Review : Captive Prince (C.S. Pacat)

Title : Captive Prince
Author : C.S. Pacat
Published : February 4th, 2012
Series : Captive Prince, #1

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Damen is a warrior hero to his people, and the rightful heir to the throne of Akielos. But when his half brother seizes power, Damen is captured, stripped of his identity, and sent to serve the prince of an enemy nation as a pleasure slave.
Beautiful, manipulative, and deadly, his new master, Prince Laurent, epitomizes the worst of the court at Vere. But in the lethal political web of the Veretian court, nothing is as it seems, and when Damen finds himself caught up in a play for the throne, he must work together with Laurent to survive and save his country.
For Damen, there is just one rule: never, ever reveal his true identity. Because the one man Damen needs is the one man who has more reason to hate him than anyone else…

Rating :

3starshalf

A NICe entree, but I’m still hungry

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• my thoughts •

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“Damen had half expected a gaudy parade costume, but Laurent had always defined himself against the opulence of the court. And he did not need gilt to be recognised under a parade standard, only the uncovered bright of his hair.”

It might seem like a weird comment to leave on this book, but I’ll stand by it.

First of all, it is kind of difficult to rate and review this book. I went in because people I trust loved the books and I was more than ready to be swept away too. I went in knowing about all the warnings that accompany these books, knowing that Book 1 would probably be the worst to get through. I went in with the next two books sitting on my shelf, so I knew that, in any case, I was going to finish the series, I had to pull through.

And I did. I enjoyed this book, despite the heavy themes and all the unpleasantness that comes with them. This book stands out on its own and, more generally, this universe is a nice change from all the things we’re used to see when it comes to the fantasy genre :

  • It depicts a society in which sexuality is not an issue, at all. Sex is not viewed as a sin, and people are not judged for partaking in it, sexual preferences don’t matter and every practice is allowed.
  • It shows deeply complex characters that grow throughout the story. You might start the book thinking one thing about a character and when you’re closing the book, you’re thinking a completely different thing (yes, I am sort of talking about Laurent).
  • Even though you know where the romance is going, it’s beautifully slow-burn. All those who love seeing relationships developing from beginning to end will absolutely love this book. Even though the romance hasn’t really started yet, the chemistry between the two main characters is undeniable and I’m excited to discover in detail how their alliance will progress and what will make it change.

The author controlled the pace really well, and even though most of the side characters don’t appear much in the story, they still manage to bring something to the table. I did like Erasmus’ little side-story at the end, which makes me wonder if we’ll ever see him again (I don’t see how it could happen, though).

That being said, my judgement of this book has to take into account that the next books in the trilogy are already waiting for me to pick them up, almost an arm’s length away. I caught myself thinking that, if I had read this book when it was first published, I would have been left frustrated because, no matter how great this book is, somehow, it’s not enough.

You always hear people complaining about how most book series could be written in a single book and that publishers are assholes for trying to steer money their way. It’s undeniable, but never before today have I thought that it could definitely apply for a book I’ve read.

That’s why I consider this book a great introduction to this world and these characters but, in the end, I wanted more. Not because I absolutely want to know what happens next (although, it’s also true), but because I feel like the book needed more substance, more length, more story. It feels almost disappointing that it ended where it did, and thank Merlin I have Prince’s Gambit to follow it up with.

TRIGGER WARNING FOR RAPE, PEDOPHILIA AND PHYSICAL ABUSE

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4 thoughts on “Review : Captive Prince (C.S. Pacat)

  1. Great review! I read this series last month and fell absolutely in love with it. Though I do understand your point: if you only look at the first book, it’s not really enough. But if you can follow it up immediately with the next then they are absolutely amazing. If you like great character development and slow burn romance I think you’ll like the next few books 🙂

    Like

  2. I’ve been trying to read more diverse books and especially books that have LGBTQ+. I haven’t delved into any M/M romances yet but there’s been so much hype surrounding this one especially since the release of the third book. I’m glad this set the foundation for a good start; I agree, those are the best!

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    1. Thanks ! I mean, the first book is really heavy, you know, but the promise of what happens in the next two books kept me going. And don’t worry, there’s plenty of M/M romances out there, sometimes I feel like that’s all there is !

      Liked by 1 person

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