Author: Aimee Carter
Series: The Blackcoat Rebellion #2
Rating: 3 / 5 stars
I received an ARC of this novel from Harlequin Teen for an honest review.
One of my fundamental issues with Pawn, the first novel in this series, was the fact that Carter didn't seem focused, or even interested, on developing the dystopian world around Kitty that she was risking everything - including her life - for. Well, she certainly seemed to venture towards that direction with this sequel novel of Captive, the second in The Blackcoat Rebellion trilogy, which focuses almost entirely on the dystopian surrounding Kitty, and her direct involvement in helping bring the revolution.
The problem with Captive, however, is that Kitty never finds her ground. Carter aims for the shock and awe style with Captive, tossing in one plot twist after another. And though several were rather predictable, it did leave me guessing until the end. Unfortunately, the number of plot twist led the novel away from a lot of realism, which makes it hard to emphasize with the characters, which is a big role in a good series for me.
The main character that irks me so is our lead man, Benjy. Kitty loves Benjy more than her own life, it seems. Yet Benjy serves no real purpose to the novel, except as a pawn (the abundant use of this word in the novel irked me as well) to help control and manipulate Kitty, which is done time and time again. But Carter never stops to even attempt to develop Benjy into any start of character. He is simply the love of Kitty's life, no questions asked. This reader wants to know why!
Kitty, for that matter, is rarely developed herself. She spends most of the novel second guessing who she can trust and who she should help, and doing the exact things people tell her not to do. I oftentimes find myself rolling my eyes at her actions as she tries to assert her independence, only to make a mess of things. I also found myself annoyed with our narrator on more than one occasion. I realize it is a lot to deal and a lot of responsibility to lead a rebellion at such a young age, but Katniss handled it rather well. Kitty just doesn't feel like a strong, independent character that I can relate to.
The only character that appears to be developed at all is Knox, and Carter throws so many plot twists at him that you really don't know what to expect, which I guess makes him my favorite character at this point as it certainly makes him the most interesting.
Pawn was by no means a standout in the young adult genre, and Captive isn't either, but I still find myself interested in the series as a guilty pleasure. I find it laughable that Carter teases at a love triangle between Kitty-Knox-Benjy for the beginning of this novel and throughout a good portion of Pawn, but then tries time and time again to throw obstacles between Knox and Kitty to prove that she will only have eyes for the wonderful Benjy, who we still know nothing about. And though Carter might have been swinging for a home run and ended up with a sac-fly to outfield with the rather sloppy and oftentimes awkward development of the plot in Captive, which deals with the dystopian side of the series, at least we got some sort of development in this novel. I wouldn't say it suffers completely from a sophomore slump, but I wouldn't put it on par with Pawn. Hopefully Carter can take the best aspects from Pawn and the best aspects from Captive and combine them together for a better than average conclusion in Queen.