Saturday, October 23, 2010

Review: Captivate by Carrie Jones

Author: Carrie Jones
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Series: Need #2
Pages: 273
Genre: Paranormal
Release Date: January 5, 2010
How Received: Library

Summary: Zara and her friends knew they hadn’t solved the pixie problem for good. Far from it. The king’s needs grow deeper every day he’s stuck in captivity, while his control over his people gets weaker. It’s made him vulnerable. And now there’s a new king in town.

A turf war is imminent, since the new pixie king, Astley, is moving in quickly. Nick nearly killed him in the woods on day one, but Zara came to his rescue. Astley swears that he and Zara are destined to be together, that he’s one of the good guys. Nick isn’t buying it, though Zara isn’t as sure – despite herself, she wants to trust the new king. But it’s a lot more than her relationship that is at stake. It’s her life – and his. 

My Thoughts:
After reading this book, I was left wondering what the heck happened. The writing went down a notch, the characters morphed into one-dimensional fillers, and the romance was not that believable. There was a drastic change from Need to Captivate, one I absolutely didn’t like.

Captivate picks up a few months after where we’re left off with Need. Captivate didn’t transition well from its predecessor – we’re pretty much thrust back into the story without character descriptions or at least a little synopsis of what happened before. I couldn’t even remember how Zara’s, Devyn’s, or Issie’s appearances looked like.

The writing style was just atrocious. Sentences were short and fragmented, and there were barely any worthwhile descriptions. Sometimes even mundane aspects would be written into the book – do we really need to know that Devyn grabs a drink of water, or that Zara goes pee? What does that really bring to the storyline other than filler? All of the characters sounded the same – if there hadn’t been “Zara said” or “Issie said”, etc, I wouldn’t have even been able to tell who was talking. Even their personalities were inconsistent – Astley has a certain way of talking, and after a while Zara started talking the same way. Uhh, I was pretty sure she had never spoken the way Astley did throughout any of the novels.

I think Carrie was trying to portray “out-casts” and minorities in this novel. Everyone had dreadlocks or cornrow’s or hair dyed green in Mohawks. Okay, I get that she wants diversity in her town, but it was never like that in the previous novel. I had to roll my eyes after yet another person was introduced that had dreadlocks.

Zara pissed me off this time. Every time she spoke, I wanted to either strangle her or throw the book across the room. I mentioned this in my review of Need, but good GOD is she stupid. She gets so many warnings from the pixie kings but she ignores them. If she had only paid heed to them, none of the stuff that happened would have happened, and a bunch of people wouldn’t have gotten killed just because of her sheer stupidity. The best part? She has the gall to blame the pixies for what happened, but hot damn was it her fault. She’s so dang self-absorbed and whiny; if she could have sacrificed one person or herself, none of the innocents would have died. She’s all about protecting people from the pixies, but what she did endangered them. She never thinks about her actions. All she does is “research” that comes up inconclusive or just gets solved by Devyn. I couldn’t even feel sorry for her after what happened to Nick. And her reaction to losing Nick? Oh, I’ll just grab a sword and try to take out as many pixies as I can, but get swarmed in the process and only really inflict ONE minor injury and then have to get rescued. URGH.

The other characters pissed me off too. It was like Carrie had a list: Nick – protective, “macho”; Devyn – “nerdy guy who researches a lot”; Issie – “eccentric who loves bunnies but is clumsy and weak”. They were so one-dimensional this time. What happened to my vivacious Issie from Need? The only two characters I liked were new: Cassidy and Astley. I couldn’t not like Astley, but if I say why I might spoil something. Same with Cassidy. But in both cases, they were refreshing next to the gang of four.

I was definitely not emotionally connected to any of the characters this time around, aside from Astley.

The plot was okay, but sort of dull. Nothing too twisty this time – the only “twist” happened with Cassidy. Need was suspenseful – Captivate just wasn’t. Pacing was alright – not too action-packed, and only lagged in the beginning. I have to admit that the read got better after Zara finally agrees to Astley’s suggestions, so I’m still holding on to hope that the third novel will be better than this one.

Cover Musings: As with Need, I think this cover is gorgeous. That teardrop is definite foreshadow.

Memorable Quotes:
"My skin starts to feel like thousands of spiders are crawling on it, doing an Irish step dance." (pg. 55)
Pixie Tip
Pixies do not look like Tinker Bell. Although they occasionally wear tutus. Seriously, who doesn’t? (pg. 10)
Pixie Tip
A pixie’s true skin color is blue. Cookie Monster, Grover, and other lovable Muppets are also blue. Do not confuse the two. Muppets don’t kill you. Usually. (pg. 71)

Overall Thoughts/Final Musings: If I could describe this novel in one word, it would be “Bleh”. I’ve always heard people complain about sequels not living up to their predecessors – this book is definitely one of those sequels. Captivate definitely went downhill from Need. The characters were downright annoying, especially the main character (who did stupid and unnecessary things that just got her in trouble), and the romance was totally... unbelievable. I can safely say I’m more Team Astley, but in the sense that I want Zara to die and Astley to get his happily ever after. The read was so monotonous – I had to force myself to keep reading in hopes that it would get better, which it did the last third of the book. That was the book’s saving point, or I definitely would have rated this a 2. This book definitely had a lot more potential and just fell short.

Rating: 3/5


Vee said...

Thanks for the honest review -- I really dislike inconsistent characters, so this doesn't really sound like my thing. But then I am a pretty big fan of fragmentary writing (when done well, as in The God of Small Things, obviously), so I suppose it might not be as grating for me.

I'm glad it picked up in the last third, and I agree on the cover. The tear-drop is so eye-catching :)

Thanks again for the great review!

Ashlie Swainston said...

Dang. I'm kinda bummed because I wanna read this series. I like it when they get BETTER as they go along, not worse :( How do you make the cover picture pop out from the summary? I think that is so awesome and I love it! I just got your comment and that is so sad! Haha! But I'm still here! I'm not givin up THAT easy ;) Did you get your card yet?

<3, Ashlie

Kate @Midnight Book Girl said...

See, I hated Need. I thought Zara was annoying in that book (and the fact that she mentioned Amnesty International every few pages- yes, Zara cares, got it). I finished the book anyway though. I'd been sucked in by a pretty cover. I hate giving up on books, and series, but I'm glad I did. Need was frustrating enough for me, I can't imagine I'd have made it through Captivate. Which makes me sad, Astley sounds like an interesting character, but if Zara's still alive in kicking I just can't do it.

Kristina Barnes♥ said...

@Vee: Same here. Actually, I was pissed at the inconsistency - it was like the characters did a 180. I also don't mind fragmenty writing... WHEN DONE RIGHT. It was not done right. It was done in the, "I'm going to annoy and piss you off every single page turn" way.

@Ashlie: Well, you still might like it. Just because I didn't like it doesn't mean you won't. :) And Need was better than this, in my opinion. I was still slightly disappointed by Need, but it far surpasses Captivate. I can send you the html! You have to fix your "quotes" box in your layout and then put the picture and quote the summary. :P And good - you better not be givin' up! I enjoy your blog like crazy. <3 And yeah, I got my card! :) Still trying to figure out what to get with it. What do you recommend? :P

@Kate: I actually liked Need... a bit. I mean sure, Zara was always annoying (I guess I didn't realize until this book) but it was tolerable. It wasn't tolerable in Captivate. It was downright "I-want-to-throw-the-book-at-someone" annoying. You have no idea how much I was hoping this would be a series in which the main character dies. I wanted her to die. It's that bad. :/

Astley is THE only interesting character now (after Is is now a one-dimensional filler character), in my opinion. But that's maybe due to the fact that he's got the whole mysterious vibe going for him.

Kat said...

I thought Need was decent-- nothing too brilliant. But Captivate... oh, I have to agree with you about that one. The writing was weird; characters were flat...and it was all pretty predictable. After reading it I completely lost interest in reading any further books in the series.
Book-bashing aside, thanks for checking out my blog. I'm a new follower of yours. :)

Marie Simas said...

Thanks for a great, honest review. I saw the cover and immediately thought the same thing-- that the cover design was great. It's unfortunate that the writing wasn't up to par.

Danna (Bananas For Books) said...

Great review! I'm sorry you didn't really like the sequel, I don't like most sequels either, like Torment and Crescendo. Gr...stupid book patterns that make sequels stupid...

Michelle Santiago said...

i was thinking of picking up this series because i like the covers but hmm... maybe not in the near future then. sorry it didn't work out for you. thanks for the review :)

also, thanks for stopping by our blog and following. now following you too! happy reading :)

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