Review: Captive in the Dark

Captive in the Dark
Captive in the Dark by C.J. Roberts

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Summary:   Caleb is a man with a singular interest in revenge. Kidnapped as a young boy and sold into slavery by a power-hungry mobster, he has thought of nothing but vengeance. For twelve years he has immersed himself in the world of pleasure slaves searching for the one man he holds ultimately responsible. Finally, the architect of his suffering has emerged with a new identity, but not a new nature. If Caleb is to get close enough to strike, he must become the very thing he abhors and kidnap a beautiful girl to train her to be all that he once was.

Eighteen-year-old Olivia Ruiz has just woken up in a strange place. Blindfolded and bound, there is only a calm male voice to welcome her. His name is Caleb, though he demands to be called Master. Olivia is young, beautiful, naΓ―ve and willful to a fault. She has a dark sensuality that cannot be hidden or denied, though she tries to accomplish both. Although she is frightened by the strong, sadistic, and arrogant man who holds her prisoner, what keeps Olivia awake in the dark is her unwelcome attraction to him.

WARNING: This book contains very disturbing situations, dubious consent, strong language, and graphic violence.

In my continuing 2013 quest to read things that have been on my Kindle for a really long time, I finally got to this one.

Ok. Where to begin? Is it well written? Definitely. Did it hold my interest? Yes. Did I find it thought-provoking? Yes. Did I enjoy it? No. Do I have to have enjoyed it to find it worth reading? No. Am I conflicted about Caleb? Not one bit.

Caleb's a sick SOB & no amount of recounting how he came to be such, did a thing to sway me to rooting for, liking or absolving him. I knew I wasn't going to be giving this guy any passes when it was disclosed that he'd watched Livvie through the fence at her highschool for weeks before she's taken. Really. I was interested in him in the same way one is interested in the criminally insane & sadistic. In that way that you would sit on a jury & not flinch as he's sentenced to spend the rest of his days in a locked down psychiatric facility with a team of MDs & PhDs trying to unwind his psyche. Call me a provincial chica, I don't want the heroine to "help" this guy. He can't be "loved" better. There is no special snowflake that can "fix" him. He needs clinicians to get to work on that. For years. And even then, not a guy I'd spend a second whinging on about his damage, scars & feelings.

That is what I felt as I read this book. I didn't feel sympathy or solace or anything close to redemption relating to Caleb. And to my mind, that's perfectly fine. He wasn't acting out fantasies, he was perpetrating a criminal endeavor on Livvie. He felt absolved at times because he deemed actions "her choice" but there's no freedom in the matter when the underlying act is against one's will. What I did get & find utterly fascinating with regard to Caleb, is the question: When is it that you become the thing you hate on your quest for revenge? And how just is your cause when you've destroyed & damaged innocents in the the way others did to you when you were so? That old proverb about digging two graves when you begin your quest has always fascinated me. So that, was my only draw to read on about Caleb. And yes, I wanted him to die at the end of this whole thing. I hold hope that he still meets his end in the second book. No matter how things played out, I couldn't get past the notion that Livvie was not Caleb's first captive. He'd done this before to other girls & women all in aid of his quest to get to Vladek. And the fact that the "Flower Auction" is about obtaining virgins, leads me to believe that the ages of the captives is not a strict 18 out of some moral obligation to keep it on the legal age side. Girls. NOT women. Livvie being marked as "special" & having "got to him" for this story didn't take that ugly angle away & even if no one else cared about the others, their fates & Caleb's hand in it, I did. We have not so nice government funded facilities for people who kidnap, violate & sell people because those are actual crimes & Caleb is a perfect candidate to wend away his days in one.

Very early on in the story, I was hoping this was Livvie's recounting of what happened to her to the authorities. Her point of view read that way to me. I'm still hoping to find that it was so. She had my sympathies & that she further became a victim of Stockholm Syndrome was even more sad though completely understandable. I'd allow it for any person in that situation, but definitely for an 18 year-old highschool girl. She was not, to me, a reliable narrator because of the situation she was in. She vacillated between states. At one point, she mused that he had always been in control of himself with her & had always explained why he was doing one thing or another. Per the other POV supplying Caleb's story, this simply is not true. It's clear that Livvie does not have anything near the whole of her story, by her own words, but she allows herself sometimes to think that she does. She compartmentalized, rationalized & sometimes, idealized what had been done to her. That she wondered at why he was like this when he was so handsome & could surely get women easily, as if being good looking gave some sort of bye on being a sick soul, was sad & disturbing. Not in a "How can she think that given what he's done to her" but in a broader "No one should have that expectation & allowance to begin with" way. I couldn't get over the beating & the rape & the original stalking & kidnapping to consider anything that happened consensual on any level but allowed that she needed have her veil to view through. Coercion & want of survival negates any physical response, positive (or temporarily powerful) feelings toward Caleb that Livvie felt. He wasn't a choice. He was a self-imposed lack of options & one of last resort. If nothing else, it was an interesting character study of an abused & detached character. Actually two.

Caleb's part being told in third-person was a good device because I really didn't want to get any closer to this guy than I already was. It was a welcome & for me, necessary, distance. For all his supposed conflict & feelings for her, in the end his issues & personal vendetta against Vladek outweighed the damage he'd wrought on Livvie. She was just going to have to deal, because he had some unresolved stuff & this was the only way that HE was going to be free & better in the end. She was still another link in the chain of women he'd used to attain his goal. That he admits it doesn't make him sympathetic & neither does that little introspective attempt at the 94% mark. That she accepted the inevitability of it doesn't make her free. But I do applaud the author throwing in that Livvie was going to attempt to go all out wanton seductress to counter the coveted virginal thing. I didn't buy her capable or inclined to a sex romp a day after she endured a gang beating complete with boot bruises all over, cracked ribs & a dislocated shoulder but... okay.

I've seen a lot of reviews by women who've raved & loved this but I haven't seen the masses saying they were handing this over to their husbands & boyfriends to take notes to be more like Caleb (a la Christian Grey). I find that interesting. I wonder if, all other things being equal, there'd be so much swooning if Caleb had been described as physically unattractive, fat, sweaty & hairy in all the wrong places (kind of like Tiny, because really, where it counts, Caleb, Jair, Tiny (& Tiny's friends) aren't so different).

One thing that did bother me was that the author gives somewhat random toss-in of Livvie having a boyfriend & siblings that she loves so much & feels responsible for but we never get anything from Livvie even hinting that she misses them at all. Livvie never even mentions her boyfriend's name in her narration. Though we do get a lot of her missing & conflicted feelings about her mother. There are also a few typos & misused words sprinkled around ("us" instead of "we"; "that" instead of "than"). I also must say that I didn't feel romance here or anything erotic & I checked, I still have my all-girl card. I definitely don't have whatever it is that the majority of reviewing readers have that triggered "hot & sexy" read. I got the "dark" bit. I'm just glad that I was able to find it interesting & worth having read. All this said, I have the second book on my Kindle, so I am going to read that next.

*Note* This is seriously an Adults Only read. Even then, proceed with caution & know your emotional limits.

View all my reviews

No comments