Captive Prince – C.S. Pacat

Captive Prince – C.S. Pacat

Title: Captive Prince
Author: C.S. Pacat
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: 7th April 2015
Pages: 284
Rating: 5/5 stars

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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 decadent court at Vere. But in the lethal web of Veretian politics, nothing is as it seems, and when Damen is caught up in a dangerous play for the throne, he is forced to form an alliance with Laurent to survive and save his country.

For Damen, there is just one rule: he must never reveal his true identity. Because the one man Damen needs is the one man who has more reason to hate him more than anyone else.

It took me a while to pick up this book – I was interested but not interested enough. DO NOT MAKE THE SAME MISTAKE I DID! This book is awesome, completely addictive and deserves to be read IMMEDIATELY! I have already included it in two of my Top Ten Tuesdays this year – Favourite Books of 2015 So Far and Celebrating Diverse Characters, and it is high time I actually review it!

Damen is one of those ultimate warrior boy characters and I can’t get enough! He is in a very precarious position. As a slave, his new master, Prince Laurent, is evil, manipulative and has a ridiculous amount of power. Damen describes him as:

A nest of scorpions inside the body of one person.

Not only is Damen a slave in the court of his enemy, he is also the person responsible for the death of the original heir, Laurent’s brother. He has to go to great pains to keep his identity a secret. However, despite the humiliation Damen is subjected to at Laurent’s orders, the two begin to form a certain understanding. It is amazing how Pacat humanises Laurent and enables the reader to understand why he is the way he is and even like him.

Occasionally, in the books I read, I find portrayals of anything other than heteronormative sexuality a bit forced. But Pacat is absolutely amazing in her depiction of all these characters. Damen himself has fluid sexuality – for him it doesn’t matter what gender he is attracted to, though he does have certain preferences of appearance. The customs of the court of Vere, in terms of their sexual practices, are unusual. Many members of the court keep ‘pets’, sex slaves of the same gender. The fact that Damen is being introduced to these customs at the same time as us makes it easier to stomach and begin to understand.

This book obviously won’t be for everyone – there are instances of beating and humiliation, though this is not like Fifty Shades of Grey, being related more to the idea of slavery and possession, rather than subservience (though I suppose that is an ideal trait in a slave….). There are also references to children being used as ‘pets’ – I found it hard to reconcile my horror at this with my love of this book. However, Pacat has managed to create a world where sexual expression (of any kind) just isn’t that big of an issue.

The story is ridiculously difficult to review because it sounds really strange! I wasn’t sure about a lot of these aspects going into the novel, but enjoyed it so much that it has become one of my favourite reads so far this year! This book is one of those which reminds you to keep an open mind when it comes to the books you read!

Have you ever been unsure about a book but ended up loving it completely?

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