Synopsis for Volume One: 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.
If I believed in feeling guilty for anything I read, this would probably have been a guilty pleasure. Fair warning, the first installment is a little rapey in places.
The characters! So compelling. I was expecting some soppy Stockholm syndrome type of story, because it really did read as fanfiction at first (which I’m a fan of), but that’s not at all what this was about. (Update: I just read that the author used to write and read a lot of fanfiction so that explains it.) The characters stuck to their personalities. There was no sudden turning point where everyone becomes a softie, which was quite refreshing.
I also enjoyed that this felt like historical fiction that had never happened. The politics were fun to try to figure out. At the same time they were a bit disturbing, which had me all the more intrigued.
The writing was excellent, I thought. The vocabulary was unnecessarily complicated in places, so good thing for ereader dictionaries. Seriously, there were at least ten words I’ve never even heard of in here. This volume kind of had a beginning and middle, but no ending. The final volume feels like the opposite. They feels incomplete without the rest of the series. This is why I feel they read more as volumes (which they are labeled as) of one larger novel rather than sequels to each other in a trilogy.
4.5 Ships- Loved it
Synopsis for Volume Two: With their countries on the brink of war, Damen and his new master, Prince Laurent, must exchange the intrigues of the palace for the sweeping might of the battlefield as they travel to the border to avert a lethal plot.
Forced to hide his identity, Damen finds himself increasingly drawn to the dangerous, charismatic Laurent. But as the fledgling trust between the two men deepens, the truth of secrets from both their pasts is poised to deal them the crowning death blow . . .
This book was a lot less rapey than the first which I liked. There was actually quite a lot less nudity and crassness overall, which I at first kind of missed but then I wasn’t totally desensitized to it when it did happen.
I got what I wanted to out of Damen’s storyline and character development. As far as romance books go, he’s actually great. I even managed to picture him as being attractive. As much as I’m not a man nor in his situation, I weirdly related to him. His thought processes and feelings just made sense to me.
Laurent felt a little lacking. I feel like he didn’t develop at all, circumstances just cropped up to reveal parts of his past that made it seem like he was developing. At the end of the day I’m not sure he was affected much by anything. I still picture him as Joffrey Baratheon so there’s that problem too. Oh well, there’s always the third book to see something change in him.
The only thing that I don’t really understand are the politics. I think I mostly followed, but then suddenly a character would come to a realization about something and would be galloping off into the night to save someone or escape something, and I’d be left in their dust wondering what the fuck was going on. And I think I’m more confused than ever about Laurent and the Regent.
Synopsis for Volume Three: Damianos of Akielos has returned. His identity now revealed, Damen must face his master Prince Laurent as Damianos of Akielos, the man Laurent has sworn to kill.
On the brink of a momentous battle, the future of both their countries hangs in the balance. In the south, Kastor’s forces are massing. In the north, the Regent’s armies are mobilising for war. Damen’s only hope of reclaiming his throne is to fight together with Laurent against their usurpers.
This is the first time I’ve finished a series for the first time since 2012. I forgot how terrible it feels to love something and run out of it. I hope this author writes another series.
This was such a satisfying ending to the trilogy. I actually liked this third installment the most! I think it could have used 10 or so extra pages just to round out the ending but that’s a minor thing. The plotting and planning was amazing, and the final outcome of everything made all of the suffering over Laurent and Damen’s relationship worth it.
(I still picture Laurent as Joffrey Baratheon but what can I do).
My reviews of sequels tend to be less review-like but once I get invested it’s hard not comment on emotions towards things more than the quality of the book, unless the writing drastically changes or the plot falls flat. In the case of this series, it stays consistent.
5 Ships- Amazing