Attention: This review is full is full of spoilers. Read at your own risk.
Captivate frustrated me so much that I was tempted to give it a zero star rating. Except for the interesting premise, almost everything about it was off. Not to mention that I was angry at myself for not really checking it out. I thought that it’s going to be a mermaid book but it’s not. In actuality, it’s about an underwater kingdom of humans.
My interest was very high during the first 20% of the book and then it dwindled as the story progressed. The main character, Miranda, was average and easily forgettable. I wouldn’t even bat an eyelash if the underwater people decide to drown her or feed her to the sharks. Her indecisiveness was really irritating and halfway through the book, she slowly succumbed to the Stockholm syndrome. As if Miranda wasn’t torture enough, I was introduced to the two male love interests who were 1-D and definitely, not swoon-worthy.
Slow-paced and very dull, the plot didn’t make any efforts to redeem the book in my eyes. It was brimming with holes. A lot of things didn’t make sense at all. As what the synopsis suggest, Captivate tells the story of Miranda getting kidnapped by the underwater people. It was immediately explained that she was taken because she will become the wife of Marko—the King of Marin (the underwater kingdom)—and that she will be the one to produce an heir. Sadly, the female populace of the kingdom was barren and the king has to produce a successor so his fugitive older brother will not usurp the throne. What a flimsy foundation for a story.
First and foremost, Marko visits the mainland once every month to sell pearls. Why does he need to kidnap someone when he can properly court a girl while he’s doing business? I am pretty sure that with his good looks and noble attitude, it would be easy for a girl to fall in love with him and become his queen in Marin. Aside from that, the female populace of the kingdom is barren. Kidnapping someone would definitely not solve the said problem. Why is it that Marko and his minions are not doing something about it? Instead, all their attentions are solely focused on keeping Miranda secure.
To irritate me further, why is Marko really fussed about his older brother, Damir, usurping the throne if he can’t produce an heir? For one, Damir is already considered a fugitive and shouldn’t Marko be planning on how to capture him? Second, I don’t really understand why Damir is still waiting for Marko to produce an heir before usurping the throne when the former could just rally his troops and invade the castle.
As irritating as it may sound, I still held some hope that everything could still be saved. To my severe disappointment, Miranda was captured by Damir in the later part of the book. Marko and his troops came to the rescue and easily overpowered Damir. And Miranda was sent home because the threat to the kingdom was already eliminated. At that point, I was literally shouting “WHAT THE F****?” at myself. Again, why in the heavens did Marko kidnap Miranda when he could have just spent his resources hunting Damir in the first place?
Captivate also contained a plot device that really gave me a headache. As mentioned earlier, Miranda has two love interests. Of course, the first is Marko and the other one is Robbie. The latter is a member of the king’s guard. When Marko caught him and Miranda in a compromising situation, he was thrown inside a gigantic aquarium wherein the pet sharks of the kingdom can devour him to death. But luckily, he lived because a dagger magically appeared in the bottom of the aquarium. While I was reading the book, the death sentence by sharks was mentioned repeatedly and it was never mentioned that the accused would still have a chance to live as long as he can kill the sharks. But when it was time for Robbie to die, presto, the rules changed all of a sudden so that he could live.
Even Captivate’s romance was badly crafted that it has the vibe of instalove. For the most part of the book, Marko and Miranda didn’t have enough page time getting to know each other. It was only at 60% when I saw an actual development in their relationship and heavens, it was really rushed. They were immediately saying “I love you” even if Miranda is still confused about her feelings. Eww. I was cringing the whole time I was following their interactions.
The only redeeming quality of this book was the world building. It may not have wowed me, but it was sufficient to make me imagine what Marin looks like.
I am really sorry if I bored you with this review. But I just can’t stop myself from ranting. Captivate has almost caused me to go on a reading slump. It’s supposed to be my first underwater (not including the Little Mermaid) book and it tremendously flopped. Overall, it’s a story perfect for fans of the Pick-a-Trope game.
***An ARC of this book was freely provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, Harlequin TEEN!***