Original Title: Captive Prince
Year Published: 2015
Published by: Berkley
Number of Pages: 270
First Sentence: “‘We hear that your Prince’ said Lady Jokaste, ‘keeps his own harem’.”
Goodreads Rating: 4/5
“This was Vere, voluptuous and decadent, country of honeyed poison”
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…
This was one of those books that I purchased because several authors that I like have read it and loved it. I also saw that it had received several stunning reviews. It has a rocky start. It took me a while, perhaps 1/3d of the book to get into and then it was like flipping a switch. I went from apprehensive to loving it. It can be explained by the warning below though.
Damen is such an amazing character. He is thrown into a world he doesn’t know nor understand thanks to some disturbing circumstances. He handles it pretty well though. I love that he keeps fighting in a situation where so many others would just give up.
Laurent. Talk about ice cold, sassy bastard. I wanted to both slap him and give him an almighty cuddle. He is just the absolute most sassiest bastard I’ve encounters so far in literature and I adore him. I don’t agree with some of his actions but my lord do I still adore him. He is also devilishly smart and would probably beat you in chess with 3 moves.
The plot is overall good. The first third of the book is not that good plotwise but after that it becomes both interesting and entertaining. The worlds and countries in this book are quite interesting, although I was a bit (a lot) bothered by the slavery thing. Humans aren’t meant to be slaves. The intrigue in this book is just so interesting and it was so entertaining to see them slowly pull at the threads that would reveal all.
However, I do have mixed feelings about this book. The first third has some scenes that are hard to read and some of the themes are quite disturbing. Everything around that is really good. Had the book not had these scenes and themes it would just have been great, no questions asked.
VERY IMPORTANT NOTE ON THIS BOOK, PLEASE READ:
I want to prepare and warn you though. This book has some themes that might be very triggering for some readers. It concerns thing such as slavery, rape, demeaning of others and other sexual themes, and they are mostly glossed over as something normal in this universe. I’m not gonna lie. There were times where I had to put the book down and walk away from it for a moment because the scenes were disturbing. There is also a lot of sexual encounters that take place with very dubious consent, so beware if this is triggering for you. There is also a scene where a male character is, well, raped. Although he supposedly knew about it being a possible outcome for him as he and the man raping him partook in a sadistic game in front of court, it is most definitely rape and that’s not okay. Sure, Damen reacts negatively to it but it is handled in a very dismissive way. Rape is rape, not matter if the victim is male or female and it was completely unnecessary for the plot.
I do also disagree with the way Pacat so easily dismisses these themes as something ok because they are decreed as such within the book’s universe (thankfully, it changes in book 2 and 3 to some extent. At least only slavery remains a theme in those). If you find yourself very troubled by such things then PLEASE think twice before you read this book. I’m not that concerned (apart from knowing and thinking it’s wrong) but I found it hard to read. It is only strongly prevalent in the first third of the book and then it moves on from it and actually develops an interesting and worthwhile plot. But like I said, beware if this is triggering for you. It is not worth reading if it will cause you any harm.
Do I recommend it?
Yes, but beware of above warning.