Hey all, Dani here.
So, because it is GLBT book month, I would like to highlight just a few books I’ve found and enjoyed that feature characters who just happen to be gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. As readers I think it is important to read diverse books, and if you read a wide enough variety of books, I feel that you see that we are all just human and want to have good and happy lives.
The rest of it: religion, sexual identity and preference, race, etc isn’t as important. I mean, it is important to how a person or a character acts or lives, but in the grand scheme of things I prefer to look past all the categorization and focus on the personality. If the characters of a story are interesting, most of the time I’ll form a connection to them and then it doesn’t matter if they just happen to be gay because I just want them to be happy in the end.
Today I’m talking about a wonderful trilogy that I discovered this year (Thank you Booktube) and I loved the world, but I especially loved the characters. The dynamic between the two main guys was so fascinating to me. Of course, I’m talking about the Captive Prince trilogy by C.S. Pacat.
I read the whole trilogy April 17-19 because they were just so interesting. I was completely drawn into the world and especially the lives of the characters. This was also a slavefic, where the relationship begins between a slave/servant and the master.
Here’s the summary for the first book, Captive Prince:
“This was Vere, voluptuous and decadent, country of honeyed poison”
Damen is a warrior hero to his people, and the truthful 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…
The character dynamics within the trilogy evolve so well and there are so many facets to the relationship that I literally could not stop reading. Damen has to hide the truth of his identity so he can survive, and Laurent keeps a lot of information secret, especially his feelings, acting as if he is cruel and decadent.
The relationship between Damen and Laurent really blossoms in the second book and the hinting and teasing was just so delightfully agonizing. In many ways it is also devastating, because the whole time there is a part of you that knows that Laurent will discover who Damen truly is eventually and how could a relationship possibly work between two men who are supposed to completely hate each other? And the second book left off with a cliffhanger that made me so frustrated about the fact that I was at work and the third book was sitting at home. I honestly can’t imagine what it would have been like if I had discovered the series as it was still being written.
In the third book Damen’s identity has been revealed and it seems like war between the two countries is inevitable. And yet, as much as I wanted to know how the fight for the thrones would go, I was so invested in the relationship of Damen and Laurent that more than anything I hoped that everything would work out between the two of them.
What is beautiful about books with captivating characters is that the rest of the details don’t matter. I don’t care what skin color they have, or if they are wealthy or poor, or if they are male, female, transgender, bisexual, whatever. I just want strong characters and relationships to root for.
This trilogy certainly delivers that. And I am honestly hoping that at some point C.S. Pacat writes at least a short story or a novella set a couple years after the conclusion of the trilogy, just so we can check in with the whole cast of characters. I only spoke of Damen and Laurent in this post, but the secondary characters and all the minor characters were well defined as well, and I’d be okay with more stories set in this world.
Seriously, guys, these books definitely rank up there in my favorite books list, and I recommend them at the very least for the political intrigue and complex character development. If you happen to like the romance aspect too, then awesome. If not, then hopefully the richly defined characters are enough for you.