Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Review: Kings Rising

KINGS RISING
Captive Prince Trilogy #3
C.S. Pacat
M/M Fantasy Romance
368 pages
Berkley
Available Now
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?


MY THOUGHTS
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

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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.

27 comments:

  1. Wow 5/5. This must be added to the list. Always worth the wait to read your beautiful eloquence :)

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    1. SO GOOD!!!! I can't recommend this series highly enough:)

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  2. The author takes the reader on a fascinating journey of deception and eventual trust by her intriguing plot and excellent development of characters. An exceptional trilogy that deserves this rating. Thanks Jenny, for the awesome review!

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  3. Yes, I agree completely with your assessment of this, Jenny! It really is for Laurent fans and I loooved this installment especially. Everything wraps up so perfectly but the journey is hard-won and often full of heartache. Gorgeous review, dear--I can't wait to see what this author comes up with next!

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    1. Laurent made me so happy in this one Keertana! The whole scene with the cloth merchant and calling Damen Lamen just made me happy. It was fun to see a lighter side of him:)

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  4. 5/5 Jenny! Cannot wait to get to this trilogy next month and gush with you all about it. :)
    I absolutely love the sound of both these characters. I'll keep in mind what you said about it being hard to read in the beginning, but knowing how it ends is going to help get through that.
    Lovely review, Jenny!

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    1. NICK WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT THIS SERIES AS YOU READ!!!!!!!

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  5. I like that the romance takes some time to build and doesn't really shine until the third book. I don't remember hearing about this series, I need to go look up the first book!

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    1. This was originally self published and then got picked up by Berkley after she released the second volume. Everything was re-released and we had to wait a little longer for the third book, but it was so worth it:)

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  6. Wow, this sounds very dark and well done. You have me curious about the world.

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    1. I loved everything about this series Kim!

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  7. Hmm... The five star rating catches my eye, but I can't do dark right now. I am really struggling with the rain it is wearing me out here, and I need the light and fluffy. The rape bothers me as well.

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    1. I completely understand Heidi! You have to be in the right mood for the first book, but everything is so well done:)

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  8. While I love how everything wraps up nicely in this book, I don't think I'm emotionally ready to pick up the first two books in this series. The rape and torture bothers me too much.

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    1. The first book is hard at times for sure Rummanah, but read knowing they end up happy and together:)

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  9. This sounds fascinating Jenny! So glad you loved it and thanks for putting this on my radar!

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    1. I couldn't have loved it more Ali, highly, highly recommend!

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  10. This sounds so dark, but so intriguing! I don't think I've ever seen an m/m fantasy series. Great review, Jenny!

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  11. I have been seeing this series more and more as of late on my Twitter feed & my GR and now that I see it has such a high rating from you... I feel like I need to give it a try for sure! Also, thank you for the warnings about rape.

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    1. You're welcome Pili, rape is sometimes a deal breaker for me, so I like to know ahead of so I can prepare. While it's hard to read in the first book, Damen is so strong and handles whatever is thrown at him with grace.

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  12. I need to read this series, Jenny! I love the slow progression of their relationship and how parallels with the world slowly being freed. A little wary about the rape scenes though.

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    1. READ IT JOY!!!

      While the rape scenes are hard, they're not brutally detailed at least, and Damen is such an outstanding character:)

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  13. YAAAASSSS!!! I wasn't sure about this series at first (I mean. Those covers. So not attractive at all.) but, OMG, they're like book crack. The boys are AMAZING.

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