On the brink of a momentous battle, the future of both their countries hangs in the balance. In the south, Kastor's forces are massing. In the north, the Regent's armies are mobilising for war. Damen's only hope of reclaiming his throne is to fight together with Laurent against their usurpers.
Forced into an uneasy alliance the two princes journey deep into Akielos, where they face their most dangerous opposition yet. But even if the fragile trust they have built survives the revelation of Damen's identity - can it stand against the Regent's final, deadly play for the throne?
Comment: This is the conclusion of the Captive Prince trilogy by author CS Pacat. I keep thinking books 1 and 2 shouldn't have been divided because they look like one big book that was split for size reasons. This third book is a nice end to everything, though.
In this final installment, Damen is recognized as Akielos true king and after that he meets Laurent again already with his identity revealed. Laurent too wants to get the throne of Vere and they decide that joining forces would help both their causes even more and they have a plan to defeat the Regent and Kastor.
But will the new truths change their relationship? Can Damen aspire to anything else but scorn from Laurent?
And can we finally understand what Laurent has been planning all this time?
I'm happy with this book. I think it was a nice conclusion to everything and it managed to explain and fix loose ends. Some hopes and doubts readers had were probably solved in ways that most found perfect, I'm sure.
What I appreciated the most in this installment was how we could see and follow the main character's relationship, how slowly but surely that happened. In the first book things were too weird and the social hierarchy portrayed not appealing at all to me, but now they are equals and that is a handy tool to level up the relationship. I enjoyed seeing how simple some explanations were and how obvious some things look after the characters talk about them and, in this case, Laurent knowing who Damen was all along wasn't a surprise for me but it brought a new light into their previous interactions, which adds emotional certainties to everything and that is wonderful.
The emotional journey both have is quite interesting and I must say I'm with those who would have wished Laurent's character to have more POV scenes so we could balance things better and have another perspective on some of his actions.
All the things they must deal with, work out help us to understand their personalities and obviously it's important to see them in certain sets so we can understand why it is important for them to get to their endgames, but the thing I loved the most was how each scene with the two of them was special, even in the beginning when I thought the angst was too much.
The author has a good world building here and interesting facts and scenes to illustrate all the things we need to know so we can defend or not this and that. But I think some situations weren't addressed as I'd have liked and although the bad guys have deserved ends I can't help but feeling that some situations weren't dealt with decisively enough. I'm thinking about the Regent's actions towards his young lovers and how everyone wasn't pleased or accepting but even in the end when it was clear he would be punished somehow, nothing was said about what he did in a way that was assertive or that would pay any moral or character debt he owned...his end was too simple in a way because of this.
In fact, if I had to point out the biggest complain I have about the whole trilogy is how we go through many pages of things we are suppose to infer, supposed to understand, to connect, to read between the lines and when it's explained later on that's great but not as much as it could be if more things were solved with more definition...
I'm happy with this final book, it offered the readers scenes and notions everyone certainly hoped for since the first installment. I liked the way small things and a look or a smile could enrich the princes' lives and even their futures. I have to say it wasn't as positive how the book ended, it was rather abrupt and, despite giving us an idea of a future scenario of happiness - which is great - I think it wasn't enough when I think about all the obstacles they faced until that whether by their own designs or by fate.
However, it appears there are short stories on the way and I hope at least one of those has a happiness stamp on it so we can see how happy the guys truly are.
In the end, this third book was a nice one, but not perfect. I still think it was a good story to read, in fact I was eager to keep reading, something that didn't happen with the same interest in the previous book and certainly even less with the first. I like this had a good and obvious evolution and the romance won me over in the end, so... good job. Let's hope we can see more of them with things already solved and peaceful.