Book review: The Captive Prince trilogy by C S Pacat

Captive Prince (Captive Prince, #1)Prince's Gambit  (Captive Prince, #2)Kings Rising (Captive Prince #3)

It’s impossible to review these books as anything other than a complete set.  They are not standalone books, but one story told over three books.  One amazing, powerful, intricate, spellbinding story.

Damianos, known to his friends as Damen, is the Prince of Akielos.  When his father, the King, dies, Damen’s half-brother ships him off to their enemy as a pleasure slave.  Damen is drugged, beaten and gagged, so there is no way for him to tell anyone who he really is.  When he wakes and finds himself in enemy territory, he knows he is safer as a slave than as the enemy prince who killed their beloved eldest prince six years ago.

Laurent is the Prince of Vere.  His uncle is the acting Regent, until Laurent comes of age in less than a year’s time.  Laurent has spent the last six years planning to take the throne and then take revenge on Prince Damianos.

These are not sweet, pretty books.  Damen suffers as a slave, and there are numerous casualties of war, some of which are not on the battle field.  There is violence, both sexual and otherwise.

It is impossible to fully appreciate the intricacies of Laurent, and therefore the whole story, by the end of the first book.  Partly that’s because the story is told through Damen’s eyes, and he doesn’t understand everything and therefore neither can the reader.  We see Laurent learn to appreciate Damen’s honour and integrity, and slowly, Damen starts to realise that Laurent is far more than the pretty boy he seems on the surface.

Even right at the end I was thinking ‘How can they possibly resolve this situation?  How can this all work out?  They’re doomed!’  This book was so far from predictable.  It was incredibly clever, and my hat goes off to the author.

There were numerous times that I had to use the dictionary function on my Kindle, and I feel a little sorry for those who read it in paperback format.

Radel, clearly disapproving of the fact that Damen was being taken into refined company, delivered a peripatetic lecture, striding up and down in Damen’s room.

Laurent, beside him, was percipient.

However, it didn’t really disrupt the flow.  You could gather the meaning from the context if you weren’t inclined to look it up.

I read all three books in three days.  That’s 950 pages that I just devoured because I couldn’t put them down.  Clever, captivating and highly recommended.  Five stars all round.


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