DNF Review: Prince’s Gambit by C.S. Pacat


Prince’s Gambit
Author: C.S. Pacat
Jen Twimom
Rating: DNF

What I’m Talking About:

After finishing Captive Prince earlier this year, I was disappointed that the book was mislabeled as an m/m fantasy romance, but rather, it was the first book in a duo or trio that together is one story. I ranted about this in my review, so I won’t go into it again here. So why did I pick up the second book, Prince’s Gambit? For two reasons: 1) I found the second half of Captive Prince to be engaging and interesting; and 2) in reviews I’d read from the original Captive Prince, it mentioned reading “both parts” so I hoped the story would conclude after Prince’s Gambit was over. However…

Prince’s Gambit begins right at the point where the first book ends. Again, I will stress that these books are not stand alone stories. It is one story that has been split up into three different books. So if you didn’t read Captive Prince, you will be lost. Even I had trouble recalling which men were loyal to the prince and those who belong to his uncle the Regent. Because of the “re-entry” factor, I wasn’t fully reengaged in the story until the 15-20% mark.

Once I found my reading stride, I continued to enjoy the complexity of Prince Laurent and the slow reveal of his true prowess and intelligence as shared from the point of view of the captive prince, Damen. I also enjoyed Damen’s surprised realization that the Prince sparked “some sort of feelings” within him, giving me hope that eventually, the story will be a romance. Finally, the pair start to respect one another, listen, and share solid advice, making the balance of power more equal.

However, as I continued to read, it became pretty evident that there was no way the story would conclude by the end of Prince’s Gambit. At the 53% mark, I felt that the book was starting to drag, and it felt never-ending. I skipped ahead and verified that the story does not conclude at the end of this book. So I was torn: do I continue to trudge through, knowing I still have another book and hope it’s better? Or DNF?

Unfortunately, I picked DNF. I was enjoying this story, sort of. I knew I couldn’t keep it up for this and one more book. I felt cheated and that I wasted my time. But why keep reading in the hope that I will eventually find the gem hidden in the rough? If the entire story had been told in one book, even a long book, I think I would have really enjoyed it. But split over three books is too much. I feel the story should have been edited down for consumption as an m/m fantasy romance, which is how it was marketed to me. While the story appears to be heading that way, the effort doesn’t seem worth the eventual payoff.

My Rating:  DNF: Did Not Finish


About the Book:

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 increasingly drawn to the dangerous, charismatic Laurent. But as the fledgling trust between the two men deepens, the truth of secrets from both their pasts is poised to deal them the crowning death blow…

Release Date: July 7, 2015
Captive Prince #2
ISBN: #978-0425274279
Fantasy, LGBTQ elements
paperback (410 pages), e-book
Book Source: Publisher

Purchase Info:
Prince’s Gambit (Captive Prince #2)

Reviews in the Series:
Captive Prince by C.S. Pacat (Captive Prince #1)

  • Oh no! But good that you could give up

    • Thanks! I need to take my own advice and only read if I’m enjoying. But I had invested so much time… I was hoping it would get better!

      • UnaReads

        I get that and I have the same problem. I’ll keep reading hoping it gets better, even when I’m trudging through it. I’m trying to pick a % and if it doesn’t hook me, I’m DNF’g.

      • This book got a lot of great reviews, but I discovered later it’s for the WHOLE story, not the piece-by-piece approach.

  • B.

    Well, hrm. That’s good to know. It seems like an all or nothing thing, then. I’d heard so much buzz about this one, but still had no idea what to expect. If I decide to pick it up, I’ll get all three to begin with.

    • That’s just it… it’s gotten some GREAT reviews, and I feel like I can see some of that in the parts I’ve read. But don’t market it as an m/m fantasy romance for each book, when the books aren’t individual stories. So frustrating.

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