Reading EXQUISITE CAPTIVE is like watching a really good and frightening horror movie. You scream at the naive girl to not do this, to not do that. Don't hide in the closet, don't hide in the basement, don't trust him, don't follow the sounds. Don't, don't, don't, don't! The villain is gruesome and scary. And every choice there is? Well, it is all a bad choice. Every word read is one more word you don't want to see. Also, the horror movie always ends badly (in my experience of watching horror movies). The terrifying endings are usually some variation and combination of death, torture, misery, horror, and entrapment.
Nalia is a jinni, and she is a very powerful one. However, she is trapped and bound. Her cold, confusing, and smart captor (more about him in the later paragraphs) never makes a third wish and never will. Never. She takes delight in ways to undermine his control, but her actions will always come back to haunt her. The war, the same one that has killed Nalia's family and species, comes to Earth. Raif, who is a leader of the rebels, comes to her for help against the very people who killed Nalia's family. She has a hot temper, and she is a horrible liar, but she does have her strengths and weaknesses. She is the naive girl and the prey of the horror movie.
Raif is a love interest for Nalia. As a rebel leader, he has a hard edge and a particular dislike towards Nalia's family. But he shares a heated chemistry with Nalia. Slowly, they grow to understand each other and become allies.
Malek, Nalia's captor, is a very complicated man to Nalia. But most readers can tell the creepiness and wrongness of his actions. Scenes with him are so horrifying and disturbing that I have to look away from the book. Bravo to the author for making a very appalling character who simply begs the readers to hate him. Even worse is that Nalia is developing feelings for him (probably because of Stockholm's Syndrome).
The ending is the most devasting and shocking part of the book. It is not satisfying, and it leaves readers wanting more from the series, wanting to read the next book, wanting to know more about Raif and Nalia. There are no good choices, no clear options, and good endings. Nothing comes out right. It is the most bittersweet ending I've read in years, and it ruins me.
Overall, EXQUISITE CAPTIVE is a well-plotted and dark book. Like a horror movie, the book welcomes readers to read with parts of their eyes covered. Some sections of the book are perfect for readers to scream their frustrations at their heroes. Best recommended to those who love misererable characters, EXQUISITE CAPTIVE is captivating and scary.
Rating: Three out of Five