Rummanah Aasi
 Exquisite Captive is my favorite YA paranormal romance thus far this year. It was very hard to put this book down once you get sucked into Nalia's world of magic, politics, and romance. Inspired by the Arabian folklore, Exquisite Captive is a wholly original and enthralling story.

Description: 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?

Review: Nalia, a powerful jinni from the world of Arjinna, has been on the dark caravan of the jinni slave trade for three years. After a deadly coup almost wiped out her entire clan, Nalia was captured by a slave trader who sells jinn to humans. Now she is trapped in Hollywood and bound to a handsome master, Malek, who is as ruthless as he is powerful. Malek showers Nalia with gifts, but refuses to give her what she wants most: her freedom. Nalia is desperate for the chance to return to Arjinna and rescue her captive brother-something that seems impossible while bound to her master and the bottle that can hold her prisoner. When Nalia agrees to a dangerous bargain with the leader of Arjinna's revolution, she will have to decide if any price can be too high for her freedom.
  I absolutely loved Nalia. She is unlike many heroines that we encounter in ordinary paranormal romances in that she doesn't run headlong and make impulsive decisions. Her goals are simple and focused: free herself so she can save her brother. She is very aware of her surroundings and threats that revolve around her, knowing that just one wrong move can place her in bottle that will slowly suck the life out of her. She uses her strengths to her advantage and delicately walks the tightrope of interacting with her master Malek. I was constantly on pins and needles as Nalia tried to get her hands on her bottle and her freedom from Malek within her grasp.
  Malek is a fascinating character who at once repulses you but also draws you in. His moods are violent and unpredictable. While you can never forget that he owns Nalia like an object, there is a light flicker of what could be "love". There is no way that Nalia can see him as a viable love interest, you can't deny that there is a very strong sexual tension between them.
  In addition to Nalia and Malek, Raif, the leader of the revolution is also a very compelling character. He bears the burdens the responsibility of the revolution from a very young age. Like Nalia he doesn't waste time dithering about but is very focused on saving his people and the world of Arjinna. I had a great time watching his relationship with Nalia shift from prejudice and wariness to a slow burn romance. I only wished we got to see him and Nalia have more quiet moments.
  The world building in Exquisite Captive is done very well. With nods to the jinni folklore as well as the blend of modern urban fantasy works very well in the novel.  I loved learning about the various jinns as well as their realm of magic, politics, spirituality, and history. Needless to say that it didn't take very long for me to get sucked into this story and world that the author created. The story unfolds at a fast and even pace. I really wish I could already have the second book in the series especially with how the book ends.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Words of Caution:  There is some strong language, sensuality, disturbing images, and violence. Recommended for Grade 9 and up.

If you like this book try: Daughter of Smoke and Bone series by Laini Taylor, Everneath series by Brodi Ashton, The Fire Wish by Amber Lough
4 Responses
  1. Jenny Says:

    "Malek is a fascinating character who at once repulses you but also draws you in."

    YES RUMMANAH!!!! That's exactly how I felt! There's definitely chemistry between them, but it could never be love after all he's done. I loved that I kept wanting it to be more on occasion when Malek seemed more vulnerable, but then he would snap out of it and lose whatever goodwill he'd built:) SO GOOD!

  2. I have so got to read my ARC of this. I have read so many mixed reviews, but all my trusted blogger friends are liking it and I haven't read many jinni books.

  3. I haven't been tempted by this one until now, Rummanah! I figured it would be very romance-centric and would have problems with the worldbuilding, but both of those don't seem like they're issues with this one. I also really like that the MC doesn't make impulsive decisions and sticks to her goals. I'll have to check this one out now.

  4. Aylee Says:

    Oh wow, after having read this review I'm super surprised that this is actually the first I'm hearing of this book! Don't know how that happened. What a gem! I'm sure I would be into it too.

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