Author: A.D. Robertson
Rating: B, 3 Stars
What I’m Talking About:
The first book in an adult trilogy under the pen-name A.D. Robertson (by YA author Andrea Cremer), Captive is a good beginning for this spinoff to the popular Nightshade series. Sarah is an accomplished “searcher” at the age of twenty-one, and a loyal soldier for her side in the Witches War, a battle to save the earth from the dark forces of the “nether realm.” Eager to the point of recklessness to take on the most dangerous task she’s been assigned yet, she has no idea that she’s charging headlong into her own destiny, and that the war she’s been fighting her entire life will reveal secrets and desires she may not be ready to face after all.
As much a prisoner within the stark, island castle he inhabits as he is Keeper of it, Tristan has lived a life of solitude, surrounded only by Guardians and servants, as well as the occasional assigned companion. His greatest worry is the seemingly endless, unchanging years to come, until a beautiful enemy is captured entering his home. Eager to prove himself to his deadly benefactor, he assumes responsibility of the beautiful prisoner, unknowingly setting in motion a chain of events that may change the course of the War itself.
The premise behind Captive is an intriguing one, and the introductory narrative provided a brief, yet thorough overview of the war the main characters are embroiled in. While the initial scene involving Sarah and her team captured my attention and opened the door to more questions I was eager to discover the answers to, I found Sarah herself a little difficult to connect to. She is young and tough, both fitting characteristics for a warrior on the front lines of a battle of this magnitude, yet her inconsistencies in the middle of the narrative made my support of her efforts feel somewhat obligatory, rather than enthusiastic. She vacillates between a determination to do her duty and self-doubt caused by the inappropriate desires of her heart more readily than her fortitude at both the beginning and end of the story would seem to indicate she is capable of.
Ms. Robertson has made up for it with plenty of other winning characters in Captive, however. Tristan, for one, has multiple internal conflicts to contend with, yet he takes each step with a sincerity that made me want things to turn out well for them both. Even the “bad guys” in the story, Lord Bosque Mar and Lana are vividly loathsome, and impossible not to hate. My favorite character, though, is Seamus, the wizened old Guardian who has become Tristan’s confidant and friend. Seamus is a convincing hero in his own right, and I found every appearance by the wolf shifter a pleasure to read.
An unquestionably adult story, Captive is just as much about the sexual exploration Sarah and Tristan indulge in throughout the narrative, each encounter becoming more consuming than the last. Sarah and Tristan are both innocent, though in very different ways, and I found Sarah’s lack of emotional attachment to the act prior to meeting Tristan to be an interesting glimpse into the way she thinks. She has never fully given herself to anyone, her overriding concern being that her lack of attachment to her first potential lover, Jeremy, would be unfair, considering his absolute devotion to her. Although Tristan isn’t physically a virgin, he’s never had an emotional attachment to his partners before, his previous encounters being more a fulfillment of others’ expectations, rather than true desire. Once they discover the pleasure to be had with one another, however, Sarah and Tristan can’t seem to resist ending up in one or the other’s bed as often as possible, even though the intended level of passion was somewhat muted on occasion.
Although I was able to read Captive without any previous knowledge of the Nightshade world, I think a familiarity with the main series would have been a helpful addition to this story. While Sarah is definitely a capable hero, she lacked a depth and balance that seemed to be more evident in other characters. The premise of the story, however, has a lot of potential for significant growth between the characters we’ve already met, as well as the chance for others to truly shine. Overall, I enjoyed seeing Sarah and Tristan find the resolve needed to begin their journey together, and believe that the rest of the trilogy will be even more compelling.
3 stars: Liked it, but I had some issues (B)
About the Book:
Twenty-five-year-old Tristan Doran enjoys a life of incredible power and privilege. As a direct descendant of the Keepers—witches who have embraced dark magic—he defers to no one but his overlord, Lord Bosque Mar. For most of his life, Tristan has been kept out of the centuries-old Witches War, his bloodline too valuable to risk in battle.
But when a beautiful, young human Searcher named Sarah is captured and made a prisoner in his Irish castle, Tristan’s infatuation with her flings him headlong into the fray. Captive and captor, unable to contain their longing, embark on a passionate, forbidden romance together—only to learn that their love is at the heart of a prophecy predicting the downfall of the Keepers’ ages-old reign.
Captive explores the darker side of the richly imagined Nightshade universe, a fantasy world of powerful dark witches, shape-shifting wolf warriors, and fascinating history. The first of three erotic novels, Captive delves deeply into the fiery, illicit romance of two young lovers whose very desires invite their doom.
Release Date: October 22, 2013
Publisher: Dutton Adult
Series: The Forbidden Side of Nightshade #1
Genre: Erotic Romance
Format(s): Hardcover (320 pgs), e-book, audio book
Book Source: NetGalley
Captive: The Forbidden Side of Nightshade