Forced to hide his identity, Damen finds himself drawn to the dangerous, charismatic Laurent. But as the fledgeling trust between the two men deepens, the truth of secrets from both their pasts is poised to deal them the crowning death blow...
Comment: So, this is the second volume in the Captive Prince series by CS Pacat. In this book we see the continuation of prince Laurent and Damen's travel to the border so Laurent can settle and fight against his uncle, the villain.
After becoming a slave and being offered to the enemy country, Damen now feels it's his duty to help Laurent because of several circumstances but he plans to get away after Laurent is settled. He knows - and Laurent knows too - things won't be simple because there are those who will want to stop Laurent from being considered worthy but he will try to be someone Laurent can trust. Laurent is very clever, always thinks ahead and despite his cold demeanor he must have feelings. Damen starts to see Laurent's vulnerable side even if they never talk about it or why.
But there are more obstacles to overcome and maybe the result won't be what either of them wants, especially when it becomes clear Damen still wants freedom...or does he?
Many people seem to love this series. Although, like I said in my previous comment about first volume, this feels weird being divided. If only I had gotten that before, I would have waited for a full length edition after volume 3 is out. I really think this would be a great book if we could read everything together.
To be honest, I feel this story isn't as emotional or thrilling as I imagined from all the hype. The plot elements are quite interesting, the characters' motivations and behavior too but the way things happen doesn't feel very exciting to me.
I still liked this second part better than the first. More things happen, the romance develops but some characters seem to be there just to play a part and prove an idea and I don't think that is as captivating as it would if they had really mattered somehow.
For instance, there is one character who acts a certain way but then we realize something bad about that person. The way things happen I got the idea that character only existed to prove a point, that Laurent is clever and anticipates certain moves. Ok, that's fine, but then that diminishes the strength that character had, his actions no longer matter. Why bother...we all know people commit treason... oh well.
Apparently one of the things most readers enjoy is Laurent's cleverness and hidden depths. Humm how wonderful it would be if we could see it firsthand with his own POV! I do understand the POV tactics but knowing everything from Damen as a way to make us think too gets boring after a while...
Laurent and Damen's relationship must be the most interesting subject in this series and how will Laurent react when he finds out Damen is the person who killed his beloved brother? This is not a spoiler, it's known from the first chapters of the first volume. Some readers have the theory Laurent already knows this (he does have the ability to know many things beforehand but only sharing that way after) so it will be interesting to see if it's correct. If he doesn't then I'm sure it will add up to the drama. Personally I think he should know just to make things move faster.
As for the veracity of their feelings...obviously we only have Damen's POV and he seems to be falling in love, or already being so, but it's difficult to have a certainty about Laurent. I actually like this relationship and how slowly it's developing but I don't think the surroundings or their personalities are that special or unique to make this as amazing as so many other seem to look at it.
Ok, everyone's different and we focus on different elements as the ones that should matter, but still... for me, this is interesting, I'm looking for to see them happy or at least with some sort of commitment, but it's not a novelty in the genre, not it is my favorite m/m story ever. Maybe the final part will be so amazing that I'll change my mind, but so far...
The execution of this book, the way things happen and why isn't that appealing to me. I like the world created, the fact things work a certain way but the characters alone don't entice me completely and with a not so brilliant world exposed, I feel this isn't as fantastic as it could be. It doesn't mean it's bad, because it's actually good in many things, the author put an effort and thought clever and interesting things, but for me it isn't the amazingness I expected. This second part reads better than the first, I did like the focus on the romance and sexual tension better, but overall, it's not quite there yet, for me. Let's see if the final volume is as epic as it promises and if the romance has a happy ending.
This second part of the story is a generous seven for me.