Review: Captive in the Dark by CJ Roberts

Posted December 24th, 2012 in book review / 8 comments

Captive in the Dark

The Dark Duet Series, #1

by CJ Roberts

Publisher: Self-Published (July 2011)
Genre: Erotica, BDSM, Romance
Format: Paperback (262 pages)
Source: Purchased
Purchase: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository
Rating: ★★★★½ (4.5 stars)

Caleb is a man with a singular interest in revenge. Kidnapped as a young boy and sold into slavery by a power-hungry mobster, he has thought of nothing but vengeance. For twelve years he has immersed himself in the world of pleasure slaves searching for the one man he holds ultimately responsible. Finally, the architect of his suffering has emerged with a new identity, but not a new nature. If Caleb is to get close enough to strike, he must become the very thing he abhors and kidnap a beautiful girl to train her to be all that he once was.

Eighteen-year-old Olivia Ruiz has just woken up in a strange place. Blindfolded and bound, there is only a calm male voice to welcome her. His name is Caleb, though he demands to be called Master. Olivia is young, beautiful, naïve and willful to a fault. She has a dark sensuality that cannot be hidden or denied, though she tries to accomplish both. Although she is frightened by the strong, sadistic, and arrogant man who holds her prisoner, what keeps Olivia awake in the dark is her unwelcome attraction to him.

WARNING: This book contains very disturbing situations, dubious consent, strong language, and graphic violence.

At A Glance
I really loved this book. It was beautifully written and intense. However, with all the hype I expected a tiny bit more.

The Good
Here’s The Story…
Caleb’s focus for years has been to end the life of the man who has ruined countless lives, especially the life of the friend who saved Caleb from slavery. All Caleb has to do is train one last sex slave to get close enough to this monster so Caleb can kill him. But choosing Olivia as his victim proves to be a bad decision. Olivia is different and stirs something in Caleb he long thought dead.

Olivia wakes up to a world of darkness, pain, and humiliation. She doesn’t know why, but Caleb has kidnapped her and is set on training her for something. He takes her on an erotic but scary ride that tests her strength and mental state. For despite Caleb’s rough treatment, Olivia finds herself falling for him. She knows this is wrong but she can’t help her growing feelings, no matter how bad she wants to escape her new horrific reality.

WTF did I just read? I don’t know if I should be afraid or thrilled. I am leaving Captive in the Dark stunned. It was so horrible and endearing at the same time. How the hell does that happen? I have to give props to CJ for writing a book like no other I have ever read. I think my brain has turned to mush because I don’t even know how to write this review.

Okay, I will start off by saying that I LOVE Olivia. She is so brave and vulnerable. I think she acted like any of us would in that situation. She tries to hold on to her dignity by being difficult and unrelenting in the beginning but Caleb soon beats most of that out of her. But even when she becomes submissive, she still has this fire within her. I think Caleb brings it out of her. She takes chances to save herself even if they are dangerous. You would think Olivia would be an unappealing character for the fact that she starts to have feelings for her tormentor/kidnapper. But CJ makes us see the real side to Stockholm Syndrome. You easily sympathize with Olivia even as she hates Caleb one minute then seeks him out for comfort the next. Olivia even realizes that this isn’t healthy, but she can’t help herself. What would you do when the only human contact you had was both your enemy and your savior?

What makes it all brilliant is that Caleb is amazing at manipulation and breaking down a person to their very soul. I don’t think any normal human being could resist his methods of submission training. He uses a mixture of abuse and pain with kindness and gentleness. He beats the holy hell out of Olivia then massages her to relieve the pain. He treats her like a plaything then soothes her with kisses and comfort. He makes sure that after he mistreats her, she comes to him on her knees for security. He even uses the sexual pleasure he can give her to train her body to feel pleasure despite her reluctance.

Caleb is a hauntingly effed up character. His career as a sex slave trainer was not what he wanted for his life. The abuse and slavery he experienced as a child has lead him to this path. All he wants is revenge, and he will use Olivia and anyone else to get it, no matter how much it starts to bother and hurt him. But all his years of training slaves for a horrible future is finally getting to him. This makes him a complex character, for you love and hate him. It feels like you shouldn’t like him at all but his past makes you feel for him. And his few hints of kindness endears him to you no matter how hard you try to fight it. When he is terrible to Olivia, you hate him, but that glimmer of hope that he can be a better man keeps you glued to the page. You just never know what he is going to do next.

I have to say this though, this book is disgusting…but in a good way. It’s so dark and perverse you can’t look away. It’s also intense and suspenseful. There is never a dull moment. You walk away from this novel heartbroken, disgusted by its brutality, and emotionally raw. I find this to be a good thing because anything that can make you feel this much is worth reading.

I Love/Hate You Captive in the Dark…
Captive in the Dark deals with a lot of issues. Stockholm Syndrome for one. I never thought I could know what it feels like to have such a horrible ailment, but after reading this book, I feel like I am walking away with Stockholm Syndrome for this book. I want to hate it but I can’t help going back for more. It’s wrong, but I love it’s brutality. The complexity of the situation these characters are in is so beyond me that I had to keep reading to see how CJ was going end it all because I had no clue.

The writing was simply beautiful. We delve deep into the characters heads, more so with Olivia. I think that’s how it’s easy to sympathize with Olivia and Caleb even with their flaws. In the end, both characters, as well as the reader, are left psychologially messed up. Good times.

It’s a Thinker…
I like the questions this book raises as well. How much does it take to break someone? What are people willing to do to survive? Is pride worth the pain or is it okay to submit? At what point does the price of revenge go to high? CJ deals with these questions in a way that makes it impossible to leave this book for a second. You better be good at holding your bladder. I am for sure reading the second book of the duet series, Seduced in the Dark.

The Bad
I can’t really say there is anything bad about this book. It is rough to read sometimes but that’s not really a bad thing. The only thing that kept me from giving it 5 stars was the fact that so many people raved about it that I expected a little more. My expectations were to high. That doesn’t mean this book wasn’t amazeballs, it just didn’t hit me as hard as my 5 star books. However, I did name this as one of my fav books of the year so make sure to take that into account.  

The Snuggly
As you probably know by now, this is not a gentle book. It has BDSM, pain, and sexual humiliation. It’s not the roughest book I have ever read, but it does mess you up a little bit psychologically. Because you love/hate Caleb right along with Olivia. There are some very sweet moments too, so I think many people will like the kinda romance going on.

Final Thoughts
Captive in the Dark is like a mind-f**k on steroids. It will leave you shaken but excited. And though I was blown away, I did feel like a little something was missing. I don’t know what was missing, but it doesn’t matter, because it didn’t take away from my enjoyment of this book one bit, it just means one less half star. With that being said, everyone should read this book, well, probably not young adults, it would scare the crap out of them. Highly Recommend.

“He was my tormentor and my solace; the creator of the dark and the light within.” 


“Caleb was a strange person, cruel and inhuman; a monster, and yet, at other times, he seemed so capable of something like caring. He made me cry and scream and shake with fear and nearly a split second later he could make me almost believe he wasn’t responsible for any of it. He could hold me and make me feel safe. How was that possible?” 


“Each day I was more vulnerable than the last. Each day he stripped away more of my sense of self. And now he’d 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.” 

The Dark Duet Series:
Book #1: Captive in the Dark
Book #2: Seduced in the Dark


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8 Responses to “Review: Captive in the Dark by CJ Roberts”

  1. glass

    This book messes with your head – you know all of it is wrong, but you can’t stop to read or lust after the bastard.
    I couldn’t read anything for days after I finished it. Are you reading second book?

  2. Elisa

    Dang, I feel messed up just from reading the review! That sounds like a “maybe” read for me. I don’t know how my poor little head and heart could deal…but I might just be feeling wussy right now.

  3. Ashley

    I love your review soooo so much!! This is exactly how I felt. It’s so messed up and I feel like I shouldn’t love it but I do O_O I would find myself thinking “Ohh Caleb is hot” but then I’d be like “Wait, what? He kidnapped her.. I should hate him.. WHAT THE FUCK!!”

    And I promise, the second book is even better! It’s even more mindfucking and more confusing and more amazing. I can’t wait to read your review of that one!!

    • Jennifer Bielman

      Exactly. I am so scared for the second book. I am getting it for Christmas. Well, I am not suppose to know that so that’s between you and me. 🙂

      What’s funny is a reread your review after posting mine and realised we said similar stuff. lol. I guess that’s good.

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