I always assumed that the Captive Prince trilogy was just one of those things that everyone knew about. It’s been around for years, first as a free online serial, and then published a few years ago. The fans of the series are devout, creating art and writing long theory posts and fan fiction.
But recently I’ve realized that a lot of people aren’t aware of this incredible series. With the third and final book finally coming out in a couple of days (after literally years of waiting!), I wanted to spotlight the series and tell you more about it.
This review will only cover the first two books of the series, and will contain no spoilers. My review of Book 3, Kings Rising, will post tomorrow evening (also no spoilers).
Series Name: The Captive Prince Trilogy
Author: C.S. Pacat
Genres: Gay, Bisexual, M/M, Fantasy,
Mature/Erotic Content, War Story
1: Captive Prince
2: Prince’s Gambit
3: Kings Rising (out February 2, 2016)
What It’s About:
Damen is a warrior hero to his people, and the truthful 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.
Okay, wait. I don’t like this summary much.
This story is about so many things that a simple blurb doesn’t cover them all. It’s a story about politics and manipulation and cunning and trust. When Damen is betrayed and sent to the rival nation of Vere as a pleasure slave, it’s a fate worse than death; to reveal his identity would lead to torture, but being a pleasure slave– submissive and at a master’s whim– goes against everything Damen knows. But his new owner, Prince Laurent of Vere, has his own enemies to fight against, and the two men soon find themselves unwilling allies.
War is looming, intrigue and mystery hides around every corner, and Laurent and Damen find themselves battling dangerous enemies on multiple fronts.
Why should you check it out?
C.S. Pacat writes what is without a doubt among the best prose I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. She has a way with words that provokes this deep emotional response, using language like a weapon that cuts deep in your soul. You care about the characters and their fates, and even secondary characters have a place of importance. And the story itself is gripping; adventure and action, brilliant turns and revelations that literally have you gasping out loud.
I personally dislike slave tropes, for the most part. But this is not slave fiction as you know it, and C.S. slowly builds up a relationship between Damen and Laurent that is more beautiful than any conventional romance you’ve ever read. I think many people would hesitate to call this a romance, but I don’t know of any better word to describe the relationship that forms between these two men.
An excerpt from Captive Prince:
Damen opened his mouth to reply, and found his words stopped by the startling touch of Laurent’s fingers against his lips, a thumb brushing his jawline. It was the sort of absent touch that any master at the table might give to a pet. But from the shocked reaction that rolled over the courtiers at the table, it was clear that Laurent did not do this sort of thing often. Or ever.
“My pet was feeling neglected,” Laurent apologised to Torveld.
“He’s the captive Kastor sent you to train?” said Torveld, curiously. “He’s—safe?”
“He looks combative, but he’s really very docile and adoring,” said Laurent, “like a puppy.”
“A puppy,” said Torveld.
To demonstrate, Laurent picked up a confection of crushed nuts and honey and held it out to Damen as he had at the ring, between thumb and forefinger.
“Sweetmeat?” said Laurent.
In the stretched-out moment that followed, Damen thought explicitly about killing him.
Damen leaned in. It was sickly sweet. He didn’t let his lips touch Laurent’s fingers. A great many people were looking at them. Laurent washed his fingers fastidiously in the gold washing bowl when he was done, and dried them on a little square cloth of silk.
— Captive Prince (print edition, Berkley Publishing Group, 2013), page 148
This is an incredible trilogy. Everyone I know who has picked it up has ended up addicted to C.S. Pacat’s brilliant world, and fans have remained faithful even after years of waiting for the conclusion.
Also, I’ve never had a crush on a fictional character quite like the one I have on Laurent. *blushes*