Wow. Just wow. You know those books on Goodreads that everyone talks about and you think to yourself that you must read them? Captive in the Dark by C.J. Roberts was one of those books. I had several friends that raved about it, enough to make me curious. Each review I read talked about how dark and disturbing the book is. I have read what some people consider dark and disturbing and was not fazed by it, at all. One person’s dark and disturbing isn’t necessarily the same as another’s. However, with this book I found myself on the same page as most everyone else. Hopefully, my review will do this book justice and make you want to learn about these two incredibly compelling, yet incredibly damaged, people.
Caleb was kidnapped and sold into slavery at a very young age. He was rescued by a man named Rafiq, he is given the chance to take revenge on the one responsible for his captivity. Rafiq shelters Caleb and teaches him patience and how to survive in the sex slave business. Both of them were merely waiting for right time to enact revenge on the mastermind behind so much suffering.
Caleb has become known as a player in the pleasure slave business. Over time he has honed his training skills and is a trusted with the delicate balance of breaking a person down to build them back up. Now he is facing his biggest challenge. He must find a prized American girl and in six weeks make her ready for auction. He has chosen Olivia, Livvie, because she is beautiful, innocent, poor and most of all- nobody will miss her.
The time had come to prove his worth to the man he owed everything to as much as himself. There was only one obstacle remaining between him and vengeance. The last true test of his soullessness-willfully stripping someone of their freedom.
Livvie has been branded a whore her whole life. Even though she is a virgin she has lived in the shadow of her promiscuous mother. She has many brothers and sisters, all from different men. She has always tried to please her mother by wearing baggy clothing, no makeup and becoming as sexless as possible. Her relationship with her mother is destroyed one afternoon when her mother’s boyfriend comes onto her and they are caught kissing. Her mother takes the boyfriend’s side as completely divorces herself from anything to do with Livvie. Livvie is lost and lonely.
When Livvie is first taken she fights back furiously and is beaten by the men that take her. Locked in a dark room with only nightlights to see she waits to find out what will happen to her. When a man comes in to bathe and take care of her she once again fights back. In the struggle she loses her blindfold and sees Caleb. This is not the first time she has seen him- he saved her from a predator several days before. She is shocked and dismayed to learn that the rescuer she had been fantasizing about for days was the one was responsible for her captivity.
Day after day Caleb breaks Livvie down.
Every day I was more vulnerable than the last. Each day he stripped away more of my sense of self. And now he’s taken the last of it, the last of me. But who did that make me? An extension of him? Someone new? I didn’t know. Didn’t want to know.
He needs her to become submissive in order to pull off his revenge but he also needs her to retain her inner core so she will survive what is ahead. Events take place that made me flinch. Livvie is stubborn and will not submit to Caleb so in order to train her he beats her. He beats her hard and ugly to the point she has to stay on her stomach for a week afterward. During that week she only has Caleb to rely on to see to her needs. He must feed her, bathe her, help her to the bathroom…everything. At one point she thought calling him Master was the worst that could happen. Now she knew the pain was the worst.
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 somebody to hold me, somebody to be kind to me, somebody to tell me exactly those words. It’s going to be okay. It wasn’t of course, I knew that. But I didn’t care. I needed the lie. I needed my books, my movies, and now Caleb’s arms.
What makes this book so compelling is Caleb and how torn he is. His whole life is training slaves yet this one girl has crawled under his skin. He gives in to her in more ways than he should. She must remain a virgin so, in what was a painful and raw scene, he sodomizes her. He has had one goal for 12 years and Livvie is the only thing standing between him and that goal and yet he wants her in ways he cannot have.
Towards the end of the book Caleb finally tells Livvie what her purpose is and why she has been taken. At that point, my chest ached for both of them. Livvie is so horribly betrayed and wonders why she can’t have one person in her life to love her. What has she done that she doesn’t have anyone? Caleb has grown way too attached to her but knows there is nothing he will change. He must go forward. I hesitate to use the phrase Stockholm Syndrome because this was so much more. Livvie and Caleb, their dynamic, it was so much more.
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, 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.
The end of this book is the end of Caleb and Livvie’s time alone together. Rafiq is coming and with him a new brand of ugly for them. Most of this book is done in either Livvie or Caleb’s head so there is little dialogue. That makes for a long and draining book to read. I think I might have to wait a couple of days to start the next book. Maybe I will pick something light and fluffy up first.
This book is dark, emotionally painful and unpleasant in so many ways. I often found myself wondering how I would react if I were in the same situation. Would I survive? Would I want to survive? Would I fight or would I be weak and just cry? This book made me question what type of depth I have all the while thankful that I will never be in the same place as Livvie. I have people that would never stop looking for me. Final grade- A
He leaned over me, kissing away the tears on the side of my face. And still he didn’t move. It wasn’t enough to fuck my body, he wanted to mindfuck me too. It was working. I wanted him to be nice to me. To kiss me. To make it nice for me. I was scared it would hurt and I once again looked to him for protection. How messed up was that!
Then he fucked me.