Here’s one of those great examples where the second book in a series surpasses the first.
I really liked Need (see review here), in which Carrie Jones introduces the blood-sucking pixies who terrorise Zara and her friends in a cold isolated Maine town.
The series debut sets up that pixies – with their manipulation and bloodlust – are a murderous threat. But then Captivate cleverly clouds that perception by introducing Astley, a new pixie who claims not all are as violent and uncontrollable as those Zara has previously faced.
There are also new threats – created inadvertently as a result of Zara’s actions in Need – which have tragic consequences. But while the plot takes some dark turns, I’m trusting Jones to ultimately give the emotional journey a huge pay-off by the series’ end.
While Captivate is more intense that Need, Zara remains a witty and engaging narrator, and her wry observations (even when terrified she’s turning into a pixie) frequently lighten the mood.
An interesting twist here is that Zara’s ideologies are and belief systems are seriously challenged.
In Need, Zara and her friends had to deal with pixie situation in a way that goes against her philosophies of pacifism and justice. In Captivate, she has to deal with the consequences of her choices, and come to terms with the fact that ideals are never as black and white in the harsh light of reality.
Her actions – and her reaction to newcomer Astley – create a crisis of ethics and challenges the attitudes (read: borderline bigotry) of her friends towards pixies.
The story itself also kicks into high gear, with even more of the pixie mythology unfolding. The action is more intense, the stakes higher and the conflicts more interesting and complex.
The series is heading into really interesting territory, particularly in terms of character growth. Nick, Issie and Devyn are all back, and all undergo their own threats and challenges.
There’s also great continuity from the first book, with more occasional references to Stephen King, and Zara’s catalogue of phobia definitions.
This is an excellent YA/cross-over series. I’m really curious to see where Jones takes her characters next – and by the way Captivate ends, there’s plenty more to come.