This was what I posted immediately after finishing this book: “Holy crap, these books are fantastic! The writing, the characters, the story… And I’m really glad the next one is already out because that ending!” And that, I think, is a very valid summary of my thoughts. I am honestly so impressed by this series. Some of this review might be repetitive from my first review, but I don’t really care because I want to rave again!
First and foremost, these characters were so amazingly consistent and well-written. For example, all throughout the first book, Damen was interested in the politics of all the kingdoms and trying to figure out what was going on in order to figure out how his kingdom might’ve been affected, and in this book, he always knew exactly the things Laurent should do to keep control of his people, constantly listened to what all the men were saying in order to assess their situation, and sucked up his pride and helped Laurent despite his dislike and mistrust because he knew it was necessary in order to help his own people. Even his frustration at Veretian clothing was consistent (and hilarious). But my point is that Damen was clearly someone who grew up as the crown prince and was meant to be king; it showed in his character, more so than in probably any other royal character I’ve ever read about. And Laurent was intelligent and cunning, was always planning, was always so restrained and put-together, and was always smart enough to see reason rather than stubbornly refusing to listen to Damen.
The romance that started blooming between the two characters was also so well-written. The feelings were so gradual and didn’t show up until Damen started to see more of the real Laurent. It was such a slow-burn and filled with so much tension that, despite the fact that Damen started out as Laurent’s slave, I could believe it. I was ready for something to just happen already. And oh, that sex scene! *fans self* It wasn’t even that it was particularly graphic, it was the way it was so drawn out before anything even happened and the way Damen and Laurent reacted to everything and to each other. Beautiful. Not to mention how interesting it was to see Laurent let go and soften—it was a totally different side of him.
The writing was also, once again, fantastic. So eloquent. Not a ton of frilly stuff, but the descriptions/similes/metaphors that were used were perfect. It was even funny sometimes!
As for the plot, that was just as amazing as everything else. It always impresses me when authors can plan out whole kingdoms and nations and military maneuvers and wars. It was so big in scope, yet the plot itself still stuck so closely to the characters and never got bogged down in politics.
And then that ending was just, gah! I had to start the next book immediately.
So yeah, this book was even better than the first, and this whole series is so well-written with an intricate plot, eloquent writing, and amazing characters!
Fans of Book 1 in C. S. Pacat's Captive Prince Trilogy. M/M high fantasy fans who like slow burn, enemies-to-lovers, tension-filled romance, complex characters, intricate plots, and eloquent writing.