After finishing the second book in the Captive Prince series, I scoot right along to dive into this one, rather than taking a break such as I had between the first and second books. And I definitely think that that was a good decision on my part, as I could basically just keep the action going and not forget any plot-points, characters, or intricacies, as there are many within these last two books.
I must say that I ended up liking this trilogy a lot more overall than I initially thought I would after reading the first novel. I still wouldn’t say it is my favourite, as there are some things about the world in general that make me a touch uncomfortable. That is to say, being that these books are largely centered around the position of sex slaves, that can be a tricky subject to approach to begin with. Albeit, I think illustrating how uncomfortable and gross the world of slavery is (sexual slavery specifically) was the intent of the whole thing, and the author definitely tried to address this in a way that would show it in a negative manner, but at some points it was just a little hard for me to get around.
The plot and intrigue involved in it, however, was incredibly interesting and twisty, and sometimes I even had a hard time wrapping my head around it, but that made it all the more enjoyable, trying to work everything out and keep up with the clever characters. The political stuff in these books was definitely the high-point for me, which is unusual given that I knew going in that there was a romance involved, and that is usually what I like. But more on that later…
So here we are going to give a little *spoilers warning* for the remaining discussion of plot, etc. So turn back now if you don’t want to know! (Though I will try to be as mild with my spoilers as possible?):
Kings Rising begins where the previous book in the trilogy, Prince’s Gambit, left off. Prince Damen’s identity as the former prince/king of Akielos has been revealed, as a coalition is being made between troops from both Akielos and Vere, to go against the Regent of Vere and usurper king of Akielos. Prince Laurent, to whom Damen was acting as the bed slave of, is in the midst of a vicious plot and game of tricks with with uncle, the Regent, and Damen being sent to him as a sex slave is now known to be another piece of the overall puzzle that the Regent has set out to take over the prince’s position and rule Vere. Yet, as it turns out, Laurent was aware of Damen’s identity the whole time: he knew that this was the prince who had killed his brother years ago, and so the relationship between the two and every interaction that took place over the course of the past two novels suddenly takes on all kinds of new meaning. There were so many layers we were not aware of until now, and honestly just the revelation that Laurent knew who Damen was as their relationship developed as it did was a turning point for me.
Actually, the real turning point for me in looking at their relationship—which had previously been a serious sticking-point for me—was a moment where the two just go at it and let everything out and straight up fight. Because up until now, everything had been so cloaked, hidden, and controlled, much like everything about Laurent’s personality. And sometimes you just have to let things rip in order to move forward or get to a new place in a relationship; sometimes you just have to beat the shit out of each other (#CivilWar???) I mean honestly, everything in these books is so veiled and presented under layers of disguise and insinuation, that sometimes I got uneasy with how tense and inscrutable everything was, but once these two guys just had their super intense fight and let their emotions out, I suddenly felt like I could get more on board with it. I may not be 100% sold on their relationship, but I was getting there near the end of this final book in the series.
So overall, I have definitely come around quite a bit on the Captive Prince trilogy. I don’t know that I would read it again (at least not right away), as it is not my favourite and there was some pretty uncomfortable stuff throughout. I’m not saying I need everything to be good and easy all the time, that’s not it at all. I actually don’t know how to explain it at this moment… But in general I found that the plot was engaging, particularly once removed from the court of Vere to focus moreso on the political aspects of ruling and the twisted game between Laurent and the Regent, all while Damen is thrown into the mix. I don’t know that I’ve really read anything like it before, so it was definitely interesting in that regard.
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