Captive Prince: Volume One (Volume 1)

Captive Prince: Volume One (Volume 1) - S. U. Pacat 3.5 STARSHe was certain betrayal would come, he was only unsure from where.This is the story of Prince Damianos (Damen), heir to the throne of Akielos who, at the beginning of the story, has found himself being shipped away to become the Prince of Vere's slave as a gift by his bastard brother, now King Kastor. This was Vere, voluptous and decadent, country of honeyed poison.And where heterosexual sex is viewed a taboo by the nobility. Yum!And this is the review of that reader who hasn't read much M/M yet and has not read anything BDSM in a while.From the get-go, Captive Prince reads like an HBO series waiting to happen. Slaves and Masters. Murder and Betrayal. Politics and Intrigue. Public Sex and Jazz Fingers. Okay maybe not so much jazz but there's a fire-dancing scene somewhere. It also has some shades of The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty with better plot less graphic sex and no ponies. If anything there was so much less sex than I was expecting from that blurb which was both a disappointment and a pleasant surprise because I was treated to a story more substantially intriguing than I anticipated.There's an artistry in the writing itself, but sometimes I get lost in the artistic flair of it all. I fail to get a foothold in the story several times with the indulgent narrative. This is a constant problem for me in reading books that can be shelved as a historical (technically, this wasn't but it did give that feel) because I'm reading about something that happened a long time ago, I don't want to feel like it was written around that time in moldy paper. I may sound like an uneducated airhead saying that, but it takes some of the entertainment away from me when I put this down and struggle again to find that particular wavelength and rhythm.As this is the first book in the series, a great deal of space is devoted to world-building and character profiles. The courtly intrigues and the contrasting the cultures of the regions coming into play in this series were interesting and I did end up liking some characters (Laurent, Jord) better than I should the others (Erasmus, ugh). As most of the scenes are told through Damen's perspective in third person, Laurent comes across as more intriguing and engaging in the end. I always anticipate him turning up somewhere because every time he does, the dialogue is sharper but his intentions are never displayed blatantly. The psychological games he and Damen play with each other were masterful.Although I may also have been partial to him against Damen because while he was a noble hero who has his people's best interest at heart, I felt a lack of sympathy with his predicament because of the thin background of his life before Vere (which we are only teased with off-hand comments and brief mentions). I found it also far too convenient that nobody recognized him in the entire time he was in Vere's court. So I did like it, but it didn't grip me as much as I thought it would. I do have my theories on Kastor and the creepy Regent but I feel I could still delay validating them for a while.