BOOK REVIEW: Prince’s Gambit (Captive Prince #2)
by C.S. Pacat
Publication date: 24 June 2015
Publisher: Viking: Penguin
Goodreads: With their countries on the brink of war, Damen and his new master Prince Laurent must exchange the intrigues of the palace for the sweeping might of the battlefield as they travel to the border to avert a lethal plot. Forced to hide his identity, Damen finds himself increasingly drawn to the dangerous, charismatic Laurent. But as the fledgling trust between the two men deepens, the truth of secrets from both their pasts is poised to deal them the crowning death blow…
After finishing Captive Prince I wasn’t sure if this would be a series that I would REALLY love. I liked it but only just. Prince’s Gambit tipped it over the edge for me and cemented the fact that this is possibly a new series favourite.
Going into this book I was expecting it to be similar to the first: two enemies getting to know each other and figuring out the dynamics of their relationship, whatever it may be, mixed in with some political intrigue. Prince’s Gambit brings more political intrigue, unexpected twists and turns and finally complex and layered characters.
Unlike the first book, I loved Pacat’s writing in Prince’s Gambit. The writing flowed beautifully. While Captive Prince was set in the palace, this time the story is set outside in the surrounding lands as Laurent, Damen and the group of soldiers travel to the border. The world building is rich but not overwhelming. Despite all the twists, the story is easy to follow and this all comes down to Pacat’s writing.
Despite being away from the Court, Laurent is still caught in an intense game of chess with his uncle, the Regent. Pacat keeps the reader on their toes, never quite being confident in what will happen. We see spies, traitors, attacks. There are surprises arising left, right and centre. But through it all, Laurent’s mind is at work, constantly planning their next move and the next five moves after that.
I loved seeing Damen and Laurent re-evaluate their opinions of each other as their relationship developed, growing to respect each other the more time they spent together. The master/slave relationship slowly becomes a tentative friendship. Damen becomes an advisor to Laurent as they learn to respect each other. By the end of the book their relationship has grown into much more than something platonic or one between a master and his slave. Their relationship, no matter how fragile and uncertain, is sure to tug on your heartstrings.
The ending of Prince’s Gambit is intense and creates a desperation to read the next book IMMEDIATELY. Pacat sets us up for a finale that is sure to be a banger.