elven king's captive coverRating: 3.25 stars
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Length: Novel

Dustin is a 20-year-old construction worker just trying to get by, working hard at his job and hoping to ultimately go to college. But when he accidentally bumps into a wealthy man on the street, everything changes for Dustin. His mind separates from his body, taking him to a strange field, and it takes all the stranger’s efforts to bring him back. When he returns to consciousness, Dustin finds himself in the man’s car with Casersis cradling and comforting him. Dustin feels well cared for in Cass’ arms and agrees to let the man take him on a shopping spree and out to a fancy dinner.

Casersis can’t believe he has found someone to whom his amulet has reacted, someone with elven blood. Cass is a millions-year-old elf, exiled from his homeland, and he knows that Dustin will now be turning into an elf himself now that he has touched the amulet. Cass realizes this new information will overwhelm Dustin, but he also knows that Dustin can’t go back out into the world while the transformation is occurring, lest he reveal to humans the existence of elves. But Dustin is not at all happy about being forced to stay with Cass. He is an independent man and chafing under the requirement to stay confined. The men get along well personally; Dustin’s alpha side is a good match for Cass’ omega and the men are attracted to one another. But Dustin is facing a whole new world full of changes and he will need all of Cass’ support to find a way to accept his new life.

The Elven King’s Captive sounded quite intriguing from the blurb. It’s set in a futuristic world, something rare for an omegaverse story. It is also a features elven heroes, again, something rare for omegaverse. I was also intrigued by Cass, who is insanely wealthy, powerful, and older than time itself, being the omega, while the 20-year-old Dustin who is new to this world is the alpha. So there were so many interesting elements built into the set up here, but unfortunately, the story never really developed for me beyond that.

Things were rough for me from the very start. We are introduced to Dustin as he walks down the street, and he is portrayed as a street smart guy who knows how to take care of himself. He runs into Cass accidentally, which sends him into this mind/body separation where he is sort of stuck in this other realm. And the only way to get him back to the here and now is apparently via a blow job from this total stranger (because of course). While Dustin is still unconscious (he can hear Cass even though his mind is not connected to his body), Cass tells him that someone as attractive as Dustin should not have a job like construction (the first of many negative comments about Dustin’s job, his wealth, and his style of dress ). When Dustin comes to, Cass immediately proceeds to take him shopping for new clothes at some uber expensive, elite tailor to the rich and famous. He notes to Dustin:

My point is, you are a dirty, stained, poorly dressed museum piece, and I am the director fixing the damage. […] Long, graceful legs… all hidden by this baggy, saggy, cheap laundry!

So, passing out, blow job, insults about dress and job, and an immediate trip from this stranger to the fancy tailor… where Dustin is required to shower for some reason in the tailor’s luxurious bathroom before he can be fitted. And Cass then proceeds to buy Dustin all these outrageously expensive clothes so he can dress Dustin up the way he wants. After which, he takes him to some super elite restaurant for dinner where he tells Dustin he plans to order everything on the menu, blindfold him, and then feed it to him. I think this is supposed to feel like some luxurious, Pretty Woman-style situation, but to me, it just felt absurd and over the top. One minute, we see Dustin as this strong, independent guy who is making his way alone. We are also told over and over throughout the book that Dustin hates accepting help, he doesn’t want anything he perceives as charity, he doesn’t want Cass’ money, etc. It is a major point in the story. Yet somehow, he is willing to let this total stranger take him shopping immediately upon meeting and buy him this wildly expensive new wardrobe and take him to this super expensive restaurant.

So things started off rough for me, though it settled a little as the story went on. However, I never really got to the point where I connected with Cass after this rough start when he is so heavy handed (and continues to be throughout the book). Nor did I ever feel any kind of real connection between them. The conflict here comes in that Cass wants to take care of Dustin, protect him, and have him stay with him for safety. And all that may be valid, but rather than discuss any of it with Dustin, Cass proceeds to cancel his lease without telling him and move all of Dustin’s stuff into Cass’ home, as well as tell him he can no longer go to work. Dustin tells Cass a million times in a million ways that he values his independence and takes pride in his self sufficiency, yet time and again, Cass barrels right through that. This argument happens over and over, right up until the very end of the story. It just left me feeling like these guys were not connecting and never would. I never felt any chemistry between them, nor did I see enough relationship development to really believe in them as a strong couple.

The other big issue for me here was an almost complete lack of world building. Given the set up, that is where this story should have shined, but nothing is developed nearly enough to make things work. First off, this is supposed to take place in a futuristic world, but we get a few token nods and nothing else. There is some sort of three-level sidewalk (presumably the poor walk on the lower levels) and a hovering car we see at the very start of the book, and there is mention of some sort of built in communication device people seem to use to make calls and store money we see used a few times (though for unexplained reasons, Cass uses wired microphones to talk to his security people rather than the built in comm links they all have). But beyond these token things, there is essentially nothing in the story that makes it any different than modern day. This just was so much wasted potential, and it just seemed strange to have these few random futuristic elements in what was otherwise a contemporary fantasy/supernatural story.

The omegaverse side of things was similarly undeveloped. We get a couple of notes that Cass is producing slick when he is turned on, and at one point in the book, he mentions that he is an omega and Dustin is now an alpha. (There is apparently mpreg in this world, though none in this story.) But as with the futuristic element, this is world building in name only. We get no details about the alpha/omega dynamic in the elven world. We don’t see it play out either. In fact, everything in the story feels like Cass as the alpha, as he is the caretaker for Dustin, the one who makes the decisions, manages everything for him, etc. This could have been so interesting, to see how Dustin takes on his alpha role as the young, inexperienced elf, versus Cass’ millions of year old gazillionaire. But again, it just felt like window dressing with no real substance to the world building.

There are many other things here that never get developed. We learn that Cass’ son kicked him out of their realm because he disapproved of his son’s mate, but get minimal detail on what happened. The reason for the disapproval is because they couldn’t form a soul-bond, but we are never told what that means. There is also an enemy of Cass’ that causes trouble, and he tells Dustin that Cass killed his family, but we never learn anything about it. Dustin even thinks to himself he should ask Cass about it, but never does. So many things come up and are never explained, and so much detail is just never provided about this world and what is going on. This is the first of a series, with at least the next book also focusing on these guys, so some of those issues night be addressed there, but I feel like too little is dealt with here in favor of watching these guys have the same argument over and over.

I know this comes across as all complaints, so let me say that overall the writing is smooth and there are no problems with editing or writing style. The story has a nice tone and there are some interesting elements that are presented. I liked Dustin and could feel for him as he found himself in this strange new world with crazy things happening beyond his control. But I never warmed to Cass or their relationship, and I felt that there were way too many holes in the world building. This isn’t a bad story, and I think that some readers will like the fantasy element of Dustin being swept off his feet by this dashing hero who spoils him and cares for him. The idea of Dustin being trapped in this new world as he adapts to elven life is also interesting. So there are elements that may be appealing, particularly if world building isn’t an issue for you. If that sounds like your style, you may want to give this one some consideration.

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