“To get what you want, you have to know exactly how much you are willing to give up.”
There’s a lot of controversy surrounding this trilogy. Before I begin, I would like to state the trigger warnings pertaining to these books. There is rape, pedophilia, violence, abuse, and slavery. I was highly disturbed in the first book, and although these aspects did ease up as the series progressed, they were never completely gone.
This is all to say that I did, as a matter of fact, enjoy this series very much. Despite all of my initial issues with it, I couldn’t put down any of the books. I read through this trilogy in three or four days, and I didn’t regret the sleepless nights caused by it.
I debated for days whether I even wanted to review these books or not. When I finished the third book, I had a lot of mixed feelings. I wanted to get away from this world and return to reality so I could feel like myself again. However, it’s been two weeks since I finished this trilogy, and I still have not fully escaped it. This is to say, I feel like I haven’t had enough of it. I miss the complex world, the characters, the intrigue, the twists and turns. I miss everything about them, so I decided it was time to review them.
I’ll keep it short and simple. Captive Prince follows Damen, a prince of a kingdom called Akielos, betrayed by his half-brother and forced to become a slave for the enemy kingdom, Vere. Damen is gifted to Laurent, prince of Vere, where Damen’s identity is hidden due to his having killed Laurent’s older brother during battle. Laurent commands physical abuse to befall on Damen plenty of times, so they pretty much hate each other from the start.
In order not to spoil the rest of the series, I’ll just say that there is a lot of character development in the second and third books. Eventually, Damen stops being a shackled slave enduring abuse, and Laurent stops being an entirely vile human being. Granted, character development doesn’t erase the past, which is why I still haven’t made up my mind about these books.
Aside from Damen and Laurent, there are an incredible set of characters. Mostly devious, but also fascinating and absolutely clever. I was attached to mostly everyone since they all had amazing characterization. The plot was also engaging. I never thought that I would be so interested in the politics of a fantasy world, but I couldn’t get enough of it. There are many devious plans in the works regarding the kingdoms, and there’s a lot of tension between all the leaders. It comes to the point that Laurent and Damen are forced to work together in order to restore and regain power of both of their kingdoms.
The romance was slow burning, which is the best type, if you ask me. I was skeptical at first because I couldn’t see how the author could ever pull off any sort of romance between these two very difficult characters, but let me tell you, she pulled it off, and it was organic and believable as hell. So I’ll give her props for that. Pacat really had a handle of these characters, and she showed the worst and best sides of both of them. I adored Damen from the start, but Laurent took a while to grow on me. I fought it a lot, but I can now say that I love Laurent as well. I don’t actually think either Damen or Laurent are good people, but I love them for what they stand for and for who they want to be. I think that’s what matters.
I don’t think these books would appeal to everyone. It’s important to go into them expecting heavy elements and not-so-perfect characters. Before I read them, I knew exactly what I was getting myself into, and it was still difficult to let myself like them for what they are. I’ve learned to cherish these books, and I plan on re-reading them in the future. They’ve definitely stuck with me.