Book Review: Prince’s Gambit

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Author: C.S. Pacat
ISBN: 978-0-14-379960-3
RRP: $19.99

I went into Captive Prince not quite sure what to expect, and I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. I was left waiting impatiently for the release of Prince’s Gambit to find out where the story would lead us and I’m not sure that was what I expected either.

Captive Prince was all about the decadence and opulence of the Veretian court, with the intrigue of court politics.

Prince’s Gambit takes us far from the Veretian court and much deeper into the political intrigues at work. I found this second book in the trilogy to be completely different. It has a different feel, a different pacing and an earth shattering ending. I was captivated and am now left wondering how I am going to hold out until the third book is released early next year.

The book opens with Prince Laurent riding out to try and avert a battle at the border. His personal pleasure slave Damen is with him, riding unchained though still sporting his slave cuffs. The company is small and it is soon apparent that it was supposed to self destruct.

The characters that we came to know in Captive Prince are all here again and we get to know them a little better, in Laurent’s case only a little bit better. These characters and the situations they find themselves in, or put themselves in as the case may be, are complex; they are multi-faceted and hard to get an accurate read on. I still have suspicions that refuse to be silenced but they certainly haven’t been answered either.

It was even easier to forget that Prince’s Gambit is a male on male erotic fantasy novel because there is very little sex and none of it is gratuituos. It is either included to demonstrate power, and who thinks he has it, or it is intensely intimate and about so much more than the sex.

Prince’s Gambit is very much about the intricacies of war, and how to avoid it, but it is just as much about the slow build of trust in a dishonest and deceptive power play for the throne.

prince's gambit

The story is told from Damen’s perspective, in a third person voice, and this gives us the contrast between Akielos and Veretian politics. Damen has trouble reconciling himself to the twisted layers of deceit inherent in every decision and every move that Laurent makes. Damen comes to know Laurent well, and we come to know him through Damen. He is a thinker and he has planned out every move before he ever makes one.

The way the story is unfolding I have some theories about what could be to come in Kings Rising though I could still be way off, with the twists embedded in the plot of this trilogy anything is possible.

Damen and Laurent have started to build a rapport and Damen finds himself offering sound advice, much to the surprise of Laurent. Poring over maps long into the night with the Captain they plan everything, to ensure that they survive long enough to make it to the border.

The storyline is intense, the growing tensions believable and the fact that Damen is both an Akelion and a slave becomes almost secondary but I think that is going to become a very important plot point as we approach the end of the trilogy. As I said, I have my theories but I don’t want to say too much yet….. who knows where Kings Rising will lead.

Pick up the Captive Prince trilogy and be swept away in the world building while you are caught up in the palace intrigues. There is more to every move in this trilogy than meets the eye, the pieces are starting to come together but I believe there are still a couple of MAJOR reveals to come.

The Captive Prince trilogy seems to be one giant chess game with the grand finale coming up quick, and if the cliffhanger Prince’s Gambit ends on is anything to go by it is going to be a big one.

This book will appeal to those who love the court dramas and royal intrigue. There is violence and the military strategies take the forefront of this book but it is still more about the bond growing between master and slave, and the respect said slave is earning from Laurent’s men. An interesting and captivating read that won’t leave you disappointed.

Prince’s Gambit is Book #42 for the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge.

Prince’s Gambit is available now through Penguin Books, Bookworld, Angus and Robertson and where good books are sold.

You can find C.S. Pacat at her Website and on Twitter.

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