The Captive Prince
Paperback, 268 pages, Expected publication: April 7th 2015 by Viking: Penguin, first published February 4th 2012
Akielos and Vere are two warring countries who have come to an uneasy truce. Akielos’s legitimate heir to the throne Damianos is betrayed after the current Kings death and he is sold into slavery to his enemy Prince Laurent. His name is changed from Damianos to Daman and he is sent off to Vere to become a male pleasure slave.
When I started reading this novel I was completely unaware that it had come into being as a series of chapters gradually released online. So I come to the story with fresh eyes and reading it complete.
The novel starts off quickly with Prince Damianos in the first three chapters stripped of power and position and sold into slavery. To be honest it was a bit too quick and could have done with a bit more world building. Pacat has created an interesting world but you do not get an opportunity to appreciate the full depth of it all. Perhaps that will come in the following novels.
Then there is what type of novel is this? It starts off in the style of an epic fantasy novel, and then you think it is an erotic style novel and then you begin to wonder if it is a homosexual love novel. In the first handful of chapters it seems the author is trying to determine which way to go. Now I am not wedded to the whole this book has to fit into this genre thing but I just felt the novel was suffering an identity crisis. It can be all those things if the author chooses but I just felt Pacat was not quite settled in direction.
The story really does centre on the relationship between Daman and Laurent and how they battle wits and try to out manoeuvre each other for power. The ambiguity of what they feel or how they may need each other is a positive as it really does add to the mystery. That was well developed in the story and I liked that the characters were not sure of their own motives either.
Then there are the power plays in the Kingdom of Vere and to a lesser degree what is happening in Akielos. I could see what was trying to be achieved with the political intrigue and I hope that is developed a lot more.
The one thing that I have seen raised in other reviews was criticism about the use of a child in slavery and as a sexual object. I thought the author had conveyed her intention very well and even though it is disturbing to read well handled.
I enjoyed the read, I enjoyed the characters and Pacat has created a very interesting world with lots of layers. Should be interesting to see where this series goes.