Saturday, November 25, 2017

After Dark Date Night: Series Review of The Captive Prince Series by C.S. Pacat

I have been trying to figure out a way to share all these books I read with you but still include other non-review posts on the blog.  One method I have come up with was to share the reviews for an entire series (or pair) of books in one post.  I will do my absolute best to keep spoilers out of these posts in case you plan to read the books, but there is a slight chance that even the synopsis of a book can give away the result of the previous book. So if you don't want to know anything at all about the later books in a series that might giveaway something in the first book STOP READING NOW!

I have heard a lot about this series, some really love it and some really hate it. I was able to find it on Overdrive to read for free from my library so I thought I would give it a shot.  I just want to note that this is definitely not a series for those who wish to avoid explicit sexual scenes and brutality, this series is not for you! So here is my review of the series including the 3 novellas . . .

 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, 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…"

My Review: This series came highly recommended by fantasy book lovers I trust. I am a little unsure about it. While there are some very violent and graphic scenes, that isn't the reason I am not sure if I like the series yet. I am not really a fan of the writing, it seems almost to be an outline in paragraph form with some extra detail in sections the author had inspiration. The book doesn't flow well, it is really jerky to read with a lot of starts and stops in the plot lines. I also feel like I might already know where the story is going and the reason for some of the events in this first book. I did however really enjoy the character development of both Damen and Laurent. I will be continuing this series because I can get it through Overdrive and not spend the money on it until I am sure whether I will like the books.

My Rating: I almost felt like this book starts off really looking for the shock factor, and I was almost ready to write it off, especially when the writing didn't really hold up either but some how I really ended up becoming highly attached to the characters.   I give it a rating of Two Paws.


Synopsis: "The second novel in the critically acclaimed trilogy from global phenomenon C. S. Pacat—with an all-new chapter exclusive to the print edition.

With their countries on the brink of war, Damen and his new master, Prince Laurent, must exchange the intrigues of the palace for the sweeping might of the battlefield as they travel to the border to avert a lethal plot.

Forced to hide his identity, Damen finds himself increasingly drawn to the dangerous, charismatic Laurent. But as the fledgling trust between the two men deepens, the truth of secrets from both their pasts is poised to deal them the crowning death blow…"

My Review: After my mixed feelings about the first book in this series, I wasn't too confident going into this one, but I already had it on hold at the library so figured I might as well read it. I was very pleasantly surprised, it was almost as if this second book had a different editor or author, or maybe that this was the story that was actually meant to be told and not the first book. The characters become much more developed in this book and I loved watching them grow and new aspects of them emerge as the story continued. The best part was the constant scheming and plotting, Laurent is so devious in ways you never expect. I was really happy with where this book took us and the way the story developed. It was definitely worth pushing through the first book to get to this part of this story.

My Rating: I can't believe the drastic improvement on the first book with the writing and editing, it was like night and day.  If I thought I was attached to the characters in the first book, it was an understatement now.  I give this one a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag!


Synopsis: "Green but for a Season is the first of a series of four Captive Prince short stories. It follows the relationship between Jord and Aimeric and is set during the events of Prince’s Gambit."

My Review: We are right back to where we were with the first book in this series. This short story isn't written in a real coherent manner, it jumps around on the timeline and it really needs to be read twice to make any sense of it. I did really like Jord and would have liked to read things from his perspective but it doesn't really give enough to make it really feel like it is written from Jord's view. It all fell really flat even though the story behind Jord and Aimeric is one that while short could rival that of Laurent and Damen. If you are enjoying the series, don't take time away to read this, it may ruin your enjoyment of the rest of the series.

My Rating: This was a pretty quick novella featuring some side characters and honestly a bit of a disappointment. I think you could completely skip it and be just fine. I give it a rating of One Paw and a Stump Wag.


Synopsis: 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 Regents final, deadly play for the throne?"

My Review: At the end of the previous book things took a rather dramatic turn and I was excited to read this book. Laurent and Damen both have a lot to overcome both personally and with re-establishing their rule. Both of them have developed so much and I loved watching that continue throughout this book. I did find it a little over-reaching the way the had to enter the capital and defeat both Kastor and the Regent (who may be the ultimate bad-guy). If you focus on purely the romance though, it may be one of the most beautiful and slow burn relationships ever. I loved the way they had to overcome the many obstacles that were between them. In the end I do really enjoy the conclusion but it certainly felt like there was more of the story to be told.

My Rating: After all the build up of this whole season, I felt a little cheated with this conclusion. The action was rather abrupt and a lot of the development happened off page. Such a shame after a huge break in book 2 but it was still worth the read.  I give it a rating of Three Paws.


Synopsis: ""When all this is over, we could take horses and stay a week in the palace..."

Set after the events of the Captive Prince trilogy, The Summer Palace is a story about Damen and Laurent. It's an epilogue of sorts to the Captive Prince series."

My Review: At first I didn't realize there were some novellas for this series but I am so glad I found them. This was a great way to finish up the series really, you got to see what happens after all the struggle and battles and hatred. It is still a work in progress but it was so nice to see Laurent and Damen continue their relationship and get that bit of peace and joy to find their way to each other.

My Rating: Now this novella was totally worth picking up, it gives us a bit of closure after the third book.  I give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.


Synopsis: "The Adventures of Charls follows the dealings of a humble cloth merchant in the days before the royal Ascension.

Set after the events of Kings Rising and The Summer Palace."

My Review: You can definitely see from the beginning of this series to this final novella who Pacat's writing and editing have improved. This was a fun and quirky story to finish out the series. I loved the way Charls plays along without question and it is great to see Laurent and Damen working together to right one of the many wrongs. I gives you the impression of a hard road but a bright future and leaves you feeling satisfied with the series.

My Rating: This is a fun novella to read if you find yourself missing Laurent and his antics. A great way to revisit characters after the story and find out how they are doing.  I give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.


Full Series Rating: This series was really an odd one to read, you can see how the author really developed their writing and story development throughout the story.  Luckily there were some really great characters with a lot of depth to fall back on and keep  readers interested.  I can definitely see how it isn't everyone's cup of tea, it is a very explicit and brutal world that will make many reader cringe away. It is also a M/M romance that may not be comfortable for all readers.  With that said, the characters are fantastic and you can't help but root for them. I would have liked to see more of the story development on paper but some of it was great to see how carefully plotted some of the events were.  As a whole I give this series a rating of Three Paws.

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