Captive Prince by C.S. Pacat
Series: Captive Prince #1
Goodreads: Captive Prince
Synopsis: Damen is a warrior hero to his people, and the rightful 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 epitomises 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...
Review: So one of my closest friends has been trying to get me to read this for months, and honestly I wish I hadn't waited so long to pick this up! I thoroughly enjoyed the story, and I could very clearly see why a publisher picked up this amazing series.
Okay so before I ever start this review I want to mention that this book does contain slavery, rape, physical abuse, and paedophilia, so if this is something that triggers you then this is not the book for you. It is also very much a M/M fantasy novel, and so if this is something you won't enjoy then you should give this one a miss; but now onto me getting to talk about how great this book is!
I blasted through this book in one day, it's writing is uncomplicated and fast paced so I just couldn't stop reading! The story is very character driven and so lacks some of the grand world building you'd expect of a fantasy novel, but it makes up for it with wonderfully deep characters and their emotions.
The characters are honestly the best part of the Captive Prince; Damen and Laurent's relationship grows from vicious hatred, into a reluctant partnership which comes with understanding and respect. This does take awhile to happen though, and Laurent is not exactly the most likeable character at the start of the novel; he's abusive, heartless, and tries to brutally break Damen on multiple occasions, but he grows into a character that you can understand and even like by the end of the novel. The fact that Pacat manages to transform Laurent into a character that I could sympathise with, is a testament to the authors skill and understanding of human emotion.
This book is definitely not going to be for everyone, but it's character driven storytelling caught me and I can't wait to see where this series is going!
Recommend: No. This is going to sound weird after writing such a glowing review, but this book is certainly not something I would recommend for everyone; I think it is difficult to recommend something that has the potential to be incredibly problematic. I loved it but I can completely understand why others would not!