Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Review – ‘Midnight Captive’ by Arial Burnz


Blurb 

CAILIN MAC DOUGAL has lived a dangerous life being the adopted daughter of vampire Broderick “Rick” MacDougal, so she had no choice but to learn to fight in order to protect herself. However, such behavior is hardly desirable in a dutiful wife who’s supposed to embroider and run a household. This aggressive side of her behavior should be easy enough to hide from her betrothed…shouldn’t it?

After being away at fencing school for seven years, JAMES KNIGHTLY has returned as a master swordsman, ready to captain his own ship and finally wed his childhood sweetheart, Cailin MacDougal. What he finds waiting for him is a dagger-toting hellion for a bride, an immortal father-in-law, and an enemy bent on extracting revenge by threatening the family James holds most dear–the MacDougals.

BRODERICK MAC DOUGAL is lured away from his family with the promise of–at last–learning a way to protect those he loves from his clan enemy, Angus Campbell. Broderick knows he’s headed for a trap, but the bait is too tempting to resist…and he unravels the beginning of a prophecy that will lead to redemption for all vampires. The cost of such redemption, though, may be the very soul of the woman he would die for…his wife, Davina.

Review

This is the second book in the Bonded by Blood series that focuses on vampire Broderick and his soul mate, Davina. However, the main romantic plot centered on his adopted daughter, Cailin, and her intended husband, James.
The story is told from multiple viewpoints (Cailin, James, Broderick, Davina, the villain Angus, and a few others I think). Sometimes these viewpoints were separated by proper scene/chapter breaks. Sometimes they weren’t which led to confusion as to who was thinking and speaking. Anyway, the author has a way with words and she strings them together like a romantic poem or a song. I didn’t find any typos and this third person POV story is very well-written.
I’m disappointed because I couldn’t connect with James and Cailin, the main H/h. Cailin seemed feisty and strong-willed when we first meet her but she acted a bit childish throughout most of the book (I think she was 17 years old), especially when she found out about the kidnapping plot and decided to handle the problem herself. 
James is 25, a Grandmaster swordsman and much more mature. At age 17, he willingly negotiated a promise of marriage to Cailin with his father and Broderick when she was only 9. He soon left home for seven years to go to school and he returned home to Scotland as a man who seems to have experience with women. I couldn’t help but wonder how many women he slept with while away at school with his fiancée still at home. Then he tried to seduce a stranger in an alley, not realizing she was Cailin, while he planned to find his future bride and marry her. After this, I had a hard time respecting him.
Cailin and James didn’t spend much on-page time together. She believed she wasn’t a worthy wife for James but he appreciated her swordsmanship and thought of her as an equal (kudos for him but he wouldn’t tell her this). Her parents and handmaiden were more concerned with keeping Cailin a virgin until her wedding night than letting Cailin and James get to know one another. The few times Cailin and James actually spoke, they would argue and Cailin would run from the room in a fit because she couldn’t control her temper.
The best part of the book for me were the long kidnapping scenes. Cailin definitely matured and seemed to grow into herself as a woman so I started to like her better. James redeemed himself in his quest to save her and I appreciated his strength to do what was needed even with the cost to himself. 
A good third or more of the book showed Broderick’s quest to find out how to protect his family. He met a seer, Malloren Rune, who taught him a protection spell to use against vampires. Malloren also told him about the prophesy he’s destined to fulfill.
Every scene with Angus held my attention. He was strong, psychotic,  and an interesting, three-dimensional character.
The overall story is good. The prophesy information, the cleansing/protection spell, the scenery description and the history of the time is sooooo interesting. I’ve read in various reviews for the series that the first two books don’t support strong female leads but, from book 3 on, the women are much stronger. I hope that’s the case because I want to continue the series. I already know some of what to expect ahead (poor Broderick) and I’m anxious to learn more.
3 Stars


Disclaimer – I won a copy of this ebook in a contest/giveaway. I am not paid or compensated in any way, shape or form for this review. I will not change or alter this review for any reason unless at my discretion.