Friday, 4 March 2016

Captive by Amanda Pillar

Captive by Amanda Pillar is a novella set in the Graced universe, but at a much earlier period of story history. Although a few character names might be familiar, the two stories stand completely alone. If anything, Captive fills in some of the "historical" backstory that didn't fit into Graced, while telling its own story.
Vampires, werewolves, and the Graced are at war with their human creators, and humanity is losing. But one girl might hold the key to salvation. Held captive with her fellow humans by alpha Wolfgang and his pack of weres, Laney secretly inches ever closer to breaking were and vampire blood dependency forever.

But Laney doesn’t have long. Their numbers decimated by plague, humans are being kidnapped and reduced to livestock. And when Laney and her sister are kidnapped by a neighboring vampire clan notorious for its “farming” of humans, their only hope lies in Wolf – who doesn’t know the shocking secret Laney has gone to great lengths to conceal.

With their lives and the future of humanity in the balance, can Laney and Wolf learn to trust each other before their races cease to exist?

I enjoyed Captive quite a bit. I would go so far as to say I enjoyed the start of the novella more than I enjoyed Graced. This is probably partly because the main character is a scientist and I am biased. Where Graced was set seemingly very long after the apocalypse, so to speak, that resulted from the creation of vampires and werewolves and the subsequent wars, Captive is set much closer to that time period (but still after it).

The main(est) character, Laney, is a geneticist who had been working on "cures" for the vampire need for human blood and the werewolf need for human liver. Not, to be clear, changing their species back to human, just removing their need to farm humans. Having originally been part of a werewolf, er, farm, Laney, her sister and their fellow humans are captured by vampires in a raid. Their main goal is to survive until a way out presents itself. Unbeknownst to them, other characters are also working on rescuing them from the vampires.

I mentioned earlier that I particularly enjoyed the start of Captive. It would be more accurate to say that I enjoyed almost all of Captive but I found the ending rather abrupt. The main plot arc of escaping the vampires is resolved, but a lot of romantic (and other, spoilery) subplots are introduced near the end and I don't think this novella was long enough to give them enough space to properly develop. The time jumps at the end, to get to the second last chapter and the epilogue, didn't really help on that front. I think it would have been more enjoyable had the last portion of the book been longer. I certainly wouldn't've minded reading more of it.

Overall I liked Captive, even if I would have preferred more of it. I would recommend it to fans of Graced, but want to stress again that both stories stand alone quite well. I will certainly be reading any other novellas or novels Pillar writes set in the same world. This was almost a 4-star read, but I took off half a star for the abruptness of the ending.

3.5 / 5 stars

First published: February 2016, Momentum
Series: Same universe as Graced but with different characters and set much earlier
Format read: eARC
Source: Publisher via NetGalley 
Disclaimer: The author is a friend but I have endeavoured to write an impartial review
Challenges: Australian Women Writers Challenge

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