Book Review : Kings Rising (Captive Prince #3) by C.S. Pacat
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?
A Sneak Peek Into The Story :
Standing on the base of the dais, there is one name that Damen heard being said over and over again. At first it spread in tones of shock and disbelief over the courtyard, as one by one, the men in Nikandros’ army knelt before Damen.
Damen heard his name echoed through the courtyard. And for the first time in a very long time, it was like coming home. He was so thrilled to finally be able to see his good friend – Nikandros – again that for one moment, Damen forgot where he was. He forgot about the fact that he was currently standing in Vere’s most impenetrable fort. For that one fleeting moment, Damen felt empowered and joyous from the chance to finally being able to rejoice with his people.
Until he heard the first voice raised in outcry. Violence swelled, the shock and disbelief over his name now transforming into a new word now that it has reached the Veretians mob that has gathered.
There were wild shouts now, the perimeter breaking down as the crowd swelled with the panicked urge to run. To stampede and get out of the way of the Akielon army. Or to swarm over it.
And at that moment, Damen’s first thought went to Laurent. How now that the truth was out in the open, that he – Damianos – had been hiding his identity all along. That he, Damianos, was the man who killed Laurent’s brother in that battle in Marlas. That he was Damianos, the only man that Laurent loathe more than anything in the world.
“In his mind were images that would always be linked with tonight. Stars wheeling high over the battlements. Costumes, and Enguerran’s armour. A helm with its one long red feather. Churned earth and violence and Touars, who had fought, until a single moment of recognition that had changed everything.”
He thought back to all those little moments he had with Laurent. Remembering Laurent’s striking blue eyes, his pale skin, the gold of his hair. He remembered how it felt the first time Laurent touched his hair, the way those soft lips explored his, how Laurent’s skin felt underneath his.
Things would change between them now. Damen had hoped to preserve what they had a little bit longer, to draw out more time. But now those hopes felt out of reach, as it seemed that the past had finally caught up to him.
Damen said, ‘I made him a promise.’
‘And when he learns who you are?’ said Jord. ‘When he learns that he is facing Damianos on the field?’
‘Then he and I meet each other for the first time,’ said Damen. ‘That was also a promise.’
I don’t think there are enough words in the English language to convey just how much I adore this series. I have tried expressing my love for this series like a sane person before, and needless to say, your girl failed. Big time. So I would first like to offer an apology if throughout this review, I slowly metamorphosed into a blubbering blob of fangirl. Because I can’t help it, Captive Prince series could singlehandedly turn me from a refined young lady to a trashy fangirl. Just saying.
This was my second rodeo with the Captive Prince series. I picked this series up a year ago, and dropped it after I finished book 2. Thinking back, I don’t understand why I didn’t continue on with book 3, especially seeing how much of an amazing series this is. But hey, past Wynne had her reasons, and we’re not here today to point fingers. On one hand, I am actually glad that I left this series hanging the way I did, because that was the only reason why I decided to re-read the whole series all over again.
‘Do you really think he’s forgiven you for killing his brother?’
‘No. He hates me for it.’ He said it steadily, without flinching. ‘But he hates his uncle more. He needs us. And we need him.’
‘You need him enough that you would strip me of my home, because he asked you to?’
‘Yes,’ said Damen, ‘I’m doing this for Akielos.’
Nikandros said, ‘If you’re wrong there is no Akielos.’
And I must admit, I am happy I did. Because this time around, I found that I now have a deeper appreciation to Captive Prince series. From the way the story was executed, the unpredictability of the plot, to the slow burn romance and angst – this book has it all. The Captive Prince series is literally one of the few books out there that succeeded on making goosebumps bloom all over my skin over and over again.
There is truly nothing negative that I could say about this whole series even if I wanted to. This series captivated me from the beginning, albeit the slow start in the first book. However, once the background story was set, and the ball started to roll, I was taken on one of the craziest roller coaster ride of my life.
This book played me like a violin, which in retrospect, is one of the reasons why I loved it so much. From Laurent’s crazy-for-power uncle, to Laurent himself, to Damen and all the side characters; there was never a dull moment. These characters are all so unpredictable in their motives that at one point, your girl gave up trying to guess what was going to happen next and just went with the flow.
In book 3 –– Kings Rising –– the stakes are higher than ever. With Damen’s identity now on the open, he knows that things will definitely change once Laurent found out who Damen actually is after all this time. Not to mention, all of this happened while Laurent just started lowering down his walls for Damen and showing a different, more tender side of him.
“There was a man I was supposed to meet. He’s got all these ideas about honour and fair play, and he tries to keep me from doing the wrong thing. But he’s not here right now.
Unfortunately for you.”
The speed on which everything progress was fast, a tad bit too fast for my liking, but really, a girl has got nothing to complain here. Out of everything that happened in Kings Rising, what I appreciate the most in this book was the character development. It was so obvious how much the characters have all changed compared to book 1 and book 2. The change, however, happened so subtly and gradually that it felt so natural to the progression of the story.
In Kings Rising, we get to see a different side to Laurent. A softer and more trusting side of his that could only be brought out by Damen and Damen alone. Looking back now, it never fails to make me melt into a puddle thinking about the way Laurent slowly and gradually come to put his faith in Damen and open up to him. It was so amazing seeing just how much they have changed and grown throughout the book. Going from two people who would want nothing more than to see the other dead, to two people who have eventually found love and the reason to trust again.
‘I hated you,’ said Laurent. ‘I hated you so badly I thought I’d choke on it. If my uncle hadn’t stopped me, I would have killed you. And then you saved my life, and every time I needed you, you were there, and I hated you for that, too.’
To borrow Laurent’s words, the ending to Kings Rising was “adequate“. It does not feel overly rushed, as some books do. Nor does it feel as if it was being dragged out to lengthen the book. It ended just right, giving the readers just enough to satisfy their thirst for the series, yet still leaving enough space for readers to still hunger for more of Laurent and Damen.
The Verdict :
To be honest, I could write out a dozen posts on why Laurent deserves all the love in the world and what a blessing this series was. But we all know your girl is not going to torture you like that. Altogether, this series was a pleasure to read. It was an adventure and an experience all on it’s own, to which I would highly recommend for those of you who are lovers of M/M genre who hasn’t heard of this series. Especially for readers who – like me – love a good slow burn.
And make sure to get all your ducks in a row beforehand, because once you start this series, you better be prepared to have your eyes glued to every single page and want to forget about real life and responsibilities. Because yes, this book is really that addicting.
“To gain everything and lose everything in the space of a moment.
That is the fate of all princes destined for the throne.”