Finals are finally over and I am free for the summer. I didn’t have time to read for pleasure this past quarter due to my Gothic Lit class. It was a very fun and enjoyable class but there wasn’t much room for pleasure reading between analyzing themes and gothic vs sentimental works.
The instant I turned in my final exam I got started on Captive Prince by C. S Pacat. I’ve heard a lot of praise for it and was eager to see what it was about. The basic premise is Damen, a warrior prince, is captured by his half-brother and sent off to be the slave to the prince of an enemy country. While here he plots his escape while navigating treacherous court life and the sadistic prince while keeping his true identity a secret. It sounds a little generic but there is plenty of political intrigue and a little romance.
I wanted to enjoy it since everyone raved about it but I had difficulties getting into it. My main issue was the portrayal of race. Specifically, the darker-skinned protagonist lusting after pale blonde people. Then there is the fact that he becomes the personal slave to the palest, blondest person in the book. If you didn’t guess by now this did not sit well with me. It didn’t help that his preference was brought up constantly. I read fantasy to see what could be, not for existing harmful values and ideologies to be impressed upon a place that would, theoretically, not have a concept about it. This book reminded me about all the issues I have with the fantasy genre. There also needs to be less “darker-skinned nation viewed as barbaric or backwards by paler nations” but that’s for another time.
Despite that the book was entertaining and a quick read. The plot was sound, characters varied. The world building was adequate enough, although the lack of explicit detail on things like clothing made it harder to imagine what the author had in mind. Calling an outfit simply “silks” doesn’t tell me much about an outfit other than the material its made of. In all, an okay read. 3/5