My rating: 10 of 5 stars
Publication Date: February 2nd 2016
Publisher:Penguin Group Australia
Point of View: Third Person (Damen & Laurent)
Genres & Themes: MM Romance, LGBTQ+, Romance, Slaves,
Damianos of Akielos has returned.
His identity now revealed, Damen must face his master Prince Laurent as Damianos of Akielos, the man Laurent has sworn to kill.
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?
‘I am Damianos, true son of Theomedes, and I have returned to fight for you as your King.’
A person writes a story they can tell, and for C.S. Pacat it was this enthralling, captivating journey. Pacat is a brilliant storyteller, one that sweeps you on your feet and takes you on the ride of your life. Four years ago I was in a precipice—a sleep deprived, full of emotions, precipice. I’d finished Captive Prince Volume 2, in the heels of Captive Prince Volume 1, in one night. Both books in one night. I thought I would wait a couple of months, prepared to wait a year, I’d done it before so I could wait that one year. I couldn’t…patiently await them, but I would soldier on…and then a year passed.
And then I waited months…for the release date for the release date. And then another months for the actual book. Midnight struck and Amazon was holding my book captive (let see how many puns I can fit into my review), and I contemplated writing them in a fit of anger for them to release my long-awaited book, right that instance. At 12:25am, it was delivered…actually I had to manually download it, but semantics.
‘Do you want to play this game against me? I will take you apart.’
Kings Rising is everything it promises to be, it was everything a final installment should be. It spoke of the heart of heroes, the intricate play of politics and mind games it is known for, and the revelations of the ages. My expectations for this eagerly awaited conclusion was high, I’m talking about monumentally high. Pacat slayed and surpassed such expectations and went into a league of her own.
From the first chapter your heart will be lodged in your throat, by the second it’ll threaten to beat of your body, and by the third you’ll know, and when the fourth hits around you’ll be reading from beyond the dead. Old and new characters surface. The game is riskier and deadlier than ever. Laurent and Damen are fighting for their respective thrones and for each other…
‘I want you to know,’ he said, the words thick and heavy as they pushed out of him, ‘that I could have done this any time when I was a slave.’
There was so much expectation on this book, so many answers awaited by readers. Things such as does Laurent know Damen’s true identity, one that has been argued for years and years. Questions as how and when will Damen find out about the Regent’s abuse? When will the Regent die? How about Kastor? Will Damen and Jokaste meet again? How will everything be resolved? Will our gay princes live happily ever after? and way many more…and all I can say is everything will be answered, some just touched on, but still answered in some roundabout way. And if it isn’t answered in Kings Rising then expect it in the short stories.
There was a warmth in his chest whenever he looked at Laurent. He didn’t look often for that reason.
The story was as intricate and provoking as ever. C.S. Pacat has a way of telling a story that invokes all kinds of feeling—suspense, heartbreak, disgust, love, hope, absurd fondness, plot twist (not a feeling, but she makes it one). One think I noticed this time around is that Pacat doesn’t use extravagant words or tags…for instance her dialogue tags are entirely ‘he said, she said, Damen said, said Laurent,’ and so forth, or plain omission of tags and the thing is that doesn’t ever take away from the reading because someway, somehow you know exactly how the character said it. You hear and feel when Damen’s heart is breaking, when Laurent is shocked, when Nikandros is baffled.
The Plot Twists and as such the revelations, everything is so seamlessly, everything flows. This trilogy is so inspiring because everything transitions so well, nothing feels like an information dump, or forced action, or as if she wrote something just to get that plot twist in there because C.S. Pacat planned this story so well that she knew since the beginning where her characters were going.
‘It took me until I was nine to realise he was letting me win. I just thought I had a very fast pony. You’re smiling.’
At one point it struck me that I had highlighted over 90% of the book. I remember saying I want all of this quotes in my gravestone, I want this said at my funeral, I want all of them inked in my body, I want it recited at my wedding, I want to sing odes about them, I want to print them in my walls, I want them to become ingrained in my bones.
‘How can you trust me, after what your own brother did to you?’
‘Because he was false,’ said Damen, ‘and you are true. I have never known a truer man.’ He said, into the stillness, ‘I think if I gave you my heart, you would treat it tenderly.’
The Romance left me weeping, it destroyed me and then mended me back together. It made me want to write a thousand and one AU’s where they would inevitably fall in love over and over again as they would have either way. The thing is that this book mentions the ‘would-have’ and you realize that they are inevitable, regardless of the course of their lives. You know that post that goes something like, “there are a million ways to say I love you without saying I love you,” well then read this book. Damen is completely head over heels in love with Laurent. How could he not be? But what made it sweeter is that so is Laurent. From the way he flushed to those early moments admissions of how attractive Damen is.
You weren’t expecting what it felt like when he touched you. You weren’t expecting the weight of his body, how it felt to have his attention, to have him want you.’
‘You left out the part near the end, when it was so good I let myself forget what he’d done.’
‘Oh dear,’ said Jokaste. ‘That was the truth.’
Laurent is as sassy as ever, and I’m glad that the banter is always there. This book is overflowing with precious moments, as well as humor that will have you crying for twenty different reasons. I enjoyed every interaction and mention of each other, from Damen getting jealous to Laurent basically telling everyone that he boned Damen.
One of my biggest concerns was how, if they were to end up together, would they move past Damen killing Auguste and Pacat handled that swiftly and subtly and perfect. It’s like everything that it had doubts about Pacat made note of, and told me, ‘have I ever let you down?” The answer is no.
And if they weren’t answered in the book, she did so in her livestream. I had a hmmm, moment regarding Laurent’s POV. Why was it there, if it was only one? Well, she answered that in the live stream and it also put to rest those people who said it was the influence of a publisher, as if that could be possible. Yes, something she had planned since book one, was the influence of a publisher, right, sure. Do some research is all I can say to that.
As to Damen never realizing after the many hints of the Regent’s abuse was perfectly answered again in the live stream. The book further illustrated how noble Damen thinks in terms of white and black. Because even after everything that happened, even after living first hand how Kastor got rid of him, how Kastor killed his father and later tried to pin it on him, after finding out he wanted to kill him, he still holds hope that perhaps he isn’t as evil as he’s acting, that there’s a chance that he loved Damen, it isn’t until the very last encounter with Kastor that he comes to term with it.
It’s that nobility and that inherent goodness that speaks and spoke to Laurent. Laurent who truly believed he’d be alone, who never thought, rightly so, of the goodness in people. And they both complement each other in so many aspects. There was so much character development in growing in each of them. From Laurent trusting someone to Damen’s perspective on slavery changing. And I love that Pacat challenged and righted those views. This is an author who didn’t excuse it, but showed it as an example to readers and then challenged it and righted it.
After a moment he said in a low voice, ‘When you make love to me like that, I can’t think.’ ‘Don’t think,’ said Damen. Damen saw the flickering change, the tension, as the words provoked an internal battle. Damen said, ‘Don’t think.’
This will forever be my favorite series, and forever be my number one of its class. I’m so happy and ecstatic and pleased and full of emotions with this conclusion. And I’m more than ready for the short stories. I can say one hundred percent that this was utter perfection and that there is so much to say that I’ll continue to live in the Captive Prince Fandom.
‘What?’ Damen was smiling. ‘You’re very,’ said Laurent, and then, flushing, ‘attractive.’ ‘Really,’ said Damen, in a rich, warm voice. ‘Yes,’ said Laurent.
‘Yes,’ said Laurent.
Damen’s smile widened, and he lay back in the sheets and just luxuriated in the idea, feeling ridiculously pleased. ‘Well,’ Damen owned, turning his head back to Laurent eventually, ‘You are too.’
Laurent dropped his head slightly, on the edge of laughter. He said, with absurd fondness, ‘Most people tell me that right away.’
Thank you to those that joined me in chats, Hangouts, chapter discussions, those that have bought my CP merch, those that have sent me asks and waited with me. Thanks to those that have continued to have feels with me in this Kings Rising hangover of 2016.
If you haven’t yet, then go buy Kings Rising here!