Captive Prince Trilogy #3
M/M Fantasy Romance
Source: Finished copy from publisher for review
THE STORY (from Goodreads)
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 Regent’s final, deadly play for the throne?
The Captive Prince Trilogy is a brutal ride, taking us from a master and slave relationship in a kingdom where beatings and rape are common occurrences, to a fragile friendship where the balance of power is still heavily one-sided, and finally to a meeting of equals and the culmination of all the tension and chemistry bubbling under the surface throughout.
One of the highlights of this series and this final book in particular is Laurent, one of our princely heroes. Our time in this trilogy is spent with our other prince and hero Damen, his thoughts and feelings made known to us where Laurent's remain hidden, and Laurent never fails to use the fact that we're in the dark to his advantage. In the first two books he's calm and calculating, seemingly unruffled by anyone or anything, and remaining coolly detached for the most part even as his relationship with Damen begins to ever-so slowly change. This final book then feels like a gift to all Laurent fans, moments of levity and humor showing us a side to his character we weren't sure he had given all he's endured, and it's nothing short of immensely satisfying to watch as the emotional armor he's kept immaculately pristine all along finally finds itself with a Damen-shaped chink.
Damen for his part is as steadfast as he has been from the beginning, finally on equal footing with Laurent as his identity is revealed to both their kingdoms, but struggling still with yet another shift in their relationship now that he's reclaimed the mantle of King. His feelings for Laurent grew steadily through the previous two installments, making the first half of this third book downright painful as all the forward progress they made at the end of book two is reversed and Laurent reverts to his coolly detached state. The two of them are both men of few words, and when Laurent speaks it's often with layers of meaning assigned to every phrase, making their romance both beautifully hopeful and heart-wrenching at the same time.
Those who would pick this up thinking it falls under the category of romance should be aware that the first book is in no way a romance, more a character-driven political fantasy, and rape is prevalent both on page and off. The romance between Laurent in Damen picks up steam in book two, though politics and impending war are still what guides the plot, and and it's not truly until this last book that the romance really shines as a focal point. Though hard to read at times in the beginning, this series has my highest recommendation, and is one that will forever sit atop my list of favorites.
Series Rating: 5/5
This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review.
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.