Sunday, January 12, 2014

[Review] Enslaved by the Ocean (Criminals of the Ocean #1) by Bella Jewel

Indigo is running, she has no other choice. She's done something bad, and the only way to escape it, is to flee her home, and her country. She sets out on a luxury Yacht, to take her to another country with her best friend Eric. But she runs into a problem.

The Yacht catches fire.

She ends up stranded in the ocean, terrified, and scared of the uncertain. Until they show up. The pirates. Terrified, Indigo and Eric have to face the reality that this might be the end for them. These are pirates, they are the criminals of the ocean. What chance have they got of surviving this nightmare?  Then she lays eyes on Hendrix. He's the Captain, he's gorgeous, rugged, and mean. He's planning on keeping her to repay his debt to another man, by selling her. Now Indigo has a crazy ex after her, as well as a pirate she can't seem to get out of her head.  Come on this heart wrenching, dark, angsty and dangerous adventure as two people so opposite, find something so beautiful.

Although I am giving this book 3 1/2 stars, I need to be clear that I enjoyed the hell out of it!  This is my guilty pleasure kind of book.  I loved every single minute of it - I just wanted more.  More character development, more relationship development, more romance and more explanations.  

Indigo has had a tough life.  Her father left her when she was a child, her mother died, and she was shuffled around between foster homes.  One of her foster brothers became her only adult relationship, and this book begins with him trying to kill her.  After sending her ex to jail,  she is fearful of his release.  So what does she decide?  To take a yacht, with her best friend Eric, across the ocean to begin a new life in London where she thinks her ex won't find her.  Questionable decision right off the bat, but I went with it.  When the yacht she is on catches fire and explodes, killing the captain, Eric and Indie are left floating at sea.  That is until Hendrix's pirate ship "rescues" them.  Indie and Eric find themselves in a precarious situation.  Hendrix makes a deal with Indie, which promises Eric's safety and gives Indie free reign of the ship.  

Hendrix is a big, bad alpha male.  He's controlling and quiet, playing his cards close to his vest.  Of course, he is gorgeous, but aloof.  He is described as handsome, but modern.  He wears jeans and button down shirts.  In my mind, however, I pictured him in a long, flowing shirt and a sash around his waist.  I would be lying if I didn't picture him wearing Captain Jack Sparrow's clothing.  Hendrix is attracted to Indie, but has to use her to settle a debt, so he leaves her a lone for a while.  Indie is smart, loyal and determined.  She tries many, many times to escape her situation and to rescue her friend, but seems to always run into dead ends.  Her plan to gain freedom evolves into getting Hendrix to care for her, by any means necessary.  There are some drunken moments, and some very hot and heavy moments (waterfall, anyone?).  It isn't until a game changing event occurs before Hendrix admits that he has some deep feelings for Indigo.

I loved the side character as much as I loved the main characters.  Jess is the voice of calmness and reason in Indie's shifting world.  I loved their friendship and I hope it develops in the second book.  Drake was a welcome presence with his quiet broodiness and his protective instincts.  Eric was really the only character that I really did not like in this book.  He was a whiny little bitch.  Complaining about Indie's plan while all the while Indie was trying to win Eric's freedom.  Ugh!

Although I enjoyed these characters, I would have like more character development.  Maybe if a few chapters were from Hendrix's PoV, that would have helped.  We see Hendrix mainly from Indie's viewpoint, and since he is so guarded, we don't learn too, too much about him.  More relationship development would have been great, too.  There was always heat between Hendrix and Indie, but I would have liked to have seen more flirting, more banter and more angst.  There were many explanations in this book but I feel like there was all of this build up, and then it was over and done with rather quickly.  Hendrix's past and Indie's past both have a major affect on the outcome of this story.  I felt that there wasn't enough time of Indie and Hendrix as a couple before the big climax and ending of this book.  Also, these people are supposed to be pirates.  Criminals, for God's sake!  I was a bit taken aback by the "I'm-really-a-good-guy-even-if-I-shoot-people-in-the-head" vibe.  Every pirate we meet seems sweet beneath his rough exterior.  I wish there was at least one really bad dude on that pirate ship.  More darkness in this world would benefit the story.  

These are all minor issues, though, and it would be silly not to read this book.  It's a fun, swashbuckling good time.  I was engaged from the first page to the last, and the ending left me wanting more.  At 204 pages, this is a relatively short book.  So I guess what I'm trying to say is that I wanted more pages.  I look very forward to the next book in this series, Where Darkness Lies, due out in February.  This is the first book I read by Bella Jewel and it won't be the last.  Well done with the lead-in to book two.  Thanks for not leaving us hanging like some other Aussie authors!


Bookworm Brandee said...

Enslaved by the Ocean sounds like fun, Jamie. I completely understand your issues with it though. I hope the second one does a better job at character development...and maybe has an evil pirate to boot! ;) Great review!

Jamie said...

Thanks. I really did enjoy this book....just not enough to give it a higher rating. Fix a few problems and it's a 4-4.5 star book!

Neyra said...

I have this on my TBR list, i'm glad you enjoyed it Jamie (: Looking forward to it myself, and I hope the fact that these characters aren't fully developed yet wont hinder my ability to enjoy the book.

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