5-star reads,  M/M

The Captive Prince Trilogy by C.S. Pacat

This trilogy, starting with Captive Prince followed by Prince’s Gambit and Kings Rising, are nothing but amazing. I’d like to call them classics despite them being released only a few years ago. Technically, they might not be. But just you wait a few years…

The three books tells a story of two princes – mortal enemies – and their epic journey through war and intrigue, past enmity to friendship and more.

It’s set in a fictional past and the two rival nations Vere and Akielos. It very much reminds of ancient Greece and has a distinct Mediterranean vibe throughout the books.

Damianos – Damen – is the prince of Akielos. Betrayed by his half brother and shipped as a slave to Vere to become a personal slave to the prince of Vere. A prince who’s brother he killed in battle six years past. Laurent, the Veretian prince, couldn’t hate Akielons more if he tried, and being saddled with an Akielon slave is a constant reminder of what he’s lost. But since his new slave is a gift from the new king of Akielos, Laurent can’t kill Damen outright, no matter how much he’d want to. Damen on the other hand knows that he must keep his identity secret if he wants to live. And even while he’s planning his escape, he feels an obligation and debt owed to his new master.

This story is an intricate tale of political intrigue and deceit. It’s impossible to foresee the twists in the storyline, the only predictable thing with it is that it’s completely unpredictable. It absolutely fantastic. I’m rarely this fascinated by a story but The Captive Prince Trilogy is truly a work of art. Not only is the world-building out of this world(!), but it’s clear with the amount of detail the extensive research that went into these books.

There are so many things I loved about this trilogy. It’s raw, cruel and shocking, but it’s also surprisingly sophisticated. The complicated relationship between Damen and Laurent, the conflicting emotions of them both, the reluctant understanding and acceptance of someone who’s supposed to be an adversary. What atrocious acts can be forgiven? What is needed to move past a tainted past? It’s both appalling and beautiful.

And what makes this read even more amazing are the incredible political plots unfurling as the story progresses. The Regent of Vere, only there to safeguard Laurent’s throne until he’s come of age (no worries, Laurent is an adult, only a young one), uses his power to try to discredit and depose of Laurent at the same time as he’s working behind the scenes in the Akielon court. The fickle allegiance of the Veretian and Akielon nobility. The military campaign to restore Damen as the rightful ruler of Akielos. Epic.

My one and only objection is the very abrupt ending of the story. There was no epilogue! I had to buy The Summer Palace, a short story, to find closure and get a final HEA fix of Damen and Laurent.

But either way, I simply can’t recommend these books enough. I’m super stingy with calling books five-star reads. But these books earns those stars and more. Read them!


I'm a Swedish book nerd reading mostly steamy English romance novels. And since there is so much good stuff out there, and so much shitty stuff too. I just want to give credit where it's due (and diss the rest).