First, I have to say that I love Lauren Dane. She is one of my favorites and I know whenever I’m in the mood for a good romance or menage, she can deliver. However, there’s just something about Captivated, the latest novel in her Phantom Corps series, that I just can’t get past. I’m only at about 19% of the way through and I just can’t come up with any interest to finish it.
Vincenz Fardelle, exiled son of the Supreme Leader of the Imperialist Universe, has spent much of the last ten years working to stop the threat his father poses. But he’s not alone in his quest. Julian Marsters has lost his best friend and countless others in the war and has made vengeance his only goal. In each other, Julian and Vincenz find not only like minds, but kindred spirits.However unexpected their relationship, everything changes for Vincenz and Julian when Hannah Black comes into their lives.
Having been captured and held in near total isolation by imperialist troops, their immediate response is to protect her. Emotionally shattered but resilient, Hannah rebuilds herself. Because of the warm safety she finds in the arms of Julian—and Vincenz—she becomes someone harder, stronger and bent on preventing the Imperialists from harming anyone else. For the two men, wrestling with their passionate feelings for Hannah is only the beginning. War is about to send all three into harm’s way and an equally dangerous secret could tear them apart
Let me start off by saying that it’s not the writing nor the potential of the story that is turning me off in Captivated. It’s the character chemistry that bothers me. The writing is superb and there is some definite heat going on – it’s exactly what I needed. I just can’t get past how this menage is getting together. We have this female who has just been rescued by this supremely hot soldier, and while Hannah’s not instantly enamored with him, she knows he’s safe. I get that. I get how a person can latch onto their savior after suffering through an ordeal; what I can’t get on board with is how attached she becomes to him. She doesn’t want to be around anyone else in the beginning. And even after awhile, when she’s becoming more accustomed to being freed, she continues not wanting to be around anyone else. It’s months from the time she is rescued to the first stirrings of passion and the only place she has been is this soldier’s living quarters. It almost feels like a case of Stockholm Syndrome without the focus being the kidnapper, but on the rescuer.
To add to this already strange feeling, what is also revealed is our soldier boy has his own soldier boy and they are quite happy. So happy in fact that they get it on while our girl is taking a shower or resting across the room. Vincenz and Julian are not only in a secured and stable relationship, but they are definitely hot together and they provide a lot of the heat, which is really good heat let me tell you. So what I’m having trouble accepting is why would a couple, who are so into each other, be so willing to add a third person to their relationship. It never comes up that either feels like their relationship is lacking anything and it’s even something they feel compelled to discuss with each other. So why do these intense feelings for Hannah spring up?
I don’t know. There’s just something about the relationship between Vincenz, Julian and Hannah that I can’t get on board with. I guess it just doesn’t seem logical to me and I’m missing that rational part of why these three characters are going to end up together. The whole relationship just seems forced and I’ve been wondering, would Hannah still look at Vincenz and Julian if they weren’t the only men she’s seen/been around since she was released? Could her happy pairing be with another solider if only she had stepped out of Vincenz and Julian’s apartment? I don’t know and because of that, I’m having trouble finding any desire to continue reading Captivated. Maybe there’s more to their relationship that we see later on, but at 19% of the way through, I’m not hooked enough to find out.
I do have to say though, the plot does make me curious. Obviously that portion of the story is still building and the real main thrust of it hasn’t occurred; so while I’m not wanting to finish Captivated just yet, I do plan on coming back to it at some point. I love the previous novels in Dane’s Federation/Phantom Corps series and I want to see what is going on in this world. It’s still just as fascinating. I just wish I could connect with the characters a little more.
Overall, while Captivated doesn’t really score with me on a character level, I did enjoy what plot I saw. The idea of why the kidnappers kept Hannah alive and imprisoned (while they had killed off everyone else) and what they were after intrigues me. Plus there is this ongoing war. I do want to eventually find out what happens in the world, but I first need to get past the idea of how Hannah is getting together with her boys. As for the heat factor…yummy! Vincenz and Julian have it in spades. Honestly, I would’ve been happy with a story just on these two. Hannah doesn’t need to be around. However she is, so before I can continue with Captivated, I need to accept that.
Undercover (Federation Chronicles)
Relentless (Federation Chronicles)
Insatiable (Federation Chronicles)
Mesmerized (Phantom Corps)
Captivated (Phantom Corps)