08 October 2012

Review: Captivate by Carrie Jones

Last month I reviewed the first book in a refreshing young adult urban fantasy series: Carrie Jones's Need. I enjoyed it so much, I didn't wait long to read the second book in the quartet.

Captivate starts fairly soon after Need ends. Now that Zara White, our teen heroine, knows the truth about her family tree and some of the secrets of her grandmother's Maine town, she and her friends can no longer ignore the larger problems caused by the resident pixies.

I loved Zara's independence in Need; she was open to the possibility of having a boyfriend, but she didn't let Nick push her around. In Captivate, unfortunately, she is more dependent on Nick, and her relationship is sometimes more important to Zara than her own safety. I was disappointed that Jones decided to make Zara so focused on her boyfriend.

I could have forgiven Zara her Nick-crazy teen love if Captivate had moved along more quickly. Instead, Jones spends more than half the book on Zara and Nick and the "are they/aren't they" dating relationship of their best friends. On the positive side, when the action finally does pick up, it's good. We have pixie fighting pixie, were-animals fighting pixies, and pixies terrorizing humans. Through it all, Zara is forced to figure out her unique role in the current hostilities and in the bigger war to come. Jones also introduces two new paranormal species to the mix: Valkyries and elves. Each type of being, including humans, will have to take a side.

Although I guessed what part Zara would ultimately play, I didn't figure out the circumstances that would lead her there or the after effects of her actions. Carrie Jones has nicely set the stage for the next book, Entice.

So what's my overall reaction? Captivate is not as strong of a novel as Need, but Jones may have required a transition book to carry the story to the next phase. The bottom line is that I'm still interested in how everything will shake down. And I'll likely listen to book three next month.

I listened to the unabridged audiobook (Brilliance Audio, 8 hr) read by Julian Whelan, who reads the entire quartet. Again, I was impressed with her performance and her characterizations, making Captivate a recommended listen.

This review will be linked to Kid Konnection, hosted every Saturday by Julie at Booking Mama.

Buy Captivate at an Indie or at a bookstore near you. This link leads to an affiliate program.
Published by Bloomsbury USA / Bloomsbury USA Childrens, hardcover January 2010
ISBN-13: 9781599903422

Source: Bought (audio) (see review policy)
Rating: C+
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)


bermudaonion 10/8/12, 7:47 AM  

Urban fantasy's not my genre but my sister might enjoy this series.

Daryl 10/8/12, 8:40 AM  

you had me til the boyfriend stuff ... reminds me of the inanity of the second Twilght book which i hated and actually stopped reading ... a first for me

Zibilee 10/8/12, 10:48 AM  

I think the on again/off again stuff would bother me as well, and though I would probably enjoy the first book, I might not have as much success with this next one. I am glad that you gave it such a balanced and fair review. It helps me to know that this one might not be right for me.

Charlie 10/8/12, 2:54 PM  

I'm with Daryl on this one, the relationship sounded great that. Nevertheless the idea as a whole is interesting, and the different creatures as yet unused in most YA. If Need can be read as a stand alone, I'd be up for it.

Julie P. 10/8/12, 9:20 PM  

I'll be curious to see what you think of the next book. Thanks for sharing!

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