Fire and Ice is today’s stop on the Official Exquisite Captive Blog Tour hosted by Me, My Shelf and I.
Dark Caravan Cycle #1
Author: Heather Demetrios
Release Date: October 7th, 2014
Forced to obey her master.
Compelled to help her enemy.
Determined to free herself.Nalia is a jinni of tremendous ancient power, the only survivor of a coup that killed nearly everyone she loved. Stuffed into a bottle and sold by a slave trader, she’s now in hiding on the dark caravan, the lucrative jinni slave trade between Arjinna and Earth, where jinn are forced to grant wishes and obey their human masters’ every command. She’d give almost anything to be free of the golden shackles that bind her to Malek, her handsome, cruel master, and his lavish Hollywood lifestyle.Enter Raif, the enigmatic leader of Arjinna’s revolution and Nalia’s sworn enemy. He promises to free Nalia from her master so that she can return to her ravaged homeland and free her imprisoned brother—all for an unbearably high price. Nalia’s not sure she can trust him, but Raif’s her only hope of escape. With her enemies on the hunt, Earth has become more perilous than ever for Nalia. There’s just one catch: for Raif’s unbinding magic to work, Nalia must gain possession of her bottle…and convince the dangerously persuasive Malek that she truly loves him. Battling a dark past and harboring a terrible secret, Nalia soon realizes her freedom may come at a price too terrible to pay: but how far is she willing to go for it?
About The Author
When she’s not traipsing around the world or spending time in imaginary places, Heather Demetrios lives with her husband in New York City. Originally from Los Angeles, she now calls the East Coast home. Heather is a recipient of the PEN New England Susan P. Bloom Discovery Award for her debut novel, Something Real, which Publisher’s Weekly calls “[An] addictive yet thoughtful debut” about reality TV stardom. She is the author of the upcoming EXQUISITE CAPTIVE, a smoldering fantasy about jinn in Los Angeles and what Kirkus called in its starred review “an intoxicating, richly realized realm of magic, politics, spirituality and history” (#1 in the DARK CARAVAN CYCLE). She is also the author of the upcoming I’ll Meet You There (Winter 2015). I’ll Meet You There is a love story about a young combat veteran and a girl trapped in their small town, both struggling to escape the war at home. Heather is the founder of Live Your What, an organization dedicated to fostering passion in people of all ages and creating writing opportunities for youth of limited economic means. She is proud to have an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. You can always find her on Twitter (@HDemetrios), ogling the military dogs she wants to adopt (but can’t because her NYC apartment is way too small). Find out more about Heather and her other books at www.heatherdemetrios.comand www.darkcaravancycle.com
Exquisite Captive Music Playlist
When I first came to HarperCollins to talk to all the publishing jinn there about Exquisite Captive and the Dark Caravan Cycle, I passed out mixtapes I’d made and some candy called “Wish” (I kid you not) that I’d picked up in Morocco when I was doing research for Book 2 of the series. I did this because, to me, Exquisite Captive is a sensual story: sexy, yes, but also incorporating all five senses. In order to write the story, I needed to drown myself in the landscape of Middle Eastern and North African culture and I wanted to bring everyone working on the book to this gorgeous, magical place I was just discovering. My hope is that as you get to know my jinni, Nalia, you’ll hear the sound of the sitar, smell sandalwood incense, taste savri, the spicy jinn wine, and feel the pulse of the four elements against your fingertips. The music on this playlist helped draw me into the world I wanted to create and brought it to life for me. Though my jinn are not Arab (they’re their own race!), I wanted to pay homage to the cultures that jinn mythology predominantly arise from and the music helped me find the balance between creating my own unique story and evoking the Arabian Nights. Exquisite Captive is about a jinni who has been trafficked to Earth and is owned by a human master who’s evil with a capital E. She’s desperate to be free of him and return to her homeland, save her brother, and put the genocide of her entire caste behind her. But this is a trilogy – we know she’s going to run into lots of trouble along the way…and maybe fall in love with a certain revolutionary. The series begins in LA (Book 1), moves on to Morocco (Book 2), and finally ends in Arjinna, the jinn realm (Book 3). This playlist reflects this constant interplay between high fantasy and dark, modern fantasy that I’m working with, especially in Book 1. If these tracks don’t make you want to go to a hookah bar, sign up for a belly dancing class, and book a ticket to Morocco (with a stopover for some quality beach yoga in LA), I don’t know what will!! So, as my Moroccan friends would say: yalla habibi! (Let’s go, darling!)
Below are the songs – you’ll find most of them on my YouTube Playlist.
By Yeah Yeah Yeahs
This is sort of my theme song for the book. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs are one of my favorite bands and Karen O’s voice is deliciously dark on this track. It’s got that sexy LA vibe I wanted for the book and, hello!, it’s about slavery. It definitely speaks to the tension between Nalia and Malek and that undercurrent of desire that confuses both of them.
2. I’m in Here
Oh my gosh, this song is so perfect for Nalia as a jinni trapped in her bottle. It’s heartbreaking and whenever I hear it, I feel intensely aware of how awful it would be to be in exile, a prisoner who’s been forgotten by everyone. Left for dead.
3. Trust in Me
By Susheela Raman
This song – I can’t even. Susheela Raman is a fabulous Egyptian artist – all of her work is so transportive. This is the greatest cover I’ve ever heard – you might recognize it from “The Jungle Book.” I can’t tell you how many times I listened to it as I worked on this book. It’s got a seductive Middle Eastern groove that’s a perfect soundtrack for Habibi, the secret underground jinn club in LA. It was especially helpful in the hot hot HOT dance scene I wrote between Nalia and Raif. My goal is to make you blush with that one: let me know if you do!
By Susheela Raman
This song is gorgeous and haunting. I have no idea what the lyrics are, but the way Susheela sings reminds me of the Call to Prayer. Malek (Nalia’s master) is Saudi and this song gets me into the zone when I’m thinking about his past – which is very dark and you’ll learn more about in Book 2.
Pretty much the Nalia and Raif theme song. Muse is just sexy, plain and simple, and this song is all about a relationship that’s dangerous and inevitable. It’s about damning the consequences.
6. What Now
This song reminded me of Nalia, especially after I saw the video. In the video, Rihanna seems trapped (and is also rocking some fabulous jinni couture accessories). I also think it shows Nalia’s confusion about Raif – her feelings for him confuse her and it’s hard for her to tell how he feels about her.
7. The Gloaming
The first line says it all: “Jinni let out of the bottle it is now the witching hour.” This song is creepy and dark and makes me think of Haran, the cannibalistic ghoul who is out on the prowl and sees Earth as one big jinni buffet.
8. Rabbit Heart
By Florence + The Machine
This song is all about fear and going for someone you care about, even if it scares the crap out of you. It’s also about finding that courage hiding inside you. Florence says, “I must become the lion hearted girl ready for a fight before I make the final sacrifice.” You’ll get why this reminded me of Nalia when you reach the end of the book. No matter how tough and brave Nalia is, she’s still a girl facing unimaginable odds, fighting for her life and her heart.
By Anoushka Shankar & Karsh Kale
This song reminds me of a certain dance scene in the book. . .It’s all about that passion simmering under the surface of two people who are drawn to one another. I wrote most of Book 2 to Anoushka and her famous sitar-playing dad, Ravi Shankar. I love the sitar – whenever I hear it, the whole world of Exquisite Captive just comes to life.
10. Arabian Dance
Composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
You’ll probably recognize this from The Nutcracker. It’s such an elegant song, with gorgeous Arabic undertones in the composition. It calls to mind the harem and some of those classic images from The Arabian Nights. You can watch the dance on YouTube, as well. It’s lovely.
By Amr Diab
This song is one of my favorites. I think Amr is Egyptian and he’s popular in the Arab world because of his fun dance beats. I think the jinn in Habibi would definitely get down to this!
12. Leiley ( My Night )
This is from the Putumayo Arabic Groove album, which is great fun. Doesn’t this song make you want to go on a camel ride and eat kebab and learn how to belly dance? I absolutely love the sound of Arabic and the wonderful lilt in the singer’s voice.
13. Moi Et Toi
By Abdel Ali Slimani
Another great track from Putumayo’s Arabic Groove. This is an excellent introduction to the wealth of fabulous music in the Arab world. Again, I can hear this being played at Habibi.
14. Sitar Ritual
By Badmarsh & Shri
This is a trip hop duo from the UK that I found on one of the Buddha Bar CD’s. It’s got that Arabic flair with a modern twist. My UK editor tells me she runs to the Dark Caravan soundtrack I sent her and I suspect this is one of the songs that keeps her going through London.
15. Palm of the Prophet
Another trippy song that sort of keeps you in the world of Exquisite. Sexy and dark and a little bit mysterious.
By Susheela Raman
I think of Nalia doing her Ghan Aisouri training, Sha’a Rho (affectionately dubbed “jinni yoga” by readers), to this song. Sha’a Rho is a deep spiritual practice with intense physical postures that are intended to increase magical flow within a jinni warrior.
17. Genie in a Bottle
By Christina Aguilera
I mean, obviously.
18. Dark Horse
By Katy Perry
I really like the Egyptian beat here and it makes me think of Nalia and Malek and how he’s always wanting to mess with magic that he doesn’t understand. Nalia’s also pretty fierce with him in that girl power, Katy Perry way. I’m guessing the video is probably offensive to Egyptians, though.
19. You Don’t Own Me
By Lesley Gore
I could not resist adding this! I feel like this would be Nalia’s jam. “You don’t own me [Malek]. I’m not just one of your many toys.” Ha! This song would really piss him off.
20. Friend Like Me
From Disney’s Aladdin
And now for some goofy fun and a nod to pop culture’s understanding of jinn. I recently saw Aladdin on Broadway and it was interesting to see Disney’s perspective on jinn servitude. Not at all like my jinn mythology, but fun nonetheless!
21. I Dream of Jeannie theme song
I couldn’t resist. It makes me do a happy dance, even if the premise of the show is the anti-Exquisite Captive. Aladdin and Jeannie were my only touchstones for jinn mythology until I started digging deeper and doing some serious research about jinn around the world and, of course, reading The Arabian Nights.
If you are ready to dive into a setting and not come out until dawn, Exquisite Captive will suck you in and trap you. With lush fantasy and writing that evokes all five senses, Demetrios explores the Arabian Nights jinn. Nalia is an empress, the last of her race and very powerful. That is until she is sold on the dark caravan to a master, Malek who holds the ability to summon her and place her back into an iron bottle. Malek is conflicted and complicated as both abusive captor and a man on a mission to convince the woman he loves to love him back. Readers see multi faceted characters with internal and external conflicts, set in a culture of castes, Hollywood money and corporate corruption.
I loved the fantasy element and the world building that had me fully immersed. The author puts so much thought into the society, the culture and the sighst and smells. You will want to consult with the guide in the front of the book, as at times it’s hard to keep track of the different kinds of Jinnis (genies) and the powers they possess.
Raif…let’s talk about my favorite of the main men. As soon as he shows up, and later when he is dancing with Nalia in an underground club, I found myself intrigued. I love his loyalty to family and his courage to face possible death in the name of love. There’s so much to love about this book. It is multi-layered and no character is flat. There is a charcter arc and much discovery still left wide open for the upcoming sequel.
Overall I was hooked! I picked up the book and didn’t put it down. However, I did skim over the sections with graphic violence and abuse. There is occasional but very strong language, hookah smoking, alcohol, implied homosexuality and sensuality.Therefore, I feel it’s a better fit for ages 18 and over. 4/5 stars.
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