Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Review: Captivate by Vanessa Garden

Title: Captivate (Submerged Sun #1)
Author: Vanessa Garden
Release date: January 1st 2014
Publisher: Harlequin TEEN
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Format: eARC
Pages: 222
Source: NetGalley

In a glittering underwater world, nothing is as it seems...

For the past twelve months since her parents’ death, seventeen-year-old Miranda Sun has harboured a dark secret — a secret that has strained the close relationship she once shared with her older sister, Lauren. In an effort to repair this broken bond, Miranda’s grandparents whisk the siblings away on a secluded beach holiday. Except before Miranda gets a chance to confess her life-changing secret, she’s dragged underwater by a mysterious stranger while taking a midnight swim.

Awakening days later, Miranda discovers that she’s being held captive in a glittering underwater city by an arrogant young man named Marko...the King of this underwater civilisation.

Nineteen-year-old Marko intends to marry Miranda in order to keep his crown from falling into the sinister clutches of his half-brother, Damir. There’s only one problem. Miranda is desperate to return home to right things with her sister and she wants nothing to do with Marko. Trying to secure her freedom, Miranda quickly forms an alliance with Robbie — Marko’s personal guard. However, she soon discovers that even underwater, people are hiding dangerous secrets...

Before reading Captivate, I thought it was a mermaid book so I was pretty surprised to find out it's not. But regardless of that, I loved it. The premise is great, the action is intense, and the ending had me desperate for the sequel.

Miranda is basically kidnapped by a stranger in the sea, who pulls her down to an underwater city. They're all humans there, no mermaids or fantastical creatures. So this book reads like a sci-fi sometimes rather than a fantasy. But the city of Marin is described beautifully, and I loved that. Miranda is captured to marry the teenage king of the city, to help him produce an heir, since all the women in the city are barren. Something to do with the lack of sun and moon. Anyway, Miranda does everything she can to escape and get back to her family, and she'll use whoever she can to do it. But as she grows closer to both her kidnapper Robbie, and Marko the king, she wonders whether she'll even want to leave once she gets her chance.

I would have liked to get more background on the underwater city and how things work, because I felt like the world building was a little too on the surface, and because of that it didn't seem real to me. I had quite a few questions throughout, so hopefully some of those are answered in the sequel. Like I mentioned, I really liked this premise, so I'm really eager to see where the author takes the series.

Miranda is likeable and pretty relatable most of the time. I could put myself in her situation and realize I would react the same way. Miranda knows that she has to get out of there, and she has no qualms about manipulating people to get what she wants. I actually liked that, because it shows her determination and also her desperation. Her interactions with Robbie were great, and I liked seeing their growing friendship. Miranda and Marko are a bit more complicated, and I still can't figure them out.

I didn't know there would be a love triangle in this book, and I wasn't really on board with it while reading. It's not dominant, so that was good, but it's definitely there. I just hope it doesn't take over in the next book, because I've seen that happen in a few series and those books ended up disappointing me. I liked Robbie - he's a good guy, he's easy to connect with because we get some background on him, and it's sweet to see how guilty he feels over kidnapping Miranda. Marko is more complex. I keep changing my opinion of him! First I don't take to him, then I start really liking him, then he does something to make me dislike him, then I end up being okay with him. Very confusing feelings all over the place, trust me! But his character makes me so curious, and I'm definitely looking forward to finding out more about him.

Captivate is an enjoyable YA fantasy, and it's a great start to a series. I was really grateful that the ending isn't a cliffhanger, and I loved that despite that, it still makes you want to pick up the next book ASAP. It's fast-paced after you get past the beginning, and the storyline keeps you hooked throughout. This is definitely one to check out if you like the genre!

*Thank you to Harlequin TEEN for providing me with an eARC for review*

Rating: 3.5/5


  1. I am not too fond of mermaid books just because I haven't found one that I can say I truly enjoyed. Glad you enjoyed it!

  2. Everyone gets really surprised that it's not a mermaid book. I was too! It really seems like it'd be one huh? I totally agree that I enjoyed it but there were still some faults. Awesome review Richa! :D

  3. Wait, it's not a mermaid book? :( I don't read many of them, so I'm a little disappointed by that. :( But an underwater city sounds just as fun, sucks that you don't get to know too much about it though, probably would've made it that much better. But yes! A MC who has no problem to do what she has to, to get out of her situation. A love triangle though. :( I'd probably have to read it myself to make my mind up about that, since I really don't mind them if they're done well, but if there not...blah. Glad you kind of enjoyed it, great review! :)


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