is a romance community member review
for Captive, The
Date of Review: 06/05/06
I don't often read fantasy/science-fiction romance novels, but when I picked up THE CAPTIVE, I have to admit, I was hooked. It's probably not sophisticated enough for the fantasy-romance purist, but for me, the setting is quite a change from the historicals I usually read. I fell asleep during the original Stars Wars back in 1977 (only the second time in my life I ever did that at the movies), so you know that sci-fi is not my cup of tea. But this book definitely kept my interest.
Ashlynne Myrafloures is the wealthy, admittedly headstrong teenage daughter of a mine owner on a futuristic planet, while Falkon, aka Number 4, is a captured rebel who is being forced to work as a slave in the mine. Eventually, Falkon is brought to Ashlynne's home to do outdoor work. Although Ashlynne would rather die than admit it, she's finding the resentful and snappish (but good looking) Falkon quite attractive. When Ashlynne's parents are killed and her home destroyed in a rebel attack, she and Falkon make an escape from the raiders. Staying one step ahead of their potential captors, their attraction to each other grows while they try to make their way to Ashlynne's fiance (who will turn out to be part of the rebel force responsible for her parents' deaths).
I have to admit that at least one-third of the reason I enjoyed this book is due to the fact that I am getting a bit jaded with ordinary historicals. So many of them are re-treads of the same tired settings, the same tired plots. THE CAPTIVE has some tried & true romance-novel elements -- the hero who's been betrayed and/or is determined for a variety of reasons not to fall in love; the heroine who's spoiled & headstrong and definitely needs to mature. Still, in this futuristic setting, these "typical" elements get a breath of fresh air.
Falkon comes to realize that his determination to be THE leader of the rebels is what cost him his wife and child, and eventually his freedom. When he regains his freedom, he's determined not to lose it again -- but he realizes he has to protect Ashlynne, too. Ashlynne is definitely immature in the beginning of the story, but through their experiences and thanks to the growing love she feels for Falkon, she undergoes a change of heart about half-way through the story and becomes a worthy partner. Even when she's a brat, she's always resourceful and intelligent, and that's more than you can say about many a romance heroine. I appreciated that the author was able to make Ashlynne a more mature and likeable woman, without turning her into a simp who's just doing Falkon's bidding.
I thought the love story between Ashlynne & Falkon was tender and full of sexual tension, and I loved the hero's change of heart toward Ashlynne from revenge to forgiveness. I also liked the way the story moved quickly, but not at the expense of character development.
Frankly, if more sci-fi stories were like this, I'd probably read more of them. I actually enjoyed this book much more than a number of historicals by Amanda Ashley when she writes as Madeline Baker. The story has enough imagination and heart to be a good, involving read.