Book Review: Prince’s Gambit (Captive Prince Trilogy Book 2) by C. S. Pacat

Laurent is heading out to the border, but Damen has convinced Laurent to let him go with him because Damen knows the only way to protect his own people is to help Laurent beat the Regent. Damen is close to having his freedom back, but he also finds himself drawn to Laurent as he spends more time with him. But neither his freedom nor his feelings will matter if they can't outwit, out-manuever, and out-battle the manipulative Regent.

Book Review: Prince's Gambit (Captive Prince Trilogy Book 2) by C. S. Pacat | reading, books, book reviews, fantasy, high fantasy, lgbt
Title: Prince's Gambit
Book Number: Book 2 of 3
Pages: 343
My Rating: 4.5 Stars
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon, Publisher


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!


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  1. Greg

    The slow burn enemies-to-lovers is always fun, and yay for intricate plots. I’ve seen this series on a few other blogs and they always seem to be positive- sounds like a really fun, well- written series. Glad it didn’t disappoint! It can be tricky to be character- focused but still get the big stuff right- the world building, politics, etc.

    I like the covers on these too. they’re kind of muted but they still appeal, maybe for their simplicity.

    1. Kristen Burns

      It’s a popular series, but for good reason! I was surprised at how she managed to make the enemies-to-lovers work since it was also slave-to-lovers lol.

      I actually hate the covers. I never would’ve given these a second glance if I hadn’t heard so much good stuff about the series.

      1. Greg

        Do you? Ha ha I don’t think they’re too bad, but they are kinda simple. Don’t really scream fantasy. I kinda like the blue (or is it purple) of this one? I can see too where slave-to-lover would have to be even more of a slow burn, maybe. To be entirely realistic.

        1. Kristen Burns

          Yeah, they def don’t scream fantasy to me. I think it’s blue. It definitely has to be a slow burn for slave to lover to work and not seem like Stockholm Syndromes, so I was surprised that this author managed it!

  2. Barb (boxermommyreads)

    I can tell from your review how much you loved this one. Glad you have the next one lined up. I see you’re reading The Devil’s Revolver. I recently added that to my wishlist so I’m excited to hear your thoughts!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I really did love it! I actually read the series like a year ago though lol. It just takes me forever to get reviews posted sometimes. I’m liking the Devil’s Revolver so far!

  3. Sarah J.

    I’ve been meaning to get to this series. I’ve heard such wonderful things about it. Glad to hear that you are enjoying them so much!

  4. Daniela Ark

    This series came to my mind when I was writing today’s post about LGBTQIA books! I read book I because of your good review but it was a DNF [shocker huh lol]. BUT i do have it on my “to try again” shelf because your review was so good. Glad to see the series continue t be good!

  5. Karen

    I love this series. I started the first one fully expecting to hate it because of the circumstances between Laurent and Damen. I think that even tops enemy to lovers. There’s cruelty involved and so many taboo subjects. Yet, the author does an amazing job of exploring that cruelty and not just excusing characters of it. I thought it was really well done and I ended up binge reading the series in 3 days. lol

    Karen @ For What It’s Worth

    1. Kristen Burns

      Same! I thought it would be some terrible BDSM Stockholm Syndrome thing. Idk. But I heard so many great things that I read it anyway, and it seriously surprised me. Their relationship was actually believable! I also binged the series in a few days lol.

  6. L

    Rave away! It’s one of the best things about book blogging–writing reviews for the books you love! Eloquent and funny? Yes, please! I agree with Greg, too. “Slow burn enemies-to-lovers is always fun.” It’s so true! As long as nothing too awful happens when they’re enemies. I hate it when characters do atrocious things to each other one chapter and then have passionate, bed-breaking sex the next. I’m all for angry sex, but not when someone killed your little sister or something. There have to be boundaries!

    Do You Dog-ear?

    1. Kristen Burns

      Well, ah… maybe this one isn’t for you then, hahaha. One of them actually did kill the other one’s brother, ironically enough lol. And that’s not even the worst of it, since that happened during war and is therefore kind of understandable. But that’s why this series was so surprising—I didn’t think it could ever turn into a relationship I could support, but it did because it went so slow, and they didn’t develop feelings until they started seeing the good sides of each other and whatnot.

  7. Jordan

    I just read this one at the beginning of the year and loved it as well! It was even better than the first book, so I can’t wait to read the third. I loved every part of this book. Great review! šŸ™‚

  8. verushka

    I LOVE it when a book just leaves you so impressed it’s all you can do to stop yourself from shouting it from the rooftops! Your delight is infectious!!

  9. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    I loved this series. It was just such addictive reading. I went from the one book to the next, I even paid for the ridiculously priced Kindle copies. I can’t totally remember everything that happened but I know this was the book where the romance was going on. The build up was great and although I wasn’t always happy with the power imbalance in this relationship I did enjoy this book.

    1. Kristen Burns

      It really was! I was lucky enough to have an awesome librarian who bought the ebooks when I requested. Honestly I don’t remember them much either since I read them like a year ago lol. But I remember they were great!

  10. Olivia Roach

    I think the softer side to characters is usually what makes me fall in love with them. Those moments are where I really feel like characters become 3D and realistic. This series is high on my TBR as well so I am so glad to see that the sequel is pretty much just as amazing as the first book. Your review totally shows how much you love the books and that makes me so happy šŸ˜€

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yes, it’s so interesting seeing super hard, stoic, etc. characters show a softer side. I think you’d like this series! Can’t wait to your thoughts, and aww thanks!

  11. Lola

    I remember you really enjoyed the first book, so i am glad to hear this book was just as good. And it’s great sometimes to start a series and know the next book is out already. That sounds great how well written and consistent the characters are. I like it when things keep consistent throughout a series and you can see some aspects of their character back in each book.

    I love a well written slow burn romance. With how Damen started out as Laurent’s slave it also makes sense the romance goes slowly. I always love the first scene when something really happens in a slow burn romance, it’s just so satisfying after you had to wait so long.

    I like how you mention that while the war is big in scope the plot stays very close to the characters. I hope book 3 was/is just as good!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks! I love binge-reading series, especially when the books have epic or cliffhanger endings.

      I didn’t think slave to romance would ever work, but she wrote is so well and slowly that it really did! And YES, that first scene where things happen in slow burn is the best!