Review: Captive In The Dark (#1, Dark Duet) by CJ Roberts - Vilma Iris | Lifestyle Blogger

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Review: Captive In The Dark (#1, Dark Duet) by CJ Roberts



This review is spoiler-free!

Holy Mindfuck. Please excuse my potty mouth, but this book is crazy! And crazy good!

Right off, I’ll tell you I’ve NEVER read a book like this. It’s dark. Reeeeaaallllyyy dark. There’s no comparison really, but will definitely tell you it was darker (in a whole other way) than 50 shades. It aggressively shoved you way past the boundaries of what makes you uncomfortable and had me wondering if there was something wrong with me for being so captivated by it. Everything you think you feel along the way teeters and totters, leaving you unable to solidify your thoughts and feelings about Caleb. Oh, Caleb. But before I get to what this crazy book is all about, I also want to talk about the writing. There are few authors whose writing truly impacts me… A.L. Jackson’s emotional honesty, Sophie Kinsella’s easy humor and Amy Bartol’s heart-attack-inducing style to name a few. CJ Roberts is one of those gifted authors.

Her style is uniquely mesmerizing, seductive and expressive. She vividly strikes a picture in your mind of what you are reading. You are immersed in what the characters are feeling… disgusted, angry, happy, hopeful, hopeless. She brings new meaning to the term “range of emotions.” Absolutely could.not.put.this.down.

So what’s it about? Oh, you know the classic story of boy meets girl, boy kidnaps girl, then trains and sells girl as a sex slave. Uh-huh. You wonder how anyone could read 261 pages of this… Well you can, You will. And you won’t want to put it down.

The book begins with Caleb, a slave trainer, reminding himself about revenge…

“Revenge, Caleb reminded himself. That was the purpose of all this. Revenge, twelve years in the planning and only a few months away in its execution.”

Caleb plans to kidnap a girl and train her as a pleasure slave in order to reap revenge on a person from his past, Vladek Rostrovich.  Oliva (Livvie) Ruiz, a girl that Caleb has been watching, a girl that Caleb is surprisingly intrigued with, and a girl that he “casually” runs into to help her when she is in trouble, is taken as a pawn in his game of revenge.

“Safety–like light–was a facade. Underneath, the whole world was drenched in darkness. Caleb knew that. He also knew the only way to truly be safer was to accept the dark, to walk in it with eyes wide open, to be part of it. To keep your enemies close.”

When Livvie wakes up, vision hazy and confused, she finds herself in a dark van and not alone. She panics and kicks one of her captors in the face. Her captor strikes her in the face and darkness again comes. When she finally comes too, she is blindfolded, in pain and tied to a bed. She then hears Caleb’s familiar voice. He tells her, “I am your master.” Caleb calls her “Pet.” But Livvie is hardly his typical slave, she has fight, she is brave, but he needed to bring out the submissive in her. “Submissives were survivors.”

“As a slave trainer, he had trained at least a score of girls. Some were willing, offering themselves as pleasure slaves to escape destitution, sacrificing freedom for security. Other came to him as the coerced daughters of impoverished farmers… some were fourth or fifth wives of sheikhs and bankers sent by their husbands to learn to satisfy distinct appetities. But this particular slave, the one he eyed… she was different. She was neither willing, nor coerced, nor sent to him. She was pure conquest.”

Her time with Caleb is harrowing. Livvie’s emotions fluctuate between anger, fear and the need for comfort… for anyone to comfort her. And because Caleb himself oscillates between being brutal and authoritative, to being gentle and kind, lines begin to blur between captive and captor. As you read about Livvie’s time with Caleb, you are glued to the page. You experience so many OMFG moments, you can’t believe what you’re reading… you can’t believe YOU are reading this. But you’re captivated by what’s happening, mesmerized by the ebb and flow of the writing, of the story. This isn’t just BDSM… for that is solely with the intent of pleasure, this is a horrifying experience… but a rather complicated one in which the edges soften and dim… in which her captor provides the only source of comfort. Parts are appalling to read, parts erotic, parts sad and hopeless… and yet in the midst of it all, you are also hopeful… It seems that Caleb is drawn to her and her to him, and his rules slowly get broken. Will he let her go?

“He was my tormentor and my solace; the creator of the dark and the light within. I didn’t care that he would undoubtedly hurt me at any moment; right now, I just needed someone to hold me, somebody to tell me exactly those words. It’s going to be okay.”

As the story progresses, we learn more about Caleb… he a beautifully written character… one who is a flawed, tragic and deeply complex. Even at the book’s conclusion, it is difficult to reconcile your feelings for him. He’s had his own heart-breaking upbringing that has shaped who he is now, fueled by his revenge, and left unsure of what will come once his revenge is achieved. Can he be redeemed? He had been taken as a young boy, experienced horrendous things, then “saved” by his current partner in revenge, Rafiq. Together, a bond had formed and over the course of twelve years, plotted against Vladek. And because of this, he is single-minded and resolute in unfurling his plan for revenge with Livvie as the pawn.

“I’m going to sell you as a pleasure slave to a man I despise.”

Livvie is a strong, brave female character. The things she goes through are frightening, and you FEEL the emotions pour out of her and onto the page. She has also grown up in a home bereft of love and support, making it easier to see why she attaches herself to her gorgeous captor.“I was always seeking shelter in the people who hurt me the most. My mother. My father. Caleb. Like a battered dog begging for love from a malicious master. It was all I knew. And still his arms felt safe, warm and meant for me to seek sanctuary within. The cycle of damage would never end because I couldn’t tell the difference until it was too late.”

As I said up top, this book is crazy. A veritable mind fuck. You question yourself and the characters constantly, teetering on the edge of it all page after page. You hate Caleb, you love Caleb. Caleb is a monster. A savior. A source of comfort. And Livvie, a survivor.

“Caleb could and would hurt me. Not today, but maybe tomorrow or the next day. Still, for the first time I knew he could not destroy me. It would matter to him if I didn’t exist. And no matter what happened, I’d land on my feet because Caleb had shown me I had it in me. It was a strange gift, from an unexpected source.”

Take a deep breath and read this book. You will want to discuss it with others for sure. You might also consider pouring yourself a big glass of wine to calm your fraying nerves as your jaw regularly hits the floor. It’s odd to say given the context of the book, but it’s an amazing book.

Buy Captive In The Dark (#1, Dark Duet) here:
Buy Seduced In the Dark (#2, Dark Duet) here:
Read Chapter 1 of the Epilogue, (novella, #2.5, Dark Duet) here:


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  1. cristinasbookreviews said:

    LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE this post but most importantly, I love the photo of Paul Walker!


    1. Vilma's Book Blog said:

      Right?! For some reason this pic really captured both the intensity and looks of Caleb!


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