Review – Captive Spirit by Liz Fichera

Publisher: Carina Press

Publish Date: 5/26/10

How I got this book: Won through a contest

Sonoran Desert. Dawn of the sixteenth century.

Aiyana isn’t like the other girls of the White Ant Clan. Instead of keeping house, she longs to compete on the Ball Court with her best friend Honovi and the other boys. Instead of marriage, she daydreams of traveling beyond the mountains that surround her small village. Only Honovi knows and shares her forbidden wish, though Aiyana doesn’t realize her friend has a secret wish of his own…

When Aiyana’s father arranges her marriage to a man she hardly knows, she takes the advice of a tribal elder: Run! In fleeing, she falls into the hands of Spanish raiders and finds herself being taken over the mountains against her will. Now Aiyana’s on a quest to return to the very place she once dreamed of escaping. And she’ll do whatever it takes to survive and find her way back to the people she loves.

*Blurb taken from author’s website*

Captive Spirit is the debut novel from author Liz Fichera. Set back in the sixteenth century in the area now known as Phoenix, Arizona we follow the story of Aiyana, a young tribal woman of the White Ant Clan. Her whole life she has wanted to be a boy more than a girl, she wants to play ball, hunt and fish. She despises cooking, basket weaving, and all things domestic.

When her father and the tribal leader plan an impromptu wedding to a man she doesn’t know or like, she takes the advice of the seer, and runs as fast as her feet can carry her. Once she is hidden away, she hears her best friend Honovi coming to get her, and all of a sudden is taken and knocked out from behind. When Aiyana awakes, she finds herself far from home and in the hands of Diego, a Spaniard who wants to trade her to the Apache people for gold.

As they travel further up the mountains and away from the only home she has ever known, Aiyana realizes that as much as she wanted more in her life, now all she wants is to get home and find her loved ones. With the help of Honovi, the two must escape the Spaniard’s, the Apache tribe, and the extreme mountainous weather to return to their home.

While Carina Press markets this book as a Romance novel, I don’t really know that I would say the emphasis is on the romance. Sure Aiyana and Honovi realize that their love for each other has grown from more than just best friends, but the foundation of the story to me was really about Aiyana’s struggles with being kidnapped, and her desires to reach her home.

Being from the Arizona desert, I could relate completely to the area and the history. I was amazed at how well Fichera painted the scenery, and how vivid the images came to mind. Not being the kind of fan who goes out on the hunt for historical fiction in the time of the Native Americans, I was happily surprised when the story sucked me in and kept me anticipating the next page.

I became incredibly wrapped up in Aiyana’s journey. Her fears of never again seeing home, her desires to get away from her captors at any cost and her devotion to save Honovi regardless of the consequences all became my priorities as well. I can’t even recall off hand of another character who so totally and completely sucked me into their life story, that even at 2:00 am, I refused to put the book down.

 Being the huge romance fan that I am, I wish there would have been a little more between Aiyana and Honovi. I knew from the beginning how deeply Honovi felt for Aiyana and towards the end she finally realized that the love she had for her best friend became something more. To me it really seemed as if their having to rely solely on only each other to survive, that trust become the foundation upon which their relationship was built.

 To those fans out there who love Historical Fiction without a ton of romance, this book is definitely one you should pick up. The characters were believable, the plot twisted, and the romance didn’t dominate the storyline.

 All in all, I give Captive Spirit 4 out of 5 stones of gold.

Liz is doing an interview and giveaway today over at my blog! Come check out her inspiration behind Captive Spirit and enter for a chance to win!

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