All The Books I Can Read

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Review: Kings Rising by C.S. Pacat

on February 8, 2016

image001Kings Rising (Captive Prince #3)
C.S. Pacat
Penguin Books AUS
2016, 384p
Copy courtesy of the publisher

Blurb {from the publisher/}:

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?

Where do I even begin?

And I mean that in the best possible way. In a this was so good I don’t even know where to start kind of way. The characters? Well it’s what we’ve been waiting for. Damianos is finally allowed to be Damianos. He’s been using his upbringing and military experience in helping Laurent in tactics but this is the first real time he gets to lead in the way that he would as a Prince, an heir, a King. For so long he’s had to dampen down his whole personality – not always successfully either, struggling to fit into a role that he was never designed for. He’d been raised to be a King, not a slave. And Damen is clever, he’s a strong leader, he’s a possessed fighter. He never gives up, even when the odds look ridiculously stacked against him. He doesn’t quite have Laurent’s darkly twisted mind but he has battle experience and know-how.

I read this book almost on tenterhooks, aware of all the reveals that were going to come. When Laurent found out who his slave really was….how was he going to react? The man he’d sworn for years that he would kill. And it was awesome, full of unexpected twists and emotional tugging at my heartstrings as the two of the negotiated their new roles. Damen doesn’t need to do what he’s told anymore and Laurent has to negotiate not being in charge, having an equal beside him.

I’m very mindful of spoilers when writing a review like this – so much to discuss but very difficult to do so without revealing some of the key plot points in the novel. I think that C.S. Pacat has a brilliant mind – it’s very rare to find a book that excels not only in complicated strategy and mindtrickery but also in amazing emotional connection. I’m not a big m/m reader – I don’t avoid it but it’s not something I read a lot of. I just don’t come across many. However this trilogy had me so invested in these two characters and their troubled….relationship. There are so many complications underpinning it – Laurent and his past, his feelings over his brother and also, what is finally revealed in this novel, his battle of wits with his uncle, the Regent hoping to outmaneuver him long enough to stay alive to inherit his throne. Likewise Damen also has his own goal, to return him to Akielos and take his true place as the King after his brother usurped him. So much stands in their way, so much they have done to each other both knowingly and unknowingly. Despite all of that, they have managed to somehow forge something amazing and both of them make the other better. Laurent needs someone with a sense of compassion, someone who recognises when he needs to ‘take a moment and calm down’ before he does something rash, someone who has been raised with strength and self-belief. And Damen, despite the fact that he’s a King, still displays at times, almost too much compassion. He’s complacent, he sees the best in people. It’s how he never saw Kastor and Jokaste betraying him. And even after that, he still gets blindsided several times by more trickery and betrayal. Lucky for Damen, Laurent sees stuff like this coming and he’s able to act in order to both protect and help Damen as well as himself in their uneasy alliance. I haven’t always liked Laurent throughout the trilogy, even in this volume. Perhaps that’s because the narration is Damen’s and he’s so masterfully betrayed at the beginning of the novel, you cannot help but kind of side with him. But the way in which Laurent plays out in this book, I cannot help but admire him and so many things suddenly become so clear. I’m so glad I made the choice to re-read books 1&2 just before this one was released, it’s not something I usually have the time to do but it was so worth it to be able to read them all together and have every little detail fresh in my mind.

I honestly think this was the perfect ending to an amazing trilogy. I loved the first two books and when that happens, you’re so hopeful and fearful for the last. And this gave me everything I wanted, everything I needed and I closed the book feeling so satisfied. And well, lots of other things too, because of the feels, but mostly satisfied. All of the groundwork laid came to wonderful fruition and I can’t find one “I wish this happened” to say about it at all.


Book #18 of 2016


Kings Rising is the 11th book read for the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2016




2 responses to “Review: Kings Rising by C.S. Pacat

  1. […] King’s Rising by C.S. Pacat. I already mentioned my interview with the author was to coincide with this release. This series was not something I probably would’ve picked up on my own. But the publicist convinced me to read it with a great pitch and I am so grateful because I adored these books. […]

  2. […] Prince series and was reviewed by Elizabeth Fitzgerald, Ellen Gregory, Coffee2words/Lynxie, Bree @ 1girl2manybooks, and Michelle-Beauty and Lace. Lynxie had this to say about […]

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