The Captive
by Amanda Ashley, futuristic (2000)
LoveSpell, $5.99, ISBN 0-505-52362-0


This book is so inane that it's hilarious. The heroine has pea shells for brains and the hero isn't any better. What a hoot. Amanda Ashley writes as if she's trying too hard to parody Cassie Edwards, and The Captive is funny for all the wrong reasons.

This is a futuristic romance, about this heroine Ashlynne Myrafloures (don't laugh, please) who, upon a bet, goes to watch a slave being disciplined. The slave is Falkon, who, despite being beaten, manages to haunt our heroine's dreams for days. Maybe she has a fetish for fresh bloody meat, who knows. The next time she sees Falkon, she knows, she is attracted to him! Oh!

Ashlynne shuddered as she remembered the way he looked at her, his eyes filled with loathing and rage. She had an overpowering desire to know the color of those eyes.

Doesn't she seem like a too-stupid-to-live heroine to you? And don't get me started about her wandering into the slave camps alone, unarmed, and not telling anybody where she has gone, just so to spy on the slave whose eyes are filled with loathing and rage for her. This woman needs help.

And our hero Falkon, who hates everybody because they killed his wife and kid and made him a slave, but because Ashlynne is "so pure, a virgin, an innocent" and other adjectives bad romance authors use as an euphemism for "unparalleled stupidity", he loves her! He loves her! But he can't touch her! And since he can't touch her, Ashlynne thinks he hates her still! Oh boo-hoo ugh ugh ugh, oh Falkon, what can Ashlynne do to make things right? Ugh ugh ugh.

The fantasy setting, needless to say, is ridiculous, as if a hero named Falkon and the mention of alien-sounding planetary names, spaceships, and exotic plant names a good fantasy novel makes. The plot lumbers like a drunk yak crossing a tightrope bridge - watch out, people - as Ashlynne acts like a wilted petula in distress ("Save me, Falkon, save me...") and Falkon drooling all over Ashlynne's innocent, pure, virginal thighs. It's pretty bad, but at the same time, just hilarious.

The Captive here is me. I can't stop reading, just to see how worse the story will increasingly become as the page turns. Falkon is a dumb ox, and Ashlynne is worse as a prototype dumb child-woman who won't survive crossing the road. And with a plot this inane and with holes so big a spacecraft can fit through, The Captive is an exercise in bad loopy caveman-meets-Barbie romance. Cassie Edwards fans wanting to space travel will find a goldmine in this one.

Rating: 40


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