I feel like in my head I liked it a lot better than in reality. The first time I read this was back when it first came out in paperback, and I honestly don’t remember if I legitimately read it or not.
Reading it now, the story was decent and moved at a steady pace. Damen is a likeable character for sure, but the rest of it? There were several aspects of the world that honestly made me more than a little uncomfortable. The “entertainment” the Veretians find in assault as well as in youths made my skin crawl. It’s not sexy in any way and – in the case of poor Erasmus – a little disturbing.
However, by the end of the book, I was still engaged enough in the plot to keep going. I haven’t read the rest of the series before, so I’ll be approaching the other two books with 100% fresh eyes. I’m hoping that the events on the border are more about the conspiracy and less about nasty Veretian tastes, and that Niciase stops being a little shit (for lack of any other word to describe that poor boy).
Author: C.S. Pacat
Published: April 7th, 2015
Synopsis: 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…