Tuesday, October 27, 2015

C. S. Pacat - Captive Prince

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.
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...

Comment: This series has had so many reviews and people talking about it, I decided to try it. I've read this first volume this month, I'm reading the second one in November and will await for the third next year, as everyone else is doing.

This is the story of Damen, a prince in his country of Akielos, who's betrayed by his older brother who wants power and the throne. Damen is sent to Vere, an enemy country, as a slave. He is to be gifted to Laurent, their prince, someone described as cold and manipulative. He can't say anything not only because they are enemies but also because Laurent's brother, the heir to Vere and a good man apparently, was killed in battle... by Damen.
Can Damen survive in such a corrupted and unfair society? Can he actually do something, even in captivity, to help his people and even the man he now has to answer to?

This book is based on a great idea, not exactly new, but interesting. As soon as I knew this would feature a master/slave relationship without, apparently!, BDSM tones, I was quite eager to read it too and see what all the fuss was about.
I have to confess I expected something more romantic, even if not really explicit right away, and certainly much more intriguing and well developed. To be honest, this story didn't feel as amazing as everyone seems to think. It was rather simple and despite the world's descriptions and workings, the main characters didn't strike me as fascinating or that special...

This is the first volume of a trilogy and it shows. I wonder why this is divided, I assume it won't make that much sense as three books, not like it would as a whole book. I get it, it's easier to talk about it if you have to wait, easier to market too, but does that mean it's a sound strategy to divide it? Personally, I wouldn't say it is, because the story is divided so the "momentum" stops until the next book but then each one wouldn't make that much sense. I already got the first two but if I could go back in time I'd wait to get the whole thing completed and in one edition. Oh well.

As far as the plot goes, I wasn't very surprised, there's nothing absolutely new to make me think how wonderful everything is. In terms of world development and relationships I've read other books featuring couples with different status and origins that sounded much better. I'll reserve full judgment until I've read the three books, but based on the first one, I wonder why it's such a discussed book. Sure, it's interesting, many good details, but as a whole not that amazing.
Damen and Laurent are characters interesting enough but here's another thing that I wish were different: why is this told only through Damen's POV? I really understand why but in romances it's always so much better to have both protagonists' POV. I also don't think this is balanced enough to counterpart that aspect out of the whole.
Damen isn't used to be a slave of course, and in part he behaves a certain way because it fits his purposes, but  thinking about the whole story I expected different responses to what was being done to him. I also expected a more romantic vive or tone to exist. His relationship with Laurent is obviously going to be a slow one but because we only have his POV it's not clear how real such relationship really is, despite any mutual favors exchanged.
Laurent seems to be very cold and aloof and I think having his POV would be wonderful. I get it that slowly learning about him, at the same pace Damen does is supposed to make us change our minds and appreciate the depth of his personality but sincerely I think it's just conveniently easier to develop some things that way. I'm curious to see Laurent's romantic side and I really hope it does exist at the end of this.
This installment, so to speak, ended in what I assume to be a very strategic manner, and the balance between the two men is changing. That's positive, but so far it hasn't won me over. I really hope the next part will be more romantic and dedicated to their relationship and personalities. Otherwise, what does it matter if they change their countries? The rules? The cultural aspects? If this is the goal to everything, that is. I'll be waiting to see how things go.
Grade: 6/10

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