Captivate by Vanessa Garden | Book Review

Posted January 10, 2014 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult / 10 Comments

Captivate by Vanessa Garden | Book ReviewCaptivate by Vanessa Garden
Series: Submerged Sun #1
Published by Harlequin Teen on January 1, 2014
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 304
Format: eARC
Source: From the publisher through Netgalley
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5 Stars
In a glittering underwater world, nothing is as it seems...

For the past twelve months since her parents’ death, seventeen-year-old Miranda Sun has harboured a dark secret — a secret that has strained the close relationship she once shared with her older sister, Lauren. In an effort to repair this broken bond, Miranda’s grandparents whisk the siblings away on a secluded beach holiday. Except before Miranda gets a chance to confess her life-changing secret, she’s dragged underwater by a mysterious stranger while taking a midnight swim.

Awakening days later, Miranda discovers that she’s being held captive in a glittering underwater city by an arrogant young man named Marko...the King of this underwater civilisation.

Nineteen-year-old Marko intends to marry Miranda in order to keep his crown from falling into the sinister clutches of his half-brother, Damir. There’s only one problem. Miranda is desperate to return home to right things with her sister and she wants nothing to do with Marko. Trying to secure her freedom, Miranda quickly forms an alliance with Robbie — Marko’s personal guard. However, she soon discovers that even underwater, people are hiding dangerous secrets...

I was super excited when I read the blurb for Captivate, because I LOVE underwater worlds. They have always been my very favorite settings for books. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this world is super unique and gorgeous. I adored this book beyond words, and hope I can set aside the fangirling and present my thoughts in a coherent way! As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. The book starts out with a major bang! First, the girls are taking a midnight swim and talking about life and all of a sudden Miranda is pulled under the water and disappears. I was captivated immediately.

2. I fell in love with the undersea world of Marin almost instantly. It is gorgeous and colorful and sparkling and so unique! At first I thought Captivate was a book about mermaids, but it’s not. These are humans living on the ocean floor in a huge city. The city has rivers and gondolas and a modern colosseum where people go to watch criminals get thrown to the sharks in a big aquarium-like tank. When the look up to the sky they see the ocean instead. Their world is lit and warmed by light crystals that sparkle, and oxygen is brought down to them through air shafts. There’s a garden and a park with real grass. I could go on and on. I’m in love with this place.

3. Miranda’s captor, Robbie, is one of my favorite characters. I’m so impressed that Vanessa was able to write a kidnapper that I ended up loving. Robbie was ordered by his best friend, Marko, King of Marin, to go to the surface and bring him a wife. Once Robbie brought her down to Marin, he was appointed her guard. As he gets to know her and her story, he begins to really care for her and her wellbeing. He has such a sweet and caring personality, and I completely fell for him.

4. There is some very interesting mermaid lore thrown in to the story, and I loved reading about it. I loved reading the history of Marin, as well as its hidden mysteries. I mentioned before that I love Marin, but it’s all because of the amazing worldbuilding in this story.

5. I really like Miranda, even though she is nothing really special. Maybe that’s why I like her! She is portrayed as a quiet little plain Jane, always in the shadow of her gorgeous sister. She was chosen at random and by accident, and brought down to a world where she is the center of attention. She is needed. She is extremely important to everyone there. She discovers that she is beautiful. I really loved watching her take to heart that she is so much more than the physical traits she wished she had. She no longer feels the need to hide herself, and even though she is captive, she acts more free the longer she stays.

6. Marko is really sexy. I did not care for him much in the beginning, but I grew to like him a lot. He has this interesting mixture of being really suave, yet completely inexperienced at the same time. I kind of loved watching him trip over himself and discover new emotions.

7. I was not totally sold on the romance, and am left a little confused as to whether or not there’s a love triangle. I think we’re supposed to be confused, though, because I think Miranda is.

8. There were some tense moments, some of which made me scared to continue on! I feel like I really latched on to some of these characters, and so when the danger set in I worried for their safety.

9. I love Vanessa’s writing. I finished this book last night, but I am still picturing Marin in my mind. I’m still picturing Miranda’s moments with Marko. I’m still picturing fearless Robbie. The words flow so effortlessly off the page that I could not quit reading!

Overall, Captivate is a new favorite of mine, and the start to what I’m sure will be an amazing trilogy! The world is one I know many readers will love visiting, and Vanessa’s writing will keep them wishing for more. I was truly captivated and thoroughly enjoyed my reading experience. I cannot wait for the next book!

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10 responses to “Captivate by Vanessa Garden | Book Review

  1. I’ve not heard of this book! I’ll be adding it to my TBR wishlist. I love underwater settings but they are so often not done well. Glad to see this was successful. Sort of sad that the romantic aspects didn’t work 100% for you but I still think, from your review, that this is worth the read. Thank you for sharing!
    Kristen@My Friends Are Fiction recently posted…Stacking the Shelves

  2. I went to the book launch for this one and it’s by a Perth author which is where I’m from and after reading your thoughts, I’m bumping it up on my to read list! As the romance while I haven’t read it for myself, I’m pretty sure there’s a love triangle and a friend of mine is Team Mario and I don’t think you can have teams if there’s just the one contender. Lovely review!
    Rebecca @ Reading Wishes recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: 2014 Debuts I’m Excited For