Contains spoilers for Captive Prince. See my book one review here.
Captive Prince: Book Two
Written by C.S. Pacat
Fantasy, Adult, LGBT
Published July 1st 2015 by Viking: Penguin (org 2012)
Add to Goodreads
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 drawn to the dangerous, charismatic Laurent. But as the fledgeling trust between the two men deepens, the truth of secrets from both their pasts is poised to deal them the crowning death blow...
Damen is Prince Laurent's slave. He has fallen into the duty, waiting for the perfect time to escape and retake his throne that was taken from him by his traitorous brother, Kastor. Meanwhile, Damen must hide who he truly is - Damiano, Prince Killer - the very same man who struck down Laurent's brother six years prior. In order to keep his identity hidden, Damen must bow to the golden prince of Vere.
In order to prove himself ready to take the throne, Laurent must set off to the battlefields. Behind the scenes there is a bigger plot at play. Laurent's uncle, the Regent, has concocted a plan to kill his nephew before he can become King of Vere. Damen and Laurent must come together if either are to survive the battle that is coming their way. Their journey to the Akielon border is writhe with traps and betrayal which undoubtedly pushes the two closer.
OH. MY. GOD. That was incredible. I could not have asked for a better sequel than what Prince's Gambit offered. I could not picture anything better than this. You'll have to forgive me for the disgusting amount of gushing that is about to take place - because believe me when I say this: I have never experienced the emotions that this book has put me through. Never in my entire life have I loved a book as much as I did this. It's hard to say that, as I've read some impeccable stories in my life but nothing such as this. These are books that will remain with me forever.
The characters are what make this story even half as great as it was. I've never felt myself so enamoured by two characters before. The depth both individuals have is astounding, compelling and all around desirable. Damen has evolved from a resisting slave to a person that Laurent can confide and trust in. Laurent has evolved from a vile snake to something entirely different - a man with his own demons. But this all takes time, none of it comes easy. Pacat was able to master the art of character growth, making the story betwixt our characters fascinating and heart wrenching.
“Laurent wasn't loved. Laurent wasn't liked. Even among his own men, who would follow him off a cliff, there was the unequivocal consensus that Laurent was, as Orlant had once described him, a cast iron bitch, that it was a very bad idea to get on his bad side, and that as for his good side, he didn't have one.”
I loved every moment of Damen and Laurent's interactions. Ack, I wish I could explain just how much, but it is one of those things that the reader must experience on their own. Others, I think perceive every situation within these books differently. Every moment, every glace between Laurent and Damen means something. It was honestly just such a pleasure to see and experience so many different emotions throughout these 380 pages. I felt everything from sadness, girly glee, anxiety to anger - which is what I need from a book. I need to feel something, or the book means almost nothing to me.
The plot was much more prevalent in the Prince's Gambit than in Captive Prince. It's still a character driven story, but the plot has definitely surfaced full force. Damen and Laurent are no longer in the palace; therefore, so much more can happen to them while the men ride out towards battle. Together, they must beat the Regent at his own wicked game. It was so stressful reading some of the parts due to the sheer amount of backstabbing that goes down. I shall say no more on this matter, but mark me damned and fooled. I was blindsided every step of the way.
'He needs me' said Damen. 'I don't care if you tell the world.'
One thing I noticed that Pacat does exceedingly well (other than the obvious) is that she can write politics in a way that actually has me holding on to every sentence. The Vere kingdom is completely off kilter - it goes by its own rules which was made clear in book one. Seeing the political side of this well drawn out world quickly became a treat. It feels weird saying it, but the political side of the story is one I anticipate seeing where it goes in book three.
Finally, as this is a M/M novel - there is obviously some romance to be mentioned. Albeit, I don't quite know if I can call it a romance (not yet). When I say this book has a slow burning romance going on, I mean slow. This is not in any way shape or form a quick process. But I wouldn't have it any other way. This book made me realise I totally have a thing for the hate turning into love trope. I swooned. I cried. Damen and Laurent are the definition of an OTP (One True Pair).
Kynndra is dying from the end of this book and would trade all her books to get ahold of Kings Rising (book three).