Prince's Gambit by C.S. Pacat
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I feel the most appropriate and eloquent way to express my feelings about this book is: AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHASHDFIASDIUFASIFHASILUHFLDUIASDSDJDSFKJDAESSJGXDOFXKOFDJVSDKLG
This book is so amazing it can't actually be contained in real words.
I adored "Captive Prince" - but "Prince's Gambit" blew it out of the water. The intricacy of the plot, the brilliant detail of the politics, the beauty of the romance. Everything worked. You know, when the romance is amazing but the government makes no sense, or the politics are beautifully detailed but the romance feels hollow and rushed? This book beat this age-old problem. Nothing was lost to make way for some other aspect; the book was perfectly balanced.
Alright, let me be 100% honest - I would give this book 5 stars for chapter 19/19.5 alone. I know, I'm terrible. But I waited SO LONG FOR THOSE SCENES. SO. LONG. The relationship between Damen and Laurent felt so honest and beautiful - this was not just a physical attraction, but a true emotional connection as well. Everything about them made sense - even when it was maddening and I just wanted them to kiss already, I knew that was not true to their characters. Pacat gave me what I did not think I wanted, and I loved the story all the more for it.
Romantic aspects aside, the strategy and politics of this series are extremely well-constructed and intricately detailed. Every time a new part of Laurent's plans were revealed, I was taken aback by how brilliant his thinking was, and how silly I was to have missed it. The plot never felt contrived, overly detailed, or rushed. I loved every minute of it. Oh, and the King Regent, with his disgusting rape of young boys, is the perfect villain - a slimy git and absolutely abhorrent, but also smart and cunning enough for me to believe he could actually outsmart intelligent opponents.
Overall, this was a stunning follow up novel with great character development and political detail. I recommend this to anyone. Ever. (As long as you aren't too squeamish).
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