Captive Prince: Volume One. C.S. Pacat. Adult/Fantasy/Romance/LGBT. 2012. 320 pages. 5 stars.
“Is there anyone at this court who isn’t my enemy?”
“Not if I can help it,” Laurent said.”
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…
“It was like watching a man smile as he surrendered himself to drown in deep water.”
I’m gonna start this series review with a trigger warning. It contains vulgar content such as rape, violence, and slavery. I stumbled upon this book years ago when I was much younger but only picked it up recently because I knew I wasn’t prepared for the kind of material this series contained all those years ago. Even now, I was still shocked at how intense these elements were in the story. It’s not something you can overlook because it plays a key role in the entire series. Although it significantly lessens as the books go on, I still want to warn people regarding this kind of content.
Now, onto the review! I mentioned that the mature content was hard to stomach but I grew to understand its purpose because it was written so well into the story. We follow the story of Prince Damianos of Akelios who is given as a slave to Prince Laurent of Vere, the prince of a rival and also the brother of the late Prince Auguste, whom Damen killed in battle at Marlas. Prince Laurent does not know that the slave gifted to him is the prince-killer and he takes matters into his own hands and pushes his limits when he is instructed by the Regent—his uncle—to respect Akielos’ gift to Vere and not kill him.
The story felt very Greek and it reminded me so much of Troy because of the descriptions—the attires of the respective kingdoms, the architecture of the palaces and bath houses, even the way the characters held themselves made it ooze Grecian inspiration. As Damen tried to hide his identity from Laurent, he also tries to maneuver his way to freedom in order to restore his rightful rule in Akielos, currently ruled by his step-brother Kastor.
There was barely any romance in this book. I believe the purpose of this book was to set the foundations for the upcoming series and give us a feel of the characters. Despite it being short, C.S. Pacat didn’t pull any punches when it came to gripping readers and their attention to the series. I finished this series in two days and continued all the way to the end, short stories and all.
C.S. Pacat is a Melbourne writer. Her first series the Captive Prince trilogy began its life as an original web serial. Self-published in 2013 to critical and commercial success and acclaim, the Captive Prince trilogy was acquired by Penguin, and [was] published worldwide in 2015.