So I started Captive Prince (by C.S Pacat) a couple weeks ago and I fell in love. I ended up reading the sequels Prince’s Gambit and Kings Rising within a week. The books are that good. The story follows Damen, at the mercy of the Veretians and Prince Laurent, puts a hold on his escape to freedom so he can help Laurent defeat his treacherous and power-hungry uncle the Regent. Damen also has to keep his identity hidden since he’s the heir to the Akielos throne, making him the most wanted person both in Veretian territory and his homeland.
Despite some flaws in grammar and the writing sounds more telling rather than showing, Prince’s Gambit and Kings Rising have solid plots, though sometimes it feels like all three books are really one book. There’s a sense of incompleteness especially with the ending of Kings Rising – though I’m fine with open endings. I just want to read more.
I wish that there were more action scenes and more elaboration on scenes because the writing is fast and straightforward, so there isn’t much depth. But, I get that most of the action and stakes rising comes from intelligence and manipulation – a game of plotting minds and a strong focus on politics. The Regent being in the background, playing puppeteer is unnerving, but I wish he was in more scenes.
As for characterisation and emotional depth, Damen and Laurent are brilliant and their relationship becomes more complex and much more than lust (their…intimate scenes are pretty great, by the way 😉 ). We see Laurent struggling with his feelings and knowing that Damen is his enemy, his brother’s killer, heightens it. It adds to their development – quite a change when you look back to the beginning of the story. Also: I love that their relationship isn’t forced into the story and doesn’t scream “We’re gay, so we’re acceptable, right?” at the reader.
One other downside is the almost lack of women or women being in the background and having strained interactions with the men. There’s Jokaste, a cunning woman and plotter, and her role is slightly significant but I wish it was bigger. She got on my nerves in a good way. There’s Vannes, a leader of a group fighting alongside Damen and Laurent, but she’s mainly in the background and doesn’t have much to say.
Anyway, it has been an amazing adventure reading this trilogy. And yes, it’s the type that should be read over and over and over again. Hopefully Pacat will write more – I want to know if Damen and Laurent get married and rule together 🙂