Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios (2014)

The bottle was a tiny, bejeweled thing attached to a thick gold chain. Indestructible and protected by magic. Malek wore it around his neck at all times, a constant reminder that she was his (p 4).

captiveNalia is a jinni, stolen by a slave trader from her other worldly home and sold to Malek, a wealthy, seemingly ageless man of great social influence on Earth, via the dark caravan. But Nalia is no ordinary jinni. She is Ghan Aisouri, the highest class of jinni. They alone can harness the power of all four elements: air, earth, water and fire.

Until Malek makes his third wish, Nalia is bound to him and unable to rescue her brother, a captive of the Ifrit jinni who whip their slaves with fire.

The exposition is lengthy and Demetrios undermines a solid plot and good world building with Nalia’s unnecessary internal melodramatic monologues, repetitive language, and an unconvincing portrayal of extreme wealth.

Though glowingly reviewed by Kirkus and Publisher’s Weekly, I am more inclined to agree with SLJ reviewer Emma Carbone: “The well-realized world of Arjinna is similarly overshadowed by stiff descriptions and numerous explanations.” Not a series I intend to continue reading.

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