Captive Prince

C.S. Pacat
Captive Prince
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Publisher
Berkley
Release Date
May 2012
ISBN
0425274268
Series
Book 1 of Captive Prince
Genre
Fantasy Romance, LGBTQ

SUMMARY
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…

Book Review by Pip (reviewer)
May 18, 2019   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
11 people found the following review helpful
When I finally got my claws embedded in CAPTIVE PRINCE, I hadn't expected that it would have taken me a few years to read after C.S. Pacat's name spread like wildfire. But better late than never and as good books are, they reel you in, sink deep into your consciousness and won't let go until you've finished the trilogy.

I'm only a third through the series, through only the first book and already I need all of it.

The blurb is as the story begins: the rightful heir to the throne of Akielon finds himself a slave in enemy territory and personal slave to the Prince of Vere and while there's no love lost between these two countries.

Seeing it all through an outsider's eyes--through the former prince (now slave) Damen's Akielon eyes--makes us experience what he does: the slithering movements of the dirty court, the political machinations of the tussle for the throne, the careful and sly interplay of power between Laurent and the Regent, but above all, Laurent…the fascinating, brutal, calculative young prince who seems to stay ahead of everyone by calling checkmate every time.

I can understand why CAPTIVE PRINCE is so polarising. Lying sort of in a parallel world that very, very vaguely corresponds to a mash-up of medieval Europe and classical Greek/Roman culture (the given map looks like a misshapened form of Italy and Sicily), C.S. Pacat's world is as complex, bloodthirsty, multifaceted and as debauched as you can imagine. Slaves, courtiers, lords and soldiers mingle in a politically unstable time as the gift of Damen as a slave standing heads and shoulders above the rest starts the juggernaut rolling.

There's also the unflinching use of rape as a tool of control, of submission, along with the fluidity of sexual/gendered relations that belongs to a time long past which can be very, very uncomfortable to go through. The author provides no apology for it in any case; it's all in or none at all, the explicitness in all its glory, forcing you to either step in or turn away.

But there's so much else to it than the amazingly detailed landscape the author has written. The characters that stand out, honed and sharp as a knife blade, whose motivations keep you guessing as train wrecks happen time and again…and you can only stare, wide-eyed, as it happens in technicolor right in front of your eyes.

Perhaps my only complaint here is the use of obscure words as though the author intended to 'elevate' the prose, to get the story to rise above the 21st century lay reader, or to even distance the reader even further from the reality we know. Still those threw me off--the lexical range of the story felt a little less impressive than if C.S. Pacat had simply relied on solid characterisation and more direct prose.

I'm hooked, no doubt about it.
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July 17, 2019 03:26 PM ( EST )