I received this book for free from HarlequinTeen Australia in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Spoilers for Book 1: Pawn
Kitty Doe decided to continue her disguise as Lila Hart, niece to the Prime Minister of the dystpian United States of America. That is, until she was caught snooping and promptly sent Elsewhere – the nightmare otherworld where un-citizens and the elderly are sent. Kitty discovers Elsewhere is more than it appears, and also holds a numbers of secrets she unravels one by one to uncover a bigger conspiracy than the one that put her there in the first place.
In the first book, Pawn, we had a brief encounter with Elsewhere when Daxton hunted an innocent woman and shot her like a wild animal. The truth is so much worse than that. There’s some truly awful things that happen in Elsewhere, and with everyone out for themselves you can’t trust anyone. I did have a bit of a struggle trying to figure out the very complicated relationships some of the Blackcoats had with others in Elsewhere, but in the end I gave up. Carter is very adept at using red herrings to draw one’s attention elsewhere. Upon re-reading, I know I’ll pick up on her clues better.
Kitty was really quite stupid in this book, and a lot of characters don’t hesitate to call her so. She constantly makes decisions that are in direct contradiction to what she’s been told, and all we’ve got to go on that is her complete stubbornness. She’s stupid with who she decides to trust – nearly on a whim – and instead of valuing her relationship with her supposed boyfriend Benjy, she’d rather do the thing that means not spending more time with him and also risking her life. It’s really romantic, how she doesn’t seem to want to spend any time with him. But maybe I’m just being cynical.
No, the really, really annoying thing about Kitty in Captive is that she is full of hot air. Kitty constantly thinks, swears, promises to murder other characters – in cold blood, in passion, plans whether to shoot them, knife them, or throw them down the stairs and plead innocence… the motif varies but is fairly consistent throughout the novel. Kitty constantly thinks murderous thoughts, but when given the chance, she once again fumbles and fails. It happened in Pawn as well. Kitty’s bravado really annoys me – she sounds really bloodthirsty, but she can’t follow through. She’s not half as tough as most of the other characters in the novel.
Kitty’s relationships are spread out in this novel, and I never really got the feeling that any of them were particularly strong. The whole story takes place over a very short time frame, so it’s much harder to develop relationships. The one I quite liked turned out to be a red herring, so I was saddened by that. The characters I thought were enemies turned out not to be so much – such is the nature of Elsewhere. I was glad to find there was still no love triangle, but at least one aspect of why a certain romantic relationship didn’t develop was explained as well.
I thought Captive was going to be Pawn 2.0, but it was really so much more than that. Kitty’s life in Elsewhere is definitely worth the read if you’re already into the series, and if you’re a fan of or have read Carter in the past and want to see how she’s develop into a master storyteller, you’d do well to read this as well. I had trouble keeping my interest in about the first 100 or so pages, but the next two thirds were engaging despite Kitty’s frustrating motivations.