Monday, December 16, 2013


By: Vanessa Garden
Published By : Harlequin Teen
Release Date : 1st January 2014
Details: ARC Review, Paperback from Publisher for honest review, 291 Pages


Blurb: Goodreads

In a glittering underwater world, nothing is as it seems...

For the past twelve months since her parents’ death, seventeen-year-old Miranda Sun has harboured a dark secret — a secret that has strained the close relationship she once shared with her older sister, Lauren. In an effort to repair this broken bond, Miranda’s grandparents whisk the siblings away on a secluded beach holiday. Except before Miranda gets a chance to confess her life-changing secret, she’s dragged underwater by a mysterious stranger while taking a midnight swim.

Awakening days later, Miranda discovers that she’s being held captive in a glittering underwater city by an arrogant young man named Marko...the King of this underwater civilization.

Nineteen-year-old Marko intends to marry Miranda in order to keep his crown from falling into the sinister clutches of his half-brother, Damir. There’s only one problem. Miranda is desperate to return home to right things with her sister and she wants nothing to do with Marko. Trying to secure her freedom, Miranda quickly forms an alliance with Robbie — Marko’s personal guard. However, she soon discovers that even underwater, people are hiding dangerous secrets...

BOOK REVIEW by Michelle:

Debut Australian author Vanessa Garden and Harlequin Teen are releasing Captivate in January 2014. This was a good start to her Submerged Sun series.

The cover is absolutely beautiful.

My thoughts on this book are just my one personal opinion. I have been asked to give an honest review and I shall be submitting an honest review.

I really loved Vanessa’s idea about an underworld city of humans.

Frano Tollin a deep sea explorer came across this empty city on the bottom of the ocean, three generations ago. He convinced many to follow him from all walks of life and nationalities and so begins a city of humans living undetected on the bottom of the ocean away from the threat of war.

Sylvia snorted. “My grandfather was an intelligent and powerful man, with lots of money behind him. He was also highly secretive and incredibly discreet. All who chose to join him down here knew that they’d be punished if they were to jeopardize his new world. "

We do learn more about what this city may have been.

But not much.

Marko is the King of Marin, the underwater city and the grandson of Frano. He needs his people to live on so he needs to find a fertile woman to marry and breed with. Robbie his childhood friend has been sent to the surface to steal a female who can essentially be Marko’s breeder. Marko has another reason why he needs an heir so time is of the essence.

Miranda is having a late night swim with her sister and Robbie captures her and drugs her. Miranda is not quite seventeen so she is a little young for what Marko has in store for her. She isn’t thinking of children. She is thinking of sorting out the mess her relationship with her older sister Lauren has become after the death twelve months prior of both their parents. They need to air some dirty laundry.

But will they get a chance?

I have to say, I did not understand the drugging, but that is ok. I thought it was to prepare her body for where she was going, but no. She was knocked out for nearly a week.

King Marko is only nineteen years old and Robbie is seventeen. Robbie is Marko’s faithful bodyguard and what I can gather the only person close enough to being called a doctor in the city. I did wonder who was delivering all those children and attending medical needs before Robbie came along. I did scratch my head in wonder at there not being an actual qualified doctor or medical team in this city. Robbie appeared to be it. I gather he was putting on his catching mitt for when King Marko’s bride gave birth. 

Good luck with that one Robbie.

I really like Robbie’s character. He was one of the stand out characters for me in this story. He is the meat in the sandwich. He knows Miranda has been wronged, and he knows he was following orders, but it was wrong to just take a female against her will and assume she would play happy housewife and pop babes out. He also has great loyalty to Marko and he has proven this.

Robbie sighed. “No babies have been born in Marin for over eighteen years. That’s why I brought you here. Sylvia ordered me to.”

He spat out the last sentence as though he despised my situation as much as I did, and finally met my eyes.

“You’re here to help Marko - just Marko - sire an heir.”

Miranda is threatened a lot with the Colosseum. This is a place you don’t want to wind up. These humans have sharks in it and when you have been you go...death by sharks.


I have to admit. I wondered what sort of society treated humans this way. They are living under the ocean, but they are still just humans. Imagine doing that on the surface. It would be a very dystopian world we were becoming if we all sat around in the stands watching death by sharks tearing you to shreds.

Sylvia is Marko’s older sister by a decade and she can be quite villainess and stir the pot , and then she can be all apologetic. I did find her a great character when she was switched on as the threatening biatch but confused when she was all sobby . You stirred the pot hun, you know Marko and his rules. You planted the seed.

Aiden I thought was a wasted character. I wanted more from him in the plot.

I did cringe a bit with Marko telling Miranda that she could be artificially inseminated. Again, was Robbie going to be performing that procedure? 


“With all due respect, Miranda, you and I won’t be doing anything at all. It will be done artificially.” He paused to stare up at me with raised brows, his eyes inquisitive. “Unless you want - "

The fertility dance was another set of scenes where I was a little bit embarrassed and felt awkward reading. Truly I am probably the only person who felt this. I could justify a fertility dance in my leotard if I was part of a tribe and it was an ancient ritual.

But dang, this just felt awkward and weird.

For me. 

I could see it was awkward for Miranda.

For the questions I had as I was reading and noting, I did have a lot answered. I thought that was great, but I was left with a lot unanswered too. They were more plot issues.

The more I read and saw that other humans had in the past few years been stolen/rescued from the surface, both male and female, I couldn’t help wonder why they weren’t put to work in the breeding department, possibly against their will, but none the less that is what Marko was wanting from Miranda so why not just put the others to work bringing the babes into their underwater world and boosting the population.

That was a long sentence, I know.

Miranda wasn’t pliable to the idea at first.

Gee I wonder why?

So why not go find another from the surface after all there were the males and females in the sorting room that weren’t born in Marin so they could possibly have perfect plumbing for breeding.

There was no talk of schooling or hospitals, or real world building in Captivate and that was what I was hungering to understand. I am looking forward to reading # 2 in this series as I DO think Vanessa has a great idea here. I don’t personally and just my one opinion think it was overly well executed.

The underworld contains the baddies, hence the name. It was only touched on. Damir is Sylvia’s twin and of course Marko’s brother. He is the black sheep.

Vanessa does employ a rather sinister side to Damir and what he wants to achieve. I think a bit of Frano rubbed off on him. It is quite sinister.

Marko and Miranda. I had trouble with these two and the believability of their being a love after watching Marko being not so good in the courting department. Sure he did a nice walk and he tried a nice dinner, but he also locked her in her room and jumped to massive conclusions with her and Robbie. That could have cost Robbie a lot and then after the fact, he had a chat with Robbie and he believed him.

I was like, dude could have taken the time to chat to Robbie first. It didn’t take much to convince you after, he could have died.

Miranda and Marko are an awkward couple until they start to get their mojo on.

“Marko’s a good boy. A bit moody and serious for a nineteen-year-old, but he has his charms. Nearly every woman in Marin is in love with him, so you should think yourself lucky,” she sighed.

“It may seem, at first, as though he doesn’t want anything to do with you, but don’t worry. Deep down, he understands his responsibility to Marin, and he also understands the great sacrifice that you have made.” Her full red lips widened into a smile. “See? You both have something in common already.”

Robbie and Miranda have a great relationship . They can talk openly.

He shifted slightly and dipped his head. “I took you, even though I didn’t want to,” he said in a voice so quiet it was almost a whisper. “If that’s not brotherly loyalty, then I don’t know what is.”

I wasn’t sure how I felt about Miranda putting her physical looks down often.

What I did pick up on is this utopia of humans, I didn’t feel like anybody was really happy. I only got to see inside the white castle, mainly, but even there those in the sorting room shucking the pearls had guards standing over them. It didn't feel like a place these humans, or the younger generation anyway were overly happy or joyous about living in. The original inhabitants made the choice willingly to come down and be a part of Frano's exclusive world.

Their parents had to watch their own children not being able to have children. No grandparenting. How was this society to survive? One Queenie is not enough to kick start that population boom.

I don't really understand how large this community is in population numbers but even if their plumbing was working on the ladies, there would end up being inbreeding, surely?

I think I would have felt more satisfied and believed the world I was presented if they could travel to the surface , get their sunshine and moon cycles and could have children and people were happy to leave and let new blood come down. A secret society that had an adventurous side to them.

Hmmm, not sure what I am trying to say here. 

The city itself had a beauty visually to it, but it also had an underworld and that darn Colosseum of death, not to mention the dungeons.

I felt that there was a definite Peter Pan vibe with the last children born are now like seventeen or eighteen years old and there will be no more births unless Miranda gets on it and starts using her ovaries for the good of Marin.

Maybe that was what happened in a dying population. Without new babies to care for, people just failed to grow up.

A good start to this series with an interesting idea and a group of characters I want to get to know better and answers discovered.
I am looking forward to book 2 .

Will there be new beginnings?

Will love prevail?

Will a babe be on the agenda?



Captivate Casting Call… 

If my Young Adult novel, Captivate, was made into a movie, then this would be my dream cast. Of course, a dream movie cast comes with a dream film director, which would be none other than the amazing Baz Luhrmann (and yes, there is a dance scene in Captivate)

Miranda: played by Aussie actress Emily Browning

She may not be as curvy as Miranda, but Emily’s facial features mirror Miranda’s perfectly. Plus, she is a brilliant, young actress. 

Lauren: played by Teresa Palmer

Lauren was probably the first character (besides Marko) that I pictured with the face of an actor. Teresa would make a perfect Lauren. And she’s Aussie too! 

Marko: played by Jonathan Rhys Meyers (slightly younger than now)

If you Google his name and bring up some photos of him playing a young King Henry VIII in the Tudors (the earlier episodes), you get exactly how I see Marko inside my head. 

Robbie: played by the very handsome Max Irons. Those large, sympathetic eyes of his (and that strapping body) would make him the perfect Robbie. 

Aiden: played by Rowan McNamara 

This gorgeous indigenous Australian actor from the movie Samson and Delilah would be perfect as Miranda’s best friend

Sylvia: played by Angelina Jolie 

Who else could play the sexy older sister of Marko?

Damir: played by Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp playing Angelina’s twin brother!? What a perfect pair the two would make!


  1. What an interesting concept although I'm not sure if I'll like this. I haven't come across something like this so that's a great "selling point" for this book. I can tell it offers something unique and I agree about the cover though, it is so pretty.

    1. Hmmm Miss B this was a book with great potential. I just think it needed some fiddling with as the sinister side to the story is very sinister and scary:D


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