(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Published by Penguin on January 28th 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Gay, General, Romance
Damen is a warrior hero to his people, and the rightful heir to the throne of Akielos, but when his half brother seizes power, Damen is captured, stripped of his identity, and sent to serve the prince of an enemy nation as a pleasure slave.Beautiful, manipulative and deadly, his new master Prince Laurent epitomizes the worst of the court at Vere. But in the lethal political web of the Veretian court, nothing is as it seems, and when Damen finds himself caught up in a play for the throne, he must work together with Laurent to survive and save his country.For Damen, there is just one rule: never, ever reveal his true identity. Because the one man Damen needs is the one man who has more reason to hate him than anyone else . . .
So you may have seen a lot of hype on the interwebs surrounding this series … that’s actually how it landed on my radar. I admit I’m coming to the party a bit late, but sometimes that’s the best way to do it because with the arrival of the final book, I don’t need to wait to get the full story.
I feel like I’m going to be in the minority here by saying this, but I thought it was okay. And maybe this is the downfall to seeing all the hype and fanfare… It’s possible that I set my expectations higher than they typically would have been had I just randomly picked up this title on my own.
I’m not saying that I didn’t enjoy this, because I did… I thought the story was intriguing and the writing was really well done, but I have to be honest, I wasn’t blown away by either. At least not in a way that I would be shoving this book in the hands of every person I’ve met. And for sure this book isn’t for everyone due to the violence, which some may find they can’t stomach.
Where I struggled here was with the world that Pacat has created. There are a ton of characters, and I quite often found myself struggling to remember who was who and what their allegiance was and you’re basically thrown right into the story from page one which, while providing some interesting action, doesn’t provide any basis for why these things were happening, so while I found the politics interesting, it didn’t help that I was being introduced to all these characters who I didn’t understand.
I was really intrigued by the idea of this story and Damen’s situation is incredibly interesting. His predicament provided a lot of tension and his dynamic with Laurent was definitely a big part of the reason I read this so fast. Let me just say that if you are expecting any kind of romance here, turn right on around. That is definitely not something you’re going to get with this story, and while I enjoy the dynamic between Laurent and Damen, I also struggled with it, because part of me wanted some kind of connection between them. Laurent has his reasons for disliking Damen and vice versa, but what they have is about 99% hate and 1% uncertainty.
While this story is mostly Damen’s story, you also learn that Laurent has his own story to tell. I hope in the coming books we get to understand him a bit better. He seems the kind of guy who is always 2-3 steps ahead of everyone else, but his demeanor was at times frustrating. I’m hoping in the next books we get to know him and connect a bit better with him because he’s a big part of this story.
Overall, a good read and a series that I will absolutely continue. The schemes and plots and wondering who was going to make a move and for what reasons definitely has me interested in what’s going to happen next, and I’m definitely intrigued in the relationship that I hope develops between Damen and Laurent.