Captive Prince – C. S. Pacat

Release date: 7 April 2015 (originally self-published in February 2013)
Rating: ★★★★★★★★★ – 9/10
Goodreads link
Book Depository link (original cover)
Book Depository link (new cover)

Captive Prince (Captive Prince book #1) blurb:

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 epitomises the worst of the decadent court at Vere. But in the lethal web of Veretian politics, nothing is as it seems, and when Damen is caught up in a dangerous play for the throne, he is forced to form an alliance with Laurent to survive and save his country.

For Damen, there is just one rule: he must never reveal his true identity. Because the one man Damen needs is the one man who has more reason to hate him than anyone else…

Sometimes in life things are randomly thrown your way. I often see books on #bookstagram (instagram handle for those not in the know), and think to myself, ‘One day I’ll read that’. This book, having garnered such adoration by my online bookish friends was one of those. However, this is not how I came to pick up this series so quickly. I attended the Godsgrave book launch in Melbourne, and Jay Kristoff had several author friends attend as well as those of us who were quite literally there for the book and to have it signed (and seven others if you’re anything like me). I noticed one such author who was hanging out the back near me (I’m a closet introvert – put me in a work, family or friend situation and I am extrovert extreme; put me in a room full of strangers and I will always hide at the edges), and so decided to brave my luck. “Hi, so sorry for the interruption, but you wouldn’t happen to be the author of the Captive Prince trilogy would you?” “Why yes, I am,” came the reply, and then I made awkward conversation for about 5 minutes. Now, I had recently purchased the first book in the trilogy, but hadn’t picked it up yet so I really had very little to talk about, except for Godsgrave, but I think she took pity on me because when I came back not too long later (the line to get things signed by Jay was ridiculous so I went about other tasks such as book shopping before the store closed) she very kindly offered to sign a set made out to me, plus a second copy of the first book which I then sent overseas to some bookstagram friends (which took two tries and a ridiculously long period of time to get there). Long story short, Pacat very kindly wrote inscriptions in the four books I presented her as I told her all about how my father had recently passed away and how I was getting married in a few months and then she shared some sweet stories about herself. In particular, she also told me the most amazing story that appealed to my closest introvert like nothing else – Pacat had gone to a dinner with one of her favourite authors, but had been too shy to speak with them. The author then passed away not long after and Pacat regretted not taking that opportunity. At the conclusion of this story, I became an instant fan then and there, without ever having read a word she had written. This was actually the highlight of the Godsgrave book launch for me.

If you’re still with me after that ridiculously long intro (which really should have been several paragraphs – apologies), I’ll start with the actual book review.

Sweet, crispy Jesus! I did not picture that unassumingly sweet woman to write this insanely amazing book. Not that I didn’t think the book wouldn’t be amazing, but if you’re not into a level of smut (and by that I mean male on male smut) then this is not the book for you. I, however, am totally on board. (Have I mentioned I enjoy slash fic? Have you not seen my review for the Drarry fanfic on Goodreads? You should totally check that out…)

The world is really well built. There’s a sense of differences in culture between the countries, and despite being in only one country for the majority of the book (all of it bar the introduction, actually), that didn’t seem to affect the world building at all.

The characters are very interesting. The story is told from the third person point of view of primary character, Damen. The crown prince of Akielos, he is usurped by his illegitimate half brother as their father dies, and is subsequently gifted to Laurent, the crown prince of Vere, their enemy nation, as a slave while everyone believes him to be dead. Damen is your fairly typical warrior/soldier prince, always putting his people before himself. He has a secret that he will keep from Laurent for as long as possible, and he likes blondes.

Laurent, a blonde, is basically an arsehole. He plays mind games in court and likes to anger his uncle, the Regent (Laurent is 10 months shy of his 21st birthday and taking up the crown). He’s also vindictive and hateful of all people from Akielos, as his father and older brother were killed in a battle with the rival country. He interests me though… there’s something about him that I can’t quite put my finger on, but I like him regardless of all the arsehole-ness. (I think it’s this thing where I like guys who are mean, like Ronan Lynch.. total arsehole.)

The Regent (no other name that I can discern) is a different type of arsehole, and I’m not willing to go into this here because I would prefer to stab him rather than discuss him.

That’s all I’m going to say for this book (there are two others that I promise the intro won’t take forever in), apart from how much I loved it – which is a lot. However, I absolutely need to put some trigger warnings in here: there is brutal, physical abuse and slavery in this book, and graphic sexual abuse in this series   . So, with that warning in mind, go read this series!

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