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Monday, November 4, 2013

CAPTIVE: a Nightshade novel by Andrea Cremer A.D. Robertson

Andrea Cremer casts off the repressive shackles of undersexed-YA, dons an adult cap with a newly-fletched nom de plume in the band, and gets down to what we all came for.
Or something. 
My thoughts on . . .
Captive by A.D. Robertson
Get It | Add It
Paranormal/Steamy, 320 pages
Published October 22nd 2013 by Dutton Adult
The first adult novel set in the world of the New York Times bestselling Nightshade series, Captive delivers a steamy, forbidden romance between sworn enemies drawn together by an irrepressible desire.

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.

This one was a mixed bag for me, much as the first book of the Nightshade series -proper was. On the one hand, both original series and spin-off pull you along at break-neck speeds and do their damnedest to amp up the tension — both sexual and otherwise. On the other hand, both have a tendency towards . . . I don't want to say laziness* in the writing, because that's not quite fair. But laziness is the closest I can come to describing what feels off about these books to me, even when I'm enjoying them. Things happen far too quickly for my liking, and often feel baseless; I can't buy huge, life-changing decisions and deep soul connections formed after a matter of 1 or 2 days. It's just not in my cynical, jaded nature to do so. So, despite some of the more interesting things Cremer/Robertson does in her stories, and the way I can't help but find them engaging, I'm still consistently let down by how shallowly she scratches the surface.

I suppose from an "erotic" novel standpoint, this is to be expected. I mean, isn't the porn cliche that the pizza guy shows up and everyone strips off their clothes and gets down to it? Things happen fast, and I guess that's erotic to some people. Not to me. I find tension erotic. Palpable, breath-stealing, taught-nerve tension that comes from tiptoeing around each other and fighting this attraction that shouldn't be (as that is the premise in both books). This could have used some of that, some fighting and reluctance, and a much healthier dose of distrust. There is some, and that's part of what makes it frustrating, because Cremer/Robertson gives you a taste, she makes you think she's going to build that glorious tension, but then immediately veers into Hot and Heavy Land instead. And that elusive creature, Tension, dissipates like heated breath on the wind, already gone in the instant you see it.

So when it comes to Cremer/Robertson and her Nightshade series, there always comes a point where I have to decide whether to be bothered-in-the-wrong-way by all the things I want to fix, or to just shut off my brain and go with it. Because maybe that's all these books aim to be — just a fun, not wholly believable romp in the sultry and fantastical. Easy reading, easy sensuality; easy to enjoy, but equally easy to forget. When it comes to Captive, that's exactly how I tried to approach it, turning off my brain and just going with it. And to that end, it delivers: it's fast-paced, engaging, endlessly sexy (and I mean endlessly - though I would say this is closer to the modern-day-equivalent-of-a-bodice ripping "romance" end of the spectrum than Fifty Shades of Messed-Up "erotica," once these two get going, they don't stop for pages upon pages. Whole chapters, even), and not disappointing if that's what you're hoping to get out of it. But if you're hoping for something new and layered, or in any way believable, this is probably not the sexytimes book for you. [But then, what is? That's a tall order for sexytimes, apparently.]

Fans of the Nightshade series will find an interesting expansion of the world, and a solid-enough beginning to a new, sexy adult, not-quite-urban fantasy series; newcomers to the series would do best to start with the book Nightshade, even though it doesn't really make an appearance here. What world-building there is happens in Nightshade, and readers of Captive will find themselves plunged** directly into this world as if they know who the key players are and what any of this means - which if you don't, will probably make this confusing and nearly incomprehensible until either the pieces start to click, or you get to the part where world-building and fantasy aspects are dispensed with alongside the clothes...

The Verdict? Recommended for fans of the Nightshade series (um, older fans), and lovers of all teh sexehtimes, but with some caveats for people who haven't read Nightshade, like cleaner romances/are gore-shy, and people who can't turn off their gray matter and go with the flow, yo.

* That is, not laziness in most respects. In some... Well, someone should have caught the constant switching between the spellings of "Morrigan" and "Morrigna" — and the fact that no one did irritates me.
** giggle

Disclosure: Review copy provided by Dutton Adult/Penguin


  1. Hehehe. Plunged.
    I agree that tension is what makes an erotic novel all the more enjoyable to read, but I would add a proviso that it can't be drawn out for a really long time, otherwise I just get irritated that the author is giving us a glimpse of the goods (as it were) but never actually handing them over. And that's just frustrating!

  2. Good to know! I haven't started the series yet, but I've picked it up a few times thinking to do so. I hate starting in the middle of something so I'll definitely go back and get the others.


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