Author: C.S. Pacat
Reviewer: Jen Twimom
When I saw that Berkley was rereleasing Captive Prince by C.S. Pacat, an award-winning LGBTQ title, I checked Goodreads and saw glowing reviews. So I picked up the title for review, thinking it was a m/m fantasy romance, but what I found was something a bit different.
After losing their King, the citizens of Akielos believe his heir, Prince Damianos. is also dead. However, Damianos was actually captured and tortured by his half-brother, Kastor, and subsequently made into the slave Damen and given as a gift to the Prince of Vere, Laurent.
Laurent will be of age to rule his kingdom in ten months, but it appears that there may be some who don’t want this spoiled boy as ruler. Laurent holds a grudge against new ally Akielos because of his brother’s death in the recent war. If Damen ever hopes to return home, he must never allow any Veretians discover his hidden identity.
While it took a bit for me to get into the story, I eventually became engrossed in the political machinations within both the Akielos and Vere territories. Although the story is told from the first person point-of-view of Damen, his was not the character I found most interesting. The author does a wonderful job presenting one side of Laurent, only to twist it wholly. Laurent is multi-faceted and truly interesting, and as the book progresses, we see more and more of his hidden layers.
However, just when I was finally engaged and enjoying the interactions between Laurent and Damen and the politics of the story, the book just ends. I don’t mean it ended on a cliffhanger. This book literally ends in the middle of the story without finishing the plot. It is not a standalone book, and for this, I am very disappointed. I believe those that gave the book such high marks were able to read the subsequent part/s with this book.
Additionally, this book is NOT a romance at all, and it remains to be seen if it ever will be. While there is an abundance of sexual situations, it is in context of the times and customs of the peoples. In both kingdoms, it is convention to have slaves or “pets” for sexual purposes, and same-sex relationships are not taboo. For example, in Vere, having a child out of wedlock is one of the most disgraceful actions one can suffer, so unmarried nobles only have intercourse with partners of the same sex.
In the end, I have mixed feelings about Captive Prince. While the abundance of sex for the sake of sex at the beginning made for slower reading, I eventually came to enjoy the political subterfuge and the story of two rival princes. However, the lack of romance and the fact that at the 85% mark, the book just ends in the middle of the story, without finishing any part of the plot, disappointed me greatly. Captive Prince is not a standalone book, and therefore is difficult to rate. I am planning on reading the next story because I want to find out what happens, but I am disappointed that Berkley chose not to put the books together as one, or make more clear that the books are part of a whole.
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…
Includes an exclusive extra story!
Release Date: April 7, 2015 (first published February 4, 2012)
Series: Captive Prince #1
Genre: Fantasy with LGBTQ elements
Format(s): paperback (304 pages), e-book, audiobook
Book Source: Publisher
Captive Prince (Captive Prince #1)