Kings Rising (Captive Prince #3) by C. S. Pacat
Publication: February 2nd, 2016
Genre: M/M Fantasy
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 mobilizing for war. Damen’s only hope of reclaiming his throne is to fight together with Laurent against their usurpers. Forced into an uneasy alliance the two princes journey deep into Akielos, where they face their most dangerous opposition yet. But even if the fragile trust they have built survives the revelation of Damen’s identity—can it stand against the Regent’s final, deadly play for the throne?
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Kings Rising is one of the best conclusions to a trilogy. I was completely enthralled by the plot and the characters. My boys are completely precious and I wish we had an epilogue book all about how they are ruling a kingdom together. The book has a few of the triggers mentioned in book one but they are minor because the plot is focused on the characters and the war. There are only two sex scenes in the book and once again the author handles it all with such craft and care.
Prince’s Gambit ended with Damen’s identity of being Damianos of Akielos the Prince Killer being revealed. It all goes to hell obviously because the Veretians are shaken up by this fact and because Nikandros (a friend of Damen’s and an Akielon general) arrives unbeknownst to everyone that it was set up by Laurent. When Damen goes to tell Laurent who he is lo’ and behold the dangerous yet beautiful prince knew who he was the whole time. Yes even when they did that! Yes and THAT too! I was completely shaken up by this plot twist because that means he knew Damen was the man who killed his brother yet still fell for him. Then, of course, the author destroys me by going back to enemies for a little. I could not believe I had to deal with this but it’s ok because war is looming over both men as they work together to down the Regent and Kastor. As the Prince of Vere and the King of Akielos work together they again grow closer and yes we finally have them together as one. It is a lot of ups and downs but our boys finally save their kingdoms with wit, strength, and brains. The only downside to the story is I don’t know what is happening beyond the story 😦 I want a short story about them as rulers together.
Damen is now the known king and everyone knows about him. As I said in the Prince’s Gambit review book three is about Damen as a King/free man. His personality is the same but now we see this different side of him because there is nothing holding him back from being who he was always meant to be. Damen is not as cunning as Laurent but he does have some tricks up his sleeve on how to get things done. He is 100% someone who wears his heart on his sleeve. I feel like we really get to see a more emotional side of him especially when it comes to Laurent. He is a firm king but also someone fair and just. He learns from past mistakes and he plans to do away with slavery when he ascends to the throne. I love seeing his romantic side and how open he is with his feelings. I also love how Yin-Yang the story is considering him. He is this big brute guy who is a beast in battle and can slay anyone but people like Laurent and Jokaste can shake him just a bit lol. Though because of Laurent he has learned to school his features and handle people like them and adopt those cutthroat ways when needed. By the way, my heart melted when they fell back into old ways and acted like a master and slave without realizing it (this was in a good way like Damen as the king almost ran to get Laurent a drink without realizing and it was so funny).
Laurent was the one who changed the most and it was beautiful. He really learned from his past and because of Damen, he realized the world is not so black and white. We learn about his past and how he became the person he did and it breaks your heart. Laurent was a happy child who adored/looked up to his older brother. (*Trigger warning: reference to sexual assault/molestation & pedophilia*) When he passed his uncle took advantage of his trust and my heart hurts so bad thinking about how his disgusting uncle could hurt him. It was something that we learned and made you go back into book one and think about his actions with his uncle. But there is hope and Laurent was able to prevail and now years later his uncle got what he deserved. But enough about him. Laurent is a changed man and while he doesn’t open up to everyone we get to see a softer side of him with Damen. It is rare but so precious. I love how Laurent has a servants heart (not like slavery he just likes to take care of someone) when it comes to love. He likes to take care of Damen when they are in those moments. We also see him grow into kinship and learn to command.
Nikandros is amazing in this book as Damen’s right-hand man. I really loved how loyal he was and how much was shaken up by what Damen went through. Some moments were so hilarious. They were like best friends and his relationship with Laurent is hilarious let me tell you.
What an explosive ending like I said. I love how the author writes honestly. I was never bored like one can be when it comes to war and political stories. But, I was constantly on edge and wondering how the war would turn in their favor. I wasn’t able to breathe until the end and even then that was a wild ending. The romance was beautiful and my heart was soaring. I love these two so much and they deserve all the happiness in the world. Everything was so meticulous and carefully crafted with each word and touch. I will keep them in my heart forever.