By: Erica Stevens
Published: May 29, 2012
Series: The Captive Series, #1
Arianna is a child of the rebellion in a dystopian future, where Vampires rule and Humans are rebels, servants, or worse, Blood Slaves. Captured on routine hunting trip, an auction is all that separates Aria from life as a Blood Slave or merciful death. For Aria, she prefers death to being someone’s snack and toy. This is where Vampire Prince Braith buys her. Captivity broadens Aria’s horizons while Braith learns of the passions that drive the humans. Soon the pair form a forbidden bond that threatens both of their lives.
Given the synopsis, it is an intriguing book with problems. The biggest problem the writer has is with establishing her character. On the first page, the writer calls her “Arianna” but I every instance after that she is referred to as Aria, which is problematic. There needs to be a clear indication of both her name and her name and her nickname to ground the readers. This establishment does not happen until chapter four, which is bothersome. In addition to that, no description of the character to make her feel special. We don’t know what she looks like which doesn’t give the reader a lot to identity the character making her come off as generic. Lack of attribution makes it hard to connect with the character.
Despite the good use of language within the novel, it was as though the writer had problems when talking about Aria. When her clothes change, all the reader knows is that the clothes makes her itch. What is she wearing? Although the writer can portray the characters narrative well enough to make her vibrate off the pages, it is through a limited scope. In regards to the other characters, the description and detail presents itself extremely well, and in Prince Braith’s point of view the writing and detail comes off as effortless. The problems mainly encircle the protagonist, Aria.
The plot was established well, both the Inside and Outside. Steven’s has a talent with narrative, enough so to give the reader just enough at a time but to make underlining plot (i.e. the turmoil within the characters) come full circle while leaving a hook at the end with the outside plot (i.e. the vampires versus human plot) open to enable a second novel. Because of this, the narrative was entrancing and flowed very well.
One nitpicky thing is the cliché of there being three women, with the following hair types: One blonde, one brunette and one red head. Too many times has that concept been used in both literature and film, to make it feel unique.
What was most interesting however was the representation of the human versus the inhuman. Prince Braith, a blind vampire, is the perfect representation of this. Being a Vampire, he is the inhuman, but since he is blind, as a being his horizons move past the horrific narcissism that is all too common in Vampire Literature. His blindness is instead an enabling factor and the wolf he walks with, which is also inhuman, allows him to connect. Although he is blind, he can see Aria the human. And the humans who are the rebels reside in the woods versus the humans who sacrificed their morals to be servants and slaves only to live in luxury like the vampires. They aspire to be like them if they cannot be them, thus making them inhuman. It is a very interesting notion that Stevens incorporated into her work, giving it an extra layer of depth underneath the all too cliché “forbidden love” plot line. Very good juxtaposition.
This also coincides with the evolution of the theory on Darwinism that Steven has incorporated into the piece. It establishes the characters and their arguments, which further allow for the emotional character development and change in the characters. The reader gets to see how it affects each character and can thus attach to them. The characters become more than names on a page and turn into individuals.
Sometimes it was hard to read and follow because the writer used breaks within the same scenes to change P.O.V., which was unnecessary because her writing was strong enough to establish the characters.
The works “he” and “she” were used to often within the same paragraphs to start sentences, hindering the overall flow of the text. Some of the sentences could have been condensed and could have allowed for more description of where the characters were, what was happening around them as well as Aria herself.
To put vampire lore lovers at peace, this novel DID NOT ruin the original mythology of Vampires. That is an A+ in my book.
Past the hindrances mentioned above, the biggest problem was formatting, which hindered the otherwise fast momentum that the text carried. Indentations of paragraphs were erratic and lack of dialogue attribution made it easy to get lost on who was saying what.
However, despite all that, it was a gripping novel because Steven’s really is a talented ending. Moreover, that climactic moment at the end was truly gripping, making it difficult to pull away and believe it was end. ★★★ (B-)