by Lissa Michaels

July 1999
ISBN: 1-58200-143-X
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Lissa Michaels has a talent for story telling and character development. That’s more than evident in Captive Hearts, a story not of this world that tells of a prince turned slave and a softhearted warden.

Morgan Lysandros Fontinara is determined to set his people free of the taint of the Jotnar. But as he proceeds with his plans for an invasion on the slave planets the Jotnar rule, he’s taken captive, tortured, then put under the rule of Administrator Ariana Zoltan.

Ariana abhors slavery, but with no idea how to end it she’s turned her focus to decreasing the number of slave deaths. Even if she has to use the inner most thoughts of the slaves themselves against them to do it.

As a result of her periodic invasion of their minds, Ariana is hated by the people she seeks to protect, as well as by her second in command, Commander Grader. Grader is a vile man who resents her authority over him, and who receives pleasure from the pain of others. He doesn’t much care if the slaves live or die as long as he gets to torture them on their way out.

When Ariana and Morgan are brought together, the connection between the two of them is immediate, despite their lack of trust in one another. What follows is an adventure rife with intrigue, lust, politics and liberation.

Captive Hearts is a pretty awesome tale, my few complaints being that Morgan took entirely too long to trust Ariana, despite all the risks she took protecting him and that Ariana could have been a bit more resourceful. There were a few times when she seemed like little more than excess baggage. The potential for her to be a more interesting character was definitely there.

What made up for much of the dissatisfaction I felt with the characters throughout the book was the ending of Captive Hearts, which was everything my idealistic heart could have wanted. Lissa Michaels did a bang-up job of giving a great story a great ending and I put this book down with a smile and immediately placed the order for its sequel Real Magic.

Reviewed in April 2003 by JaToya.

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