Trigger Warning: this book contains mentions/depictions of sexual violence.
Captive Prince: Book One
Written by C.S. Pacat
Fantasy, Adult, LGBT
Published April 7th 2015 by Viking: Penguin (org Feb 4th 2012)
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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 epitomises the worst of the decadent court at Vere. But in the lethal web of Veretian politics, nothing is as it seems, and when Damen is caught up in a dangerous play for the throne, he must form an alliance with Laurent to survive and save his country.For Damen, there is just one rule: he must never reveal his true identity. Because the one man Damen needs is the one man who has more reason to hate him than anyone else . . .
Damen, prince of Akielos is betrayed by his brother Kastor. Kastor in a act of treason fakes the death of his brother in order to gain the crown - he does this by sending Damen to Vere, enemy territory as a gift to the prince. Upon the arrival to the strange country, Damen learns that nobody is aware of his identity. He's also made aware that in Vere he no longer holds the rank of a prince - but the rank of a prince's slave. Damen must act the part of a slave if he ever hopes to escape and take back his rightful place as Akielos's king. Along the way, Damen makes many enemies - other slaves who would do anything to be in his position as a pleasure slave to the young Veretian prince, Laurent.
Through the stretch of the story, Damen will find that his only chance of escaping is to join an alliance with Laurent. Laurent has his own issues; within ten months he is due to become King of Vere. All relies on proving himself to his uncle, the Regent. The two men discover that just maybe they both need each other to survive this political game of cat and mouse. Unbeknownst to Laurent, his slave is the very same man that killed his eldest brother.
After a few of my friends suggested on tumblr that I should read Captive Prince, I finally caved. First and foremost, I want to get the elephant out of the room. This book has some depictions of rape/sexual violence and physical punishments (floggings). This is a book marketed for adults, or mature young adults. If you're bothered or sensitive towards such subject matter I would not go forth and pick this book up. The book is set in a country that has a strong emphasis on pleasure slaves and frolicking with one another. Although, it's important for me to remark that these acts are viewed as barbaric by our MC, Damen. With that being said, if you're able to surpass such events, then I think you'll discover this book is very good and has a unique way of being told. I promise it is well worth reading.
Captive Prince is extremely character driven. While it's told in only one POV, we see a wide berth given to multiple other characters. If you know me, you know I need a book with a strong cast of characters - Pacat absolutely nailed the characters she created. Damen (25) and Laurent (20) are two very interesting characters. Out of the two, Laurent was absolutely my favorite. Don't get me wrong - he is a vile snake, but there is so much depth to him that I wonder if he ever ends. The two of them evolve greatly from start to end. Something I love seeing and reading.
"A golden prince was easy to love if you did not have to watch him picking wings off flies."
As it is a character based story, the plot does not take center stage. It's still there, lurking in the background but the main focus is the interactions and happenings between the two princes. Honestly, even though the story was a little slow due to there not being a whole lot of action it was forgiven. The reader knows that something is going to happen. Will Damen escape? Will Laurent discover that Damen is the man responsible for the death of his brother? Will there be war between both countries? It's all up in the air, all very unpredictable. It keeps you on your toes.
Pacat has set up book one as a direction for the potential romance that could happen between Damen and Laurent. There wasn't much for romance per say (at least not yet) but you can definitely see little sparks here and there. AND LET ME TELL YOU PEOPLE, I SHIP IT TO THE MOON AND BACK. Near the end they had moments where I was hardcore fangirling because it was such a slow burn, but a good burn. Plus Laurent's occasional quips either break my heart or make me smirk.
Pacat's writing was also beautiful and engrossing. It has a simple yet complete feel to it that was not only easy to read but had me completely immersed in the story being told. Dare I say, that Captive Prince pushes the boundaries that could have easily been done poorly; however, Pacat is an amazing weaver of words and did an exemplary job. This is probably my new favorite series to date without a doubt. Amazing in all aspects.
If you want a different and entertaining adult fantasy then this is a good place to start. Aside from the depictions of rape and violence, this book was phenomenal and had me itching to read more every night. Pacat's writing style is also quite desirable. It was descriptive and curt where it needed be. She fleshed out her characters and was never afraid to take a risk. I see so much potential for this series, and I cannot wait to begin book two. Such a great way to begin my 2016 year in reading.
Kynndra is currently eating some delightful goldfish crackers and trying to figure out what she wants to do with her life.