“Blood Passage” by Heather Demetrios

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

“Blood Passage” by Heather DemetriosBlood Passage (Dark Caravan Cycle, #2) by Heather Demetrios
Series: Dark Caravan Cycle #2
Published: 2016 by Balzer + Bray
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 496
Format: ARC
Source: the publisher
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Blood Passage is the much-anticipated sequel to Exquisite Captive, a novel about a young jinni whose life parallels that of Anastasia Romanov.  I’ve been sitting on this ARC for a while now, and it’s been very hard for me to wait until reasonably close to the publication date to start talking about it.

Nalia is a Ghan Assouri, which means she’s part of a race of jinn who can access powers from all of the elements, rather than just one.  The Ghan Assouri had ruled the jinni homeland of Arijinna with an iron fist, and eventually were slaughtered for it.  Now, Arijinna is largely under the control of the Ifrit, a cruel race of fire jinni that are even worse than the Ghan Assouri, and there’s a revolution that’s fighting against the Ifrit and losing.

Nalia was the only survivor of the attack that decimated the Ghan Assouri, but she escaped death only to be tricked into enslavement on Earth to a half-jinn named Malek.  The bottle, the cuffs, the whole nine yards.  Then she meets Raif, the leader of the revolution, and falls in love with him despite the fact that he tries to hate her because of who she is.  At the end of Exquisite Captive, Nalia managed to regain her freedom, but at a price: she still has to fulfill Malek’s third wish, to take him to the location of Solomon’s Sigil, a relic that grants control over all of the jinni.  She’s also promised to take Raif there in the hopes that he manages to get the Sigil instead, and can use it to win his revolution.

As Nalia, Malek, and Raif get closer to the location of Solomon’s Sigil, the story takes on a very Indiana Jones vibe as the characters explore the ruins of an underground magical city.  And as they do so, they also have their own internal struggles as they dwell on what’s happen in the past.

Solomon’s Sigil serves as somewhat of a McGuffin in the story–it’s a magical plot device whose existence doesn’t necessarily make sense, and yet creates the central conflict of Blood Passage.  I did enjoy the twist on the legend of King Solomon, because in this version, he was a despot rather than the benevolent biblical leader, but the existence of a ring of power that can control an entire race of people seemed like a bit too much of a suspension of disbelief.

As with the last book, Malek ended up being my favorite character to read about.  In Exquisite Captive, he was the asshole slave owner, but he was also portrayed as a complex character with his own motivations to justify what he did.  In Blood Passage, this became even more evident as Malek struggled with his Ifrit nature and with the choices he made in his past to pursue power while sacrificing the people he cared about.  Although he has some very clear Daddy issues, Malek isn’t beyond redemption, and throughout the story, we see him continue to step up and act like a good person against his better judgement.  This made me so happy, because it’s so rare to see an antagonist who exists as more than just a foil for a hero.

Blood Passage was an excellent continuation of Exquisite Captive, and I’m excited to see how Demetrios continues the story.  Will the revolution succeed?  Will Solomon’s Sigil corrupt those who hold it?  What kind of leadership will be needed to create a better world?  I’m impatiently waiting for book 3!

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