The Captive Prince Trilogy by C. S. Pacat
Genres: LGBT, Romance, Fiction
Blurbs for each book:
Book I – Captive Prince
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 . . .
Book II – Prince’s Gambit
With their countries on the brink of war, Damen and his new master Prince Laurent must exchange the intrigues of the palace for the sweeping might of the battlefield as they travel to the border to avert a lethal plot.
Forced to hide his identity, Damen finds himself increasingly drawn to the dangerous, charismatic Laurent. But as the fledgling trust between the two men deepens, the truth of secrets from both their pasts is poised to deal them the crowning death blow…
Book III – Kings Rising
Damianos of Akielos has returned.
His identity now revealed, Damen must face his master Prince Laurent as Damianos of Akielos, the man Laurent has sworn to kill.
On the brink of a momentous battle, the future of both their countries hangs in the balance. In the south, Kastor’s forces are massing. In the north, the Regent’s armies are mobilising for war. Damen’s only hope of reclaiming his throne is to fight together with Laurent against their usurpers.
Forced into an uneasy alliance the two princes journey deep into Akielos, where they face their most dangerous opposition yet. But even if the fragile trust they have built survives the revelation of Damen’s identity—can it stand against the Regents final, deadly play for the throne?
What I think of the books:
Writing this review was a HUGE problem for me. No, not because this is the first time I’m reviewing three books all at once, although I feel like I should explain why I’m doing it. It’s simple really: when I thought of things to say about Book I, they were the same as I would’ve said for Book II and Book III. That’s why I decided to put Captive Prince, Prince’s Gambit and Kings Rising in the same review.
But back to why writing this review was a problem for me.
This is one of those rare times when I adore everything about the books (covers aside) and am thoroughly engaged from start to finish. It’s a bit like a drug because you keep needing more, but there are no side effects. Well, apart from your eyes getting tired and you becoming sleepy because you are not supposed to stay up this late for a book. But let’s face it: we all do it. We all go “just one more chapter” even though we know we won’t stop reading after just one more and that we’ll be like zombies the next day.
Okay, Dilyana, if you are so crazy about this trilogy, why is it difficult to write a review?
Because the whole review will be me gushing about how awesome the three books are. Seriously, I’m in full fangirl mode when it comes to these books. However, I’ll try to tone it down a little so the review isn’t just “Oh, my God! Oh, my God! Oh, my God!”
Okay, let’s start with the blurbs. And don’t worry: as always, I’ll keep the review spoiler-free so I will comment on the books, but I won’t tell you exactly what’s in Book III thus spoiling Book I and Book II for you.
To be honest, I never thought the covers were eye-catching (although they go with the theme of the books), so if I hadn’t read the blurbs, I wouldn’t have given the books a try. But the blurbs were pretty interesting, promising us adventure and intrigue. I was a little bit worried because I don’t like too much political intrigue, but even though it plays a huge part in the series, it never comes off as excessive. There’s enough to keep the plot moving, to keep you wondering which of the characters you could trust and which not, but not enough for you to be so totally confused at what’s going on that pull you hair out in frustration.
A reason why nothing was too much in this book even though something was always going on was the perfect pacing of the story in all three books. You have a slow-paced moment, then a fast-paced one; you have an intellectual challenge, followed by a physical one; you have the all business moments, but also some more intimate ones. Basically, there’s something for everyone, it’s balanced and well-paced.
Another reason why there’s no dull moment and I was absolutely engrossed was… Laurent.
He turned into one of my all-time favorite characters from any sphere of entertainment (books, movies, anime, comics) from the very start. I’m one of those people who stand by smart is sexy and that guy is very, very intelligent. I also like how he’s somewhat of a mystery, a controversy at first. Something would happen and Damen would interpret it one way, but there would sometimes be a hint that he might’ve gotten things wrong. I also find Laurent’s character arc more interesting than Damen’s.
Don’t get me wrong: I like Damen, but that’s it.
I care for him, I would cheer for him, I wouldn’t want him to get hurt, but I can’t help but compare him to the other main character and Laurent is just so captivating that Damen pales in comparison. He is interesting, he is developed, we see a change in him, we follow his journey, but he is no Laurent.
As for the rest of the characters: some I like more, some I like less, but all are well-written with maybe the exception of Damen’s brother. But like in the Damen/Lauren case, it could seem that way because I’m comparing him to others. He just didn’t really leave an impression on me.
One character who I loved to hate and on whom I wish great physical and psychological harm is the Regent – just as brilliant as Laurent, but lacking redeeming qualities. If he was written poorly, I wouldn’t have enjoyed the books so much because without him there would be no intrigue, so I’m glad he was created the way he was. Even though I hate him. With a passion.
The last big reason why this is such a page-turner are the twists. Obviously, I’m not going to tell you what they are, but there were a lot of times when I thought “I totally didn’t see this coming although it makes perfect sense so I know it was planned and not a whim the author woke up with one morning”. The biggest one comes near the ending of Book III and oh, my God, Laurent is brilliant!
Yes, I know I’m supposed to skip the “Oh, my God”. No, I don’t regret using it; it’s perfectly in place.
Because even though I told you there will be a twist there and you’ll now be expecting one, you are still not going to be able to guess it. But once you read it, yep, it will be perfect. I had a lot of squealing fangirl moments while I read the Captive Prince trilogy, but this was probably the biggest one.
And before I conclude the review, there’s just one more thing I’ll add: I like C.S. Pacat’s writing style. There are so many other good (pacing, most characters, some twist) and great (other twists, Laurent!) things about the book that the writing style is not the first thing that would come to mind when I think of the trilogy (yes, yes, the first thing is Laurent), but I did enjoy it. It’s not overly complicated, it’s descriptive where it needs to be, it doesn’t slow the tempo with a bunch of details in a fast-paced scene… In short: I enjoyed it.
All those things are why the three books would make it to my Favorites I Read in 2017 list (check out my list for 2016 here) as well as my all-time favorite books.
Who would I recommend the Captive Prince trilogy to? The entire human population and any aliens from outer space who either speak English (’cause according to Hollywood most aliens do) or have the technology to translate the trilogy to their native language.
Okay, I was (sort of) joking before, but unless you dislike LGBT books or are sensitive about slavery or humans being paid for sex (mind you, one of them is really young), I can’t think of a reason why you shouldn’t read these books.
My rating for each book is the same: (5 out of 5 crowns)
This is the first time ever that I’ve equally liked all the books in a series. Not rated, because I could rate a dozen books as 5 out of 5 and enjoy some more than others; liked.
Would I re-read this trilogy? Probably a gazillion times!
Would I buy other books in this series or by this author? Hell yes! As a matter of fact, I recommend you check out the short stories that go with the trilogy, but only after you’ve read the novels; you’ll get spoilers otherwise.
Where can you buy the Captive Prince trilogy?
- amazon.com (link takes you to a page where all three books are available, but you can buy them separately if you want)
Have you read any of the books in the Captive Prince trilogy?
What did you think of them?
Share in the comments!