Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Captive by Aimée Carter

Captive by Aimée Carter is the second book in the Blackcoat Rebellion trilogy, following on from Pawn, which I reviewed about a year ago. This review (and the blurb) contains some spoilers for the first book in the series. This is my first review of 2015, but the fifth book I've finished this year.
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?
I really enjoyed this book. It does not suffer from middle book syndrome and takes some unexpected turns along the way. Things seeded in the first book are developed further, most notably the rebellion of the series title. Captive takes the story to the next level, shows us more of the world (well, more of the dystopic US, no word on what's happening in the Rest of the World) and sets up the last book for the dramatic conclusion.

I like Kitty. She does have a tendency to rush headlong into danger without a huge sense of self-preservation, but it does certainly push the plot forward, even if things don't always turn out the way she hoped. She can be a little too trusting — and there's one point in particular that really drives that home — but given that she has so few people that know who she is, let alone anything else, I found it understandable. I still cringed when her actions led to bad things. But then, if you live in a world that doesn't give you access to accurate history books (and forget about subversive dystopian novels), I can see how you might grow up without immediately understanding your own social context.

In Captive we also learn more about the ominous "Elsewhere" which was introduced in stages in Pawn. It turned out to be part less bad than what I expected, and part worse in some aspects than expected. I know that's pretty vague and sort of requires mind-reading to make sense, but I want to avoid spoilers.

Captive was a captivating read (sorry, couldn't resist) which made a good reward/break book in between some heavier stuff. And whenever I say things like that, I always have to pause and wonder how oppressive regimes, torture and war can feel like a "light" read. I think it must be in the writing style and pacing. Anyway, The Blackcoat Rebellion trilogy is a great read and I'm looking forward to the last book which is not coming out until November, alas. Highly recommended to all fans of YA and dystopias.

4.5 / 5 stars

First published: 2014, Harlequin US
Series: Blackcoat Rebellion book 2 of 3
Format read: Hardcover of dubious American quality
Source: Purchased from a non-Amazon-owned online book shop

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