Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Captive Prince » Series Review

What if a lion and panther met in the jungle?  There might be some vicious spats at first, but you know those big cats would wind up feeling admiration for the other.  Because although they're intensely different creatures, each is a remarkable beast in his own way...

Damianos, Prince of Akielos, is a hero to his countrymen.  He's famous for his defeat of Auguste, the heir of a rival kingdom, on the field of battle. His skill in combat is unparalleled, and his future kingship will continue a noble legacy of generations.

But despite his grandeur, Damianos has a soft and loyal heart.  So when his own brother moves to betray him, Damianos doesn't see it coming.  Forced into slavery, 'Damen' is gifted to Laurent, the younger brother of Auguste, the very man Damen is famed for slaying.

Thus begins an epic tale of war, politics, and power.

I began this series because it comes very highly rated.  And I would have stopped at book one, if not for the encouragement of other reviewers.  You see, reading book one in this series, Captive Prince, was terrible.  The writing itself was very skilled; it wasn't an issue of quality.  The problem was, the content was utterly horrific — slavery, rape, and pedophilia are depicted unflinchingly and with excruciating detail. I wanted to pitch the book away from me and scrub my brain.

Regardless of the depravity, you do get the sense, while reading, that foundations are being laid and that great events are brewing, about to boil over.  And, indeed, in book two, matters culminate in a way that is truly spectacular writing. Really, I can't praise book two, Prince's Gambit, enough. It will go down as one of the best fantasies that I've had the joy of reading.

Book three, Kings Rising, continues the momentum of Prince's Gambit.  I won't say that it was a perfectly stunning conclusion, but it left me very happy overall.

Perhaps the thing I loved most about this series was the characterization, which was incredibly rich, for both major and minor players.  Damen, or Damianos, 'Prince-Killer,' is our narrator, and my favorite character.  He's not unlike a classical hero — an Achilles or an Alexander. Damen's arc throughout the series was wonderful and distinct.

You get the sense that before his enslavement, Damen lived life as a bit of a simple jock.  Despite having a very big heart, he's been unable to put it to good purpose.  After being put through the ringer of book one, however, Damen blooms into a powerful man with strongly empathetic feelings. Because of this, he's able to befriend and love Laurent, who is so damaged by life and circumstance, that he's become an icy and unpleasant person.

Oh yes, and how could I finish this review without mentioning the romance?  Readers, it was scorching.  Whoa, Nelly. In regards to M/M romance, I haven't read anything else yet in the genre that compares to this eroticism. C. S. Pacat knows when to get wordy and when to get crude. Moreover, so much of the characters' individual journeys are at play when they're having sex; it makes the encounters so much more than 'hot scenes.'  It bears saying again — I've never read explicit writing quite of this caliber. And if that's the hook that drives you to pick up this series, good!

So, have you read this series yet?  Heard of it?  It's so exciting when you find an amazing piece of writing, not by keeping up with mainstream media and journalism, but by following bloggers and internet reviewers. The Captive Prince series is special like that — a wonderful and subtle surprise.



  1. I have yet to read this series or really even look into it but I've heard so much about it and it seems like everyone who has read it has loved it.

  2. Yeah, when I started hearing about it on GR, I was all, "wow, this sounds too twisted for me." But it was undeniable how everyone was loving it in spite of themselves!

  3. Hiya girl! <3 I'm so glad you decided to keep up with this series! usually when this happens to me and I'm in the middle of a book I'm not really FEELING, I try my best to keep reading because, ya know, I HATE DNF. I try and try, so I'm glad this second book was better for you! Just think if you would have stopped! <3

  4. I would have missed out on so much AMAZING!! And yeah, I can feel so conflicted about a DNF. They have to happen for me, sometimes, but I try to not pick up books I know I won't like. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. I've seen raving reviews for Captive Prince but like you said, the content just seems so horrific. I'm not sure I'd be able to swallow it.... I'm glad to know the series gets better though! Maybe I will pick it up some day :)

  6. I don't blame you in the slightest for passing because of the horrible content! I feel like I was only able to get through it because I've become a slightly callused reader. A few years ago, I would not have gotten through book one, rave reviews for the rest of the series or no... and on a happier note, puppies!!!

  7. Do you know how many times I've put these books in my Amazon cart only to take them off again? I honestly can't make a decision. I feel like I should buy the first book just to check it out first, but if I ended up loving it, I don't want to be left hanging. Conundrum. Quandary. Sigh.

  8. Indecision strikes! I would go ahead and get the set if you were going to buy them. There is no way you can read just one or, god forbid, just two books in this series!

  9. I avoided this series for so long and then thought I would give it a try - fully thinking I would quit - but binge read the whole thing in 3 days.

    Everything was so well done. So many of these books try to romanticize slavery/abuse but she tackled it head on.

    Karen @For What It's Worth

  10. Heh! Three days is impressive! I got you beat though, it took me two days, but I did not sleep hardly for a night!