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Captivate - Carrie Jones Not as captivating as I hoped

Picking up shortly after the events of NEED, CAPTIVATE takes us back to Maine and to Zara and her close circle of friends. The pixies remain contained, but their needs grow greater each day as their king loses power. Very soon, rival kings start infiltrating the territory in an attempt to take it over, and the entire town's safety becomes at risk. Zara must make big decisions about whom to trust, how to protect those she loves, and what her role should be.

Compared to NEED, I didn't enjoy this book as much. NEED was a light read with strong moments and weak ones. However, CAPTIVATE didn't grab my interest until the last 100 pages when a new character took center stage. There was a story arc, but its completion hinges on the next book. The writing had a cheesy "teen" voice for the first two-thirds of the book that felt rough and unrealistic. Smart teens don't talk like that. Despite give and take in their relationship, Zara puts up with some controlling treatment from Nick. (This may be intended to show character faults, which I appreciate Jones does, or it may be a set-up for things to come in book three.) Some secondary characters, especially Betty, were less important and were missed.

On the good side, CAPTIVATE continues the story set up in NEED with the same characters and a few new ones. The plot was less predictable than that in NEED, and Jones wasn't afraid to make things darker and sadder (but not too dark or sad) to move along plot and character development. Zara remains a strong female character, with passion and dedication towards family, friends, and human rights. Her character grows when she realizes her rash choices, though well-intentioned, have hurt others. Instead of being defeated by this, she commits even more fully to protecting those she loves. The introduction of a new character, Astley, adds new tension to the story, romantic and otherwise, and makes the reader eager to see what happens in future books. Nick and Zara's relationship seemed to have the sweet spark of first love, and there was a bit of give and take about their faults. There were also some good moments with secondary characters.

I still enjoyed CAPTIVATE as an easy read but not as much as I had hoped. In future books, I hope Jones makes the dialogue more realistic and continues the character development she has started.