Review: Captive by Aimee Carter

Monday, November 24, 2014
Title: Captive
Author: Aimee Carter
Genre: science fiction
Series: Blackcoat Rebellion #2
Pages: 304
Published: Expected November 25, 2014
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Rating: 2.5 out of 5

For the past two months, Kitty Doe's life has been a lie. Forced to impersonate the Prime Minister's niece, her frustration grows as her trust in her fake fiancé cracks, her real boyfriend is forbidden and the Blackcoats keep her in the dark more than ever.

But in the midst of discovering that her role in the Hart family may not be as coincidental as she thought, she's accused of treason and is forced to face her greatest fear: Elsewhere. A prison where no one can escape.

As one shocking revelation leads to the next, Kitty learns the hard way that she can trust no one, not even the people she thought were on her side. With her back against the wall, Kitty wants to believe she'll do whatever it takes to support the rebellion she believes in—but is she prepared to pay the ultimate price?

A summary of Captive:

Everyone: "Kitty, no"

Kitty: "KITTY YES!"

is one of my more frustrating reading experiences. I loved the first book because it felt like a real dystopian, with deadly stakes, and yet in this book, I felt the death toll was meaningless and an excuse for cheap drama.

Part of that is because, <spoiler> Knox, in an effort to endear himself the PM, shoots Benjy, Kitty’s boyfriend from her old life, in front of her and Daxton. It’s brutal and not something that can be faked. Benji shows up alive about 3 chapters later. Knowing this, I’m forced to suppose that a) Knox had Benjy Masked, because why the fuck not at this point? b) Benjy’s a master actor who can suppress involuntary actions like blinking AND Daxton is so dumb he doesn’t know bullet wounds bleed, or c) Knox’s gun released a toxin that caused everyone to mass hallucinate that Benjy was dead. This option is my favorite, being the only possible explanation for why I kept reading after the reveal.</spoiler> And that’s not the only time something similar happens. Deaths fall into two categories: fakeout and fridge.

The book feels directionless. The Blackcoats don’t seem to have a clear mission or plan for the future government. They also don’t seem to have any communication with other members, outside the capital, causing the end of the book to be a shitshow of mammoth proportions. I’m not invested in the “love triangle”, because Kitty has made it perfectly clear that she’s not in love with one of the men. There’s no more tension or drama to wring out of the situation. And then there’s Kitty’s actions.

I’m not kidding, Kitty must promise not to [do the thing], only to immediately turn around and do it, a half dozen times. “Don’t look for this incriminating document.” “I found and hid the incriminating document!” “Don’t look for this second incriminating document.” “I found and hid the incriminating document!” “Don’t run into battle with a broken arm.” “I’m running into battle…!” I have never been more bored with a storytelling device.

There are still kernels of good ideas in Captive. Caste systems are not easy to pull off and I do feel they’re deployed very well here. I actually have a lot of respect for Knox; he’s one of the better leaders in the genre. Daxton without his “mother’s” reigns is appropriately villainous. But, Elsewhere was better in book one. I don’t think the expansion was necessary or half as frightening.

Everyone knows the second book in a trilogy is generally the weakest, so I’ll still pick up Queen, but I’m nowhere near as excited about the series as I was before I read Captive.

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