Exquisite Captive

Exquisite Captive

Exquisite Captive

by Heather Demetrios

Genre: YA Paranormal
Published: October 7th, 2014
by Bazler + Bray




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?


Heather Demetrios’ Something Real is one of my favorite books of 2014 thus far, so to say I had high expectations for Exquisite Captive would be an understatement. Unfortunately, however, I can’t say that Exquisite Captive clicked with me the way Something Real did; and I finished the book with an overall sense of mediocrity.

Our protagonist, Nalia is a jinni that lives in the ancient land of Arjinna. Nalia’s entire race of jinni was killed out in a recent revolution. Nalia, however, was able to flee, making her the soul survivor. However, her life came at a cost: the only way she was able to free herself was by becoming a slave on Earth to a brutal master.

Nalia is one fierce protagonist, and I absolutely admired her for it. Being the sole survivor of a rebellion that killed her entire race is something that continually haunts her dreams and her thoughts; and, seeing her troubled and violent history, you can’t blame her. It are these events that shape her into such a determined and fierce character, and I loved her for it.

With Arjinna, Demetrios has created an absolutely fantastic world.

There is an intricate amount of backstory here that makes Arjinna seem almost…real. The descriptions of the different types of jinni there are and the powers they have, and the politics between them, added an extraordinary layer of complexity to an already intriguing story, and I really enjoyed that. However, there were definitely times when I felt that the information was a bit too info-dumped for my liking, especially in the beginning, but it smooths out as the story progresses.

My main problem was the romance. Not only is there a love triangle –

– but one of the love interests constantly abuses Nalia. In fact, the love interest is none other than her master Malek. He constantly forces Nalia to do things she doesn’t want to, hurts her physically, and even, at some points, tortures her. Yet, Nalia continually makes excuses for his behavior, and continually thinks of him in a romantic way.

The other love interest – Raif – is a slight bit better in terms of not abusing Nalia, but I still found that their relationship was a bit too much like insta-love for my taste.

All in all, I felt this was extremely creative plotwise and had wonderfully elaborate world-building; but, unfortunately, I just didn’t admire the abusive romance and love triangle.


24 thoughts on “Exquisite Captive

    1. It’s probably best that you’re staying away from it Joy. 😐 It’s a shame because Something Real was so, so good. *sighs*

  1. Wow, I’m so tired of hearing about these “love interests” that are little more than abusers. I just don’t get it! And it sounds like this is QUITE different from her debut…which I do want to read!

    1. I am too Lauren… *sighs* It’s a shame because the writing & world-building are wonderful. 😐 Definitely do read Something Real though – it is fantastic.

  2. Aw I’m sorry this didn’t impress you the way Something Real did 🙁 I understand why this book is such a disappointment. It’s weird how the romantic interests abuse Nalia. And I’m sick of books that are REALLY good, but then the romance sort of destroys everything. It’s upsetting sometimes. I’m actually interested in this book, but I’m sad with the romance and stuff. I hope you read a better book with a better romance, Zoe 😀


  3. Wonderful review, Zoe – I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy this one more! I loved Something Real, also, but from what I’ve heard, I think Demetrios’ forte is contemporary. Early reviews for I’ll Meet You There have been positive, whereas every review I’ve read for this one, is negative or on the fence, unfortunately. Loved reading your thoughts on this one, Zo, and I hope your next read is much better. 🙂

  4. Honestly I’m not too sure about this one! I see reviews where people love it, and others where people hate it. I think it’s one of those books you’re either going to like or not going to like. I’m still quite looking froward to this one, though. Great review. 🙂

    1. I definitely agree Kara – it’s one of those hit or miss types of reads. Definitely don’t let me take away from your excitement though because, like you said, there have been a lot of people who loved it. 😀

  5. Awww it sucks that this one didn’t work out for you! But I can understand why. I didn’t mind Malek just because I didn’t see him as a love interest, you know? I think that’s why this book worked out for me much more than for other people. I wasn’t even a Raif fan. In fact, I don’t think I even cared about any of the romance. I was just really intrigued by Malek’s characterisation because he seems oddly obsessed with Nalia, as though he conjured up this allusion where she would give him the world without a second thought to their past ,you know? Do I make sense? Maybe not haha BUT FABULOUS REVIEW, MY DEAR! <3 x

    1. *sighs* It does, doesn’t it Jess?

      And you definitely make sense. I think the psychological portrayal of Malek was really interesting; he just didn’t work for me as a love interest, you know? 😐 Thank you!

  6. Another one ruined by a ridiculous romance it seems. How could you have feelings for someone who is not only your ‘master’, but abuses you? I know it’s only fictional, but it doesn’t set a great example for teen girls does it. I’m so sorry you couldn’t have enjoyed this more Zoe, I actually bought a copy of this so I’m pissed now and going to shelve it. Fabulous review! <3

    1. Exactly! It just doesn’t make sense! At first I thought it was a bit of Stockholm Syndrome, but Nalia just didn’t seem to be that type of character. *sighs* Thank you Kelly!

  7. I seriously couldn’t cope with Malek and how the author tried to give him a reason for his abuse. NO, he’s just an asshole, the end. This was also the reason I was disappointed with the main character.. Raif was a better person, but I didn’t like how their feelings developed. So yeah, this wasn’t a book for me and I’m sorry it didn’t live up to your expectations after your beloved other book.

  8. Sigh, this series had so much promise for me, but like you, the romance killed it. I loved the writing and how it gave the book a dreamy quality, but yes, Malek’s abuse and the insta-love-ish situation with Raif were just frustrating to read. I have yet to pick it up again, which I doubt will be happening anytime soon considering there are far better books to read >.< I'll definitely try the author's other book, though!

  9. Sigh, my feelings exactly! The world building was really good, but I felt like it required far too much ‘info-dumping’. The romance with Nalia and Malek just didn’t work for me at all, I ended up having to DNF at about 84%, I just couldn’t deal with it anymore. I liked Nalia in the beginning, but her feelings for Malek made me lose respect for her. I do really want to try Something Real though.

  10. That love triangle SOUNDS SUCKY and just seems like it would be hard to read. Ugh. I still really want to read it because the WORLD SOUNDS SO COOL. But i don’t know man. Great review ZOEEEEEE!!!!! I hope your next read is better than this one!

  11. Abuse is never ok and I don’t understand how authors find it in themselves to write about it knowing that hundreds of girls/boys could be picking up their book. The plot sounds interesting, but just out of principle I don;t think I will pick up this book for the messages it portrays. Lovely review nonetheless Zoe! xx

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