“Is there anyone at this court who isn’t my enemy?”
“Not if I can help it,” Laurent said.”
― C.S. Pacat, Captive Prince
Prince Damianos is having a bad time. After the king dies, Damianos’s brother Kastor claims the throne and manages to get rid of Damianos. By declaring Damianos dead, Kastor is able to guarantee his ascension to the throne.
Raised in the palace, Damianos is shielded from the grim realities of the way of life he and his kingdom enable: slavery. That is why, when he is gifted as a pleasure slave to the prince of Vere, Damianos is barely able to survive without incriminating himself or getting himself beaten to death. Years prior, he fought as a soldier against Vere. Now, keeping his identity secret is the only way he will be able to survive the machinations of the Veretian court. Prince Laurent, heir to the Veretion throne, seems only to be focused on thwarting the attempts of his uncle, the regent, at keeping Laurent under his control. Damianos (now called Damen) is one of the many tools Laurent uses to siphon power and loyalty away from his uncle. Laurent is cold, but he is shrewd. He and Damen come to an unspoken agreement. All Laurent knows is that Damen was a soldier, and he uses Damen’s physical strength, leadership abilities, and tactical knowledge to his advantage.
Other than that, there is a lot of sex, slaves, sex slaves, and information about a slave’s daily routine.
I read C.S. Pacat’s YA novel “Dark Rise” and thoroughly enjoyed it, especially the ending. Her Prince trilogy is very different in terms of tone and content, and I’m liking it as well. However, like Dark Rise, this book drags in the middle before the plot jumps to hyperspeed in the last seventy-five pages. Book two looks to be more about Laurent and Damen fighting for their survival and less about the machinations of the Veretian court.
Because the ending mostly made up for the slow middle, I’m rounding this up from 2.5 stars to 3.
Content warning for non-consensual sex acts, and discussion of a rape that happened behind the scenes.