure if this really is a love triangle. I liked Malik and Raif, but both in different ways. When it came to Malik, it was a case of ‘too little too late’ and even though I felt things were a little bit rushed with Raif, I wanted a little bit more. I’m such a sucker for romance in books, but I did like that the focus of the story had more to do with the Jinni world as opposed to the love triangle. As of right now, I’m not on a clear side. I had positives and negatives (and several swoony moments) from both Malik and Raif, but I’m going to have to wait and see how everything will play off in the second book.

I was fascinated by the beautiful world that Demetrios’ created! Learning about the Jinni culture was my favorite part of the book. This is a big deal for me because I’m not a fan (most of the time) of Fantasy books and I feel a little bit lost on me when so much information is thrown my way. But, I have been stalking the author’s Pinterest boards (you should really check them out!) and she did such a great job setting the mood for this world. I could almost clearly picture the setting and the characters in my head. I love how she mixed the Middle-Eastern background with the busy life of modern-day Hollywood and how it had the perfect blend of ancient Jinni-culture and modern technology. This would make such an amazing movie. I would watch it for the setting (and clothing!) alone! Nalia was a character that I liked right away. Even though she had this horrible fate being forced to be owned by someone and grant them wishes, she was determined to free herself and save not only her brother, but other Jinni’s from having her fate. She was stubborn and she was brave and I can’t wait to see what she does next. Exquisite Captive was such a refreshing book. It was magical and had that sensual vibe to it. I love how it didn’t feel like it was dumbed down for YA. My smile was as big as the Cheshire Cat when I heard a couple of ‘fuck’s’ in there, cause yes, this is how most teens talk. Exquisite Captive isn’t just another book with a pretty cover. The story is just as beautiful on the inside and I love the message about slavery and freedom. I’m really excited for the next book but hate that the wait is so long.

Audiobook Comments: Audiobooks just make me happy. What would have taken me almost a week to read only took me a day to listen. I can handle Fantasy on audio so much better than when I actually read it. I’ve already listened to a book narrated by Erin Mallon and I really liked her, I knew right away that this was the way to go for me. Erin was such a wonderful narrator. There is a lot of Jinni culture and language in this book and Erin felt like such a natural at it. She portrayed Nalia perfectly and you could hear her anger and desperation at times. I love how she had a different and distinct ‘voice’ for each character, the kind where you just knew who was talking right away, which is so important in audiobooks. Exquisite Captive is one of my favorite audiobooks so far this year!

4.5 out of 5 stars!

Exquisite Captive by nereyda1003

Mood Board: Exquisite Captive

Read full review & more of my reviews at Mostly YA Book Obsessed

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Profile Image for Deyse .
290 reviews26 followers
May 4, 2016
Review originally posted here.

Ever since it was released I've been hearing mixed things about this tittle, some love it and some found it confusing and slow paced, I've to say that both are right and that I fall into these two categories. Reading this book was a roller coast ride but so far we only reached the peak, it started slow and it seemed we only are going straight but them there was some curves and twists and we started gaining velocity and going up and them it ended and I've to wait centuries for book 2 ugh.

So let me try to explain myself. The start is slow, really slow and there is A LOT of information being trow at you about the jinn mythology, their culture, gods, political system and following revolution, how they fit (or don't) on our world, basically Demetrios had a lot to cover to create this world on our heads, so give this book more than a 100 pages to grow on you, but of course if you're not a fan of slow starts maybe this will never really be your thing. For me it worked amazingly well, I read the first 100 pages really slowly in three days and it wasn't a bother for me because I was having tests and stuff so I wanted to read something slow, and them on the forth day I read the other 380 pages in a high and it was awesome.

I really loved the way this world of jinn and human was build, it was created and showed to us in a way that seemed 100% believable, I never asked myself if this could be real or not, if it was unrealistic or saw any plot holes, actually it's one of my favorite fantasy settings like ever. A lot of this is because of Demetrios writing, which is amazing and has a way to waver things like magic and curses together with chaotic Los Angeles setting and make it work, make it seems like that is the only possible place on the world for this to happen.

Now, as always, I can't not speak about the romance on this one and god, this made me feel things. So we have a love triangle, sort of, I mean you know who she is going to end up and it's pretty clear for who she has feelings but there is some other character and they have a dynamic of hatred and attraction, so things get a bit confusing some times. Let's talk about this secondary love interest first, so on my principles I should hate him with all my strength because it's a clear abusive relationship and he's basically a terrible person on all fronts, seriously there is no redeeming him but oh my god if I don't like the scenes between him and Nalia, he is so twisted that is fascinating, seeing his completely wrong ways of searching for love and affection was great and Demetrios wrote each scene in such a compelling way. On the other hand there is the actual love interest, who I'm not totally aboard with yet, I mean I was totally gonna go for that since it was a hate to love kind of thing but them a thing happen and all of sundenlly all the hate is gone and they are super sure they love each other and want to be together forever and ever and even risk things for each other, I was just surprised by this sudden change and it was too much instalove for me.

Overall this was a pretty solid start for a series that left me wanting the sequel, it has a unique and creative world building, strong characters and very twisted and complicated relationships, if you can get past the slow starts I highly recommend trying this one since I've not read anything like it on the YA section.
Profile Image for Eri.
595 reviews172 followers
September 14, 2015
I was expecting to like this book, but it ended up being one of my favorite fantasy reads this year. Exquisite Captive is a book that is as exquisite as its cover. This book follows the tale of a jinn with a haunted past, the cruel shackles that tie her to her ruthless master, and a revolutionary leader who is the last person she should trust.

Nalia is a survivor and a character who struggles constantly between the reality she lives in and the past she can never forget. Bound to obey Malek, the only thing that keeps her together is the thought of her brother. Powerful and enchanting, she is the last of a truly great line of jinn, but longs for freedom more than anything else.

She was the roar and the whisper and the stillness. She was nothing. She was everything.

I connected strongly with Nalia, particularly to her devotion to her younger brother and I admired her tenacity in the face of her captive state. Despite her awe-inspiring power, she is tormented by her past and the struggle of submitting to her fate. Raif gives her a chance to gain everything she has ever wanted and it was hard not to get caught up in the mind games she must play to reach her goal.

This is where we get to the part I enjoyed the most in this book. While the romance in this book was sweet and touching, the highlight for me was not this, but the convoluted relationship between Nalia and her master Malek.

The premise alludes to the terrible way that Malek has treated Nalia and the complex nature of the bond that these two characters have, but reading it, there is also another side to this relationship, one that is dangerous in nature for the vulnerable Nalia. And Demetrios does an excellent job at showing the dangers of an abusive relationship and the confusion that comes with it, without glamorizing or romanticizing the scenario. It is compelling to read about Malek and his contradictory treatment of Nalia, and how he truly seems to believe that there is room for a romantic bond to blossom between the two of them. It's twisted and toxic, yet when you are blurring the lines, how far can you go before you go pretend and reality are indistinguishable?

She had to find her way out before she got lost in it forever.

On the other hand, the romance in this book was one that I did find myself rooting for, even if it didn't quite capture my interest as strongly as Malek's role did. Nalia and Raif are both lovely characters, both driven by their passion and ideals. It was swoon-worthy, and It's heartbreaking and hopeful, the way they connect, and I hope to see more of it in the next book.

It was an apology written as a love letter, sealed with fierce hope.

One thing to note though, since this book is written in third person, we do alternate between Nalia and Raif, although it is mostly Nalia's POV that we see. And there are chapters in between that which deal with the villain's POV, which could get a bit tedious after a while, though the beautiful writing did make it mostly worth my while.

You can find this review and others on my blog.
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