Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios
Publisher: Balzer+Bray-Released October 7, 2014
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?
My Thoughts: Having read all of Heather’s previous YA books and loving them, I knew I would love this book too.
In the land of Arjinna, there are 5 castes.
- Ghan Aisouri- Being the highest caste,they can control/access all 4 elements: Air, Earth, Fire and Water.
- Shaitan- They can control/access the power of air.
- Djan- They can control/access land.
- Marid-They can control/access water.
- Ifrit- They can control/access fire.
When an uprising brings the Ghan Aisouri out of power, Nalia becomes a jinni slave on the Dark Caravan.
Wanting to be free from her human master Malek and free her younger brother, she teams up with Raif and Zanari, brother and sister who are part of a revolution to bring down the Ifrit, the caste currently taking over Arjinna. Being the only Ghan Aisouri left, Nalia is also being hunted by Haran, an Ifrit who uses his dark magic to kill jinni and get to her.
What made this book so great was Nalia. While being forced to be with her human master, she still has faith in herself that she can find a way to be free.
Raif and Zanari were great too. They were determined to fight for Arjinna’s freedom. In the beginning Raif was not so friendly to Nalia, being that they were from different castes, he saw her as monster. As the book progresses, they begin to develop feelings for each other. In order for Raif to free Nalia, he needs her help to find Solomon’s Sigil, a powerful object they can use to bring down the Ifrit.
Throughout this book, Nalia tries to get her human master’s bottle, because it is the only way she can be free and help Raif and Zanari find the sigil. But, Malek admits his feelings for Nalia and become more kind. Nalia begins to develop feelings for him to, but knows that her freedom is worth much more. And it is later revealed that Malek was using her to get to Solomon’s Sigil. I honestly did not see that twist coming because, while Nalia did develop feelings for him, he really changed throughout the book.
By the end, Nalia defeats Haran, frees her bonds with Raif and Zanari’s help only for the 3 of them to be forced to go with Maleck to find the sigil.
However, a small issue I had with the book was the pacing. The book while amazing, did seem to lag in some parts. I also wish there was a little more interaction/development with Raif & Nalia.
While it may seem like a lot to grasp while reading, it really is easy to follow. The story connects in ways you do not expect and at its roots is about a young woman fighting for freedom.
Overall, this book was great! I loved the diversity, characters, world building and romance/relationships that developed. If you are looking for a YA Urban-Fantasy/Romance/Jinni story, I highly recommend you pick this book up 🙂