Captive Prince and Prince’s Gambit Book Review

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Note: I read both Captive Prince and its sequel, Prince’s Gambit, in barely 24 hours, so I’m going to save myself the trouble of splitting them back into two parts in my head and just review them together.


Captive Prince is a male-male romance trilogy that was originally published on LiveJournal. It was later self-published by the author on Amazon but recently purchased by Penguin, which plans to re-release the first two books in trade paperback and will release the third in paperback and as an ebook. (The release date for book three has not been announced as of the time this review was published.)

A lot of people whose taste I trust have recommended this series to me but I’ve been avoiding it under the misapprehension that it involved a lot of BDSM, non-con, and other things that are not my cup of tea. I know a lot of people who love Kushiel’s Legacy, too, but I couldn’t stomach it and gave up less than halfway into the first book.

Despite some outward similarities (Vere, like Terre d’Ange, is clearly modeled after pre-Revolutionary France), Captive Prince was much more enjoyable for me, as it had all the scheming courtiers and much less of the kinky sex. (For others, of course, this will be a drawback.) The story follows Prince Damianos (aka Damen) of Akielos after he is sold into slavery following a coup by his half-brother and sent as a gift to Laurent, the prince of the nearby kingdom of Vere.

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In the first book, I particularly enjoyed the sense of being thrown, like Damen, head-first into an unfamiliar world and having to unravel the complicated relationships and history of the place clue by clue. (Unlike Damen, I have the advantage of not getting flogged for getting something wrong.) 

Things really picked up in the second book, on multiple fronts. Damen, who spends most of the first book in over his head at court, gets to come into his own. The UST, which was sporadic in the first book, takes on a life of its own, to the point that it’s practically a separate character. The plot thickens in spectacular fashion. (The wait for book #3 is going to kill me.) In a book where female characters are few and far between, I also appreciated the introduction of the rather badass Halvik.

All in all, a very pleasant surprise.

My rating: (4 / 5)


  1. […] I didn’t think the UST was as delicious as it was in my favorite m/m romances to date – The Captive Prince and Think of England – but I liked Whyborne and Griffin as a couple quite a lot and the sex […]