The book I read this week is the much talked-about Captive Prince by C.S. Pacat. It resembles Game of Thrones quite a bit, with fights for power and dark settings, following Prince Damen who is captured by his half-brother, stripped of his identity and right to the throne, and sent to serve the prince of an enemy nation as a pleasure slave.
I've never had this kind of mixed feelings for a book before! There were parts that I loved and there were parts that I absolutely hated. So I’m very conflicted and trying to sort out if I overall liked the story, despite all disturbing aspects of the story, or if it’s in the end is a big No for me.
I really loved Prince Damen, Erasmus and some of the other characters. This story is very character-driven and you really get invested in some of them. It’s a very fast-paced read and the writing is great, it really flows.
But, the story focuses too much on the sexual slavery and contains so many disturbing parts, that at times it was almost unbearable. All the raping, torture and abuse really put me off and made me so uncomfortable reading this book. I can never find rape and pedophilia sexy. Never.
Yet, despite the fact that this book made me so troubled, it still was so well written and addictive, with complex characters that I could not give up on it. There is something about the characters that pulls you in and makes you eagerly wanting to know what will happen to them, especially Damen. You also want to find out what the deal with Laurent really is, C.S. Pacat did a great job keeping you intrigued and in suspense about his inner feelings, about his “true” self.
If I should rate this book based on the characters with their depths and complexity, the page-turner writing style, the fantasy setting and the way you get pulled into the story, I would give it 4 stars. But if I should base my rating on how it made me feel and the fact that it contains so many disturbing parts and the fact that the whole story is about sexual slavery, it would only be a 2 star rating for me. I have therefore decided to go the middle way here and give this book a 3 star rating. It’s not a bad book, it’s just not my cup of tea. I even think I will read the next installments, to find out what happens to the characters and get to know Laurent more, but just not right away.
Find out more about the book and the author here: C.S. Pacat