Publish date- 2015.
(A Brief) Synopsis:
The twisting tale of a prince sent to the lands of his enemy to be a pleasure slave and his efforts to get back to his homeland and the throne that is rightfully his.
What I thought:
I was pulled immediately into this story, the world clear and massively intriguing only finding the cast of characters a little wide and difficult to follow at first- there are many and their roles specific- and always, through every uncomfortable scene and horrific action that followed, the story held me by its simple yet expressive flow and its ways of showing me Damen, his thoughts, wishes, fears, and how being thrown into a new world, seeing all that he treasured and loved torn away from him, affected him.
But... it wasn't enough, because every time someone was raped I would falter. I would hope it wouldn't happen again. I would hope the almost demonic prince Laurent would stand up, fight against the horrors that happened all around his court. I hoped that he and Damen (since I knew they had an eventual romance) would fight for justice together! and then fall into each other’s arms, maybe, or at least something like that. I didn't expect... what actually happened. And I didn't expect it to hit me so hard.
I didn’t anticipate Laurent, who I expected so much from, would instigate Damen's second rape. I didn't think he would stand by, cooly, and istruct another to do that awful thing. And no matter how gorgeous a couple the two princes may make later on, this single scene has stuck with me and it infuriates me, sickens me, and shakes up everything I had hoped this book would give me. And I don't believe I'll ever be able to pair these two up for romance. I can't imagine Damen will be out for anything but vengeance.
The rest of the book, really, despite having an intriguing premise, being written very well, and giving the promise of so much, to consist more of torture, explicitly crude humor, and rape, rather than plot, character and relationship building. And whilst Damen may be a shining example of self righteousness, and the book may show same sex couples in a light that was truly wonderful and made me proud, and I may have read it in two days and felt I was carried along swiftly (for my reading at the time, for slumps do abound), but I was also horrified, distressed, and uncomfortable. The fact no one in this world seems to blink an eye at rape, apart from Damen who comes from another kingdom, was... a little bit terrifying.
Rating: Whatever comes between Poor and Oh Noooo.
This wasn't a particularly positive experience, and it's all the worse because I had been so looking forward to it. I'm not planning on stepping into this world again, although Chiara may yet convince me.