4 bestselling authors and I talk C.S. Pacat's 'Captive Prince' series - Vilma Iris | Lifestyle Blogger

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4 bestselling authors and I talk C.S. Pacat’s ‘Captive Prince’ series

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As most of you know, I recently fell in love with the Captive Prince trilogy written by the amazing C.S. Pacat. It’s a high fantasy adventure, both sweeping and intimate, with two princes at its center—two rivals—who battle their intensifying feelings for each other while also battling cunning enemies to reclaim their thrones. This is the ultimate enemies-to-lovers story emblazoned by vivid world building, unraveled by flawless pacing.

Once I finished the books, I couldn’t stop talking about them and thankfully I had a group of willing friends to gush with, including some other incredible authors like the ones I’m featuring today. Lo of Christina Lauren and I messaged pretty much daily as I devoured the books, pouring over scenes as we traded expletives and quotes and OMGs. Before long, we decided to bring in some more friends to talk about Laurent and Damen too, and this informal but super fun interview pretty much wrote itself. Here’s who I called…

Interview

For those who have not yet read the series, please be careful with what you read below.
Read the question and make decisions on what you are okay with knowing.

First question. VERY IMPORTANT! Damen or Laurent? Obviously BOTH (because who can truly choose between a noble, dark-haired warrior and a beautiful, enigmatic and brilliant golden prince?) But if you really really really had to choose or someone like Jord would die, who would you choose and why?

Sara: Laurent. Totally. But in like a I-just-want-to-follow-him-around-and-be-his-groupie way, because I know he’d have zero interest in me. And that’s fine. I just want to bask in his maliciousness.

Vilma: LAURENT. I love his quiet intelligence and depth. I love that he’s cunning, but so vulnerable too. So yeah… I’m so with you, Sara. We can buy matching cuffs. Is that a thing? Because it should be.

Lo: Laurent is seriously my OG. At first, I thought I would be a Damen girl forever, but there was something about Laurent that was so . . . meticulous, and brilliant (hello, Cat’s brain). The truth is that I love them as characters more together, though, and that is a real triumph by an author, when you love who they most when they are interacting with each other.

Victoria: Aghhh okay, Laurent. So much of what I love in Laurent comes through when he’s with Damen, but at the end of the day, Laurent is just such an incredible–and incredibly nuanced–character. I want to put him in a comfy chair and give him tea.

Sarah: So, I’m totally in the minority here, but… DAMEN. Agh. I literally can’t even talk about him without breaking into the goofiest/creepiest grin. Obviously, I love them both, and Laurent managed to break my heart about 2000 times, but…if I had a type, it’d 100% be Damen (aka my sweet, noble warrior-prince).

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What was it about these books that made them so special? (pre-answers: EVERYTHING)

Sara: The moment I first knew these books had utterly hooked me was right after a certain monumental twist at the end of Prince’s Gambit. It literally made me bolt upright, going “No no no NO” while my husband just kind of stared at me. For a book to take me so completely by surprise in such a perfect, well-executed way . . . suffice to say, I will follow CS Pacat into the dark.

Lo: The scene that hooked me, and made it impossible for me to put CP down was when Laurent brilliantly works Torveld at the dinner. I thought–This character is the real magic here. She is setting us up to be devastatingly devoted to him. Beyond that, I think what really slayed it for me wasn’t only the prose, but the pacing, and the motherf*cking patience Cat displayed in telling this story the exact way it needed to be told, beginning at page 1. To be that patient as an author is stunning. It’s why I’ve proposed several times. I’m waiting on her answer.

Vilma: I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s been moved enough to write her a love letter!!! o_O But yes, everything about these books is magic. The characters are so incredibly well developed, their arcs so meticulously planned. I was just in awe of how well plotted and executed the whole series was.

Victoria: I first fell in love with the world-building C.S. so expertly crafted, specifically the idea of a society in which same-sex relations were the accepted norm. It created, in my opinion, a perfect framework in which to explore the power dynamic, tension, and relationship between Damen and Laurent without the more tried taboo angle. From there, I fell in love with the writing, the characters, the story, pretty much every aspect. But I kept coming back to that framework she created, and the freedom it gave her, and her readers to explore such a complicated relationship without the constant “other”ing so often present in same-sex stories.

Sarah: Totally agree with Victoria–I knew this was going to be a special, unforgettable series as soon as I realized what a unique and vivid society/world Cat was building. But more than that, Cat’s deft writing was what really dazzled me. There’s such restraint (and patience, as Lo said) in her prose, and I was so, so wowed  by the richness Cat managed to convey in so few words. I found myself taking mental notes throughout about not just how she was able to set up a world with minimal description & fuss, but also how much character-building she was able to deftly establish in so few words. There’s so much implied backstory and motivation behind every word of dialogue and action, and there were times when I just marveled at what Cat was able to do in the span of a few lines (especially when it came to building Laurent’s past).

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What was your favorite scene? Because I know I experienced so many moments which made me want to drop the book in a state of “I CAN’T EVEN BEGIN TO PROCESS THE BRILLIANCE OF THIS SCENE.”

Sara: Chapter 19 of Prince’s Gambit. But not just because, um, SEX (though that is a large part of it . . .) — Pacat seamlessly wove Laurent’s history into that scene without ever outright mentioning it, and every word and action from Damen was exactly what Laurent needed without Damen even knowing why. It was the culmination of 1.5 books of build up, and it SO delivered.

Vilma: Goddddd Chapter 19. Of course. But I love all their intimate moments that seemed so loaded with emotion… when it’s just a look, or when they giggle together. I also love that fighting scene.

Lo: I can’t. Like, I actually canNOT pick one. I agree that Chapter 19 is breathtaking, and I’ve read it (and the bonus extra chapter 19 scene) a shameless number of times. But I might have to put forward all of PG, then, because I feel like the transition of these two characters as they trained Laurent’s men and traveled together, and how they got to know and trust each other was outright stunning. If pressed to choose, think I might have to call out (and because they’re all blended into one story for me, I can’t recall if this was in CP or PG) the moment when Laurent tells Damen that Jokaste chose his brother because Kastor was the weaker man, not stronger, and she could control Kastor in a way she couldn’t control Damen. I felt like that was one of the first moments of vulnerability between them and I ate it up like cake.

Victoria: I mean, obviously Chapter 19. But I adore the scene where Laurent’s drink has been poisoned and he’s fighting for control, and then, Damen and Laurent in the tavern where Laurent is playing the part of pet, eating from Damen’s fingers. I just…*swoon*

Sarah: Obviously, Chapter 19 (and the delightful, lovely bonus scene). But I seriously lost my freaking mind when the Patran troops arrive on the battlefield in Chapter 15 of Prince’s Gambit, and Laurent’s plans unfold with such epic brilliance. It was this unforgettable moment of going from utter despair/terror into something SO badass and triumphant (it actually reminded me of one of my favorite moments in Return of the King, when Rohan finally arrives to save Gondor). And the image of everyone turning to gape at the Patran army except for Laurent, who then makes one of the most epic speeches/FUs to Lord Touars… Ugh. I had full body chills, then had to reread the scene like 20 times before I could move on.

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Let’s take a break and just recall this part…

“I miss you, too,” he said. “I’m jealous of Isander.”

“Isander’s a slave.”

“I was a slave.”

The moment ached. Laurent met his gaze, his eyes too clear.

“You were never a slave, Damianos. You were born to rule, as I was.”

Lo: Literally me

Mountain View

Sarah: I will never be over this moment. NEVER.

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What do you think made two seemingly opposites like Laurent and Damen so perfect for each other?

Sara: The fact that they ARE opposites! It was such an amazing parallel — to have Damen taking care of Laurent in Prince’s Gambit, giving him what he needed (keeping the guards away from him, making sure he had space, etc) and then showing Laurent doing exactly the same thing for Damen in Kings Rising. They both have this delicious ability to anticipate the other’s needs, which probably comes from a place of being so opposite — they’ve spent an ample amount of time studying each other for just that reason, so they “get” it.

Lo: Agree with Sara. Damen is skill and brute strength, Laurent is a brilliant mastermind. But, at the same time, Damen is incredibly observant and aware of Laurent’s vulnerabilities, and Laurent has worked his ass off to be ready to face Damianos when the time came, so they meet each other as equals, and grow together as complementary parts of a whole. I think what works for them, as a romantic read (and yes, this series is so far beyond just the relationship) is when they give in to it, they give in. Damen is there–at least outwardly–before Laurent is, but when Laurent gives in, he’s done for. And it’s so, so beautiful to watch.

Victoria: Ah the tension of opposites. Brute strength versus inner strength. Brashness versus cunning. Outward passion versus carefully restrained desire. As Lo says, it’s just perfect to watch them break through each other’s walls, and find common ground. Or, really, for Damen to lure Laurent to his.

Sarah: I think all of you pretty much covered it. I think Damen’s nobility & honesty (in regard to most things, at least!) is also what makes Laurent unable to keep away. Laurent has grown up in a pit of vipers, not daring to trust anyone–Damen’s honesty, his simple goodness was like a ray of sunshine. On the other hand, Damen’s downfall was ultimately brought about because too trusting of those around them–to the point of blindness. So, the way they balance each other out in that regard, the way learn from each other’s own particular style of operating and seeing the world, was one of the loveliest things about their relationship. I also adored that even after all Kastor did to him, even after all Laurent revealed to Damen about court scheming, he still gives his half-brother another chance. That unbreakable goodness and trust is 100% what made me fall in love with Damen (and part of why Laurent eventually can’t resist, either).

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If Damen realized he had fallen for Laurent in the rooftop chase, when do YOU think that Laurent realized he was in love with Damen? (C.S. Pacat won’t give up the scene, but she does have one in mind!)

Sara: That was SO MEAN of her not to give that away!! Oh god. I can’t even begin to pretend to understand Laurent’s mind, but I don’t think there was one moment where Laurent can point to and say “There.” It was probably just a culmination of a lot of little moments, all those things adding up until one day Laurent looked at Damen and went “Oh shit.”

Lo: I think with Laurent it was a slow build, where his initial fury and disgust were replaced by surprise, and curiosity, and then respect. I think the respect surprised Laurent the most–and I think that happened toward the end of CP, when Damen saved Laurent, and then didn’t take advantage of him afterward. But I think what was begrudging admiration and attraction to Damen turned into love for Laurent in Chapter 14 of PG, when Damen tells him that even if Damen had been a pet, and Laurent had gifted him out of his contract, he would still be here to see the border dispute through to the end. And Laurent questions why, not understanding, saying he knows how much Damen doesn’t like this, how much he hates feeling powerless, and how much he wanted to punch someone the day before. And then Damen reaches up and touches Laurent’s face, saying, “The man who did this to you.” Laurent’s shock is plain. Damen quickly apologizes. He turns to leave and Laurent stops him, and confides him him and says Damen reminds him of his brother – and to me, that was huge. I think that was the moment that Laurent felt more than curiosity, and respect, and admiration. I think that was when he felt the confusing twist of love, honestly, though he might not have been able to name it at that moment. Ugh, someone shut me up. I can’t stop.

Victoria: I have such a hard time imagining it was one scene, just because he seems like the kind to resist and resist, being slowly worn down by his own desires until he faces them. I think every time Damen has the chance to run, and chooses to come back, it wore Laurent’s resolve to hate him.

Sarah: Oh, man. It’s so hard for me to pinpoint one moment, since (as these ladies have said), Laurent’s slowly shifting feelings were the product of so many little incidents, and Laurent fought that admission of love (and his desire) until he literally couldn’t anymore. Chapter 19 of PG was a physical and emotional culmination in so many ways, but… I’m basically dying for Cat to tell us when Laurent knew for sure! (PLEASE HAVE MERCY ON US, CAT.)

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Do you have a favorite supporting character?

Sara: Nikandros. Bro.

Vilma: And Jord! 

Lo: Jord. I loved Jord. But I have to admit, I also loved Jokaste! What a sassy bitch. She and cast-iron-bitch Laurent could be the Statler and Waldorf of the shared kingdom (#MuppetReferenceFTW)

Victoria: Jord all the way.

Sarah: Jokaste. She was a scene-stealer for me in KR. And I totally want to write Jokaste/Damen AU fanfic about that the other life/world she mentions in her letter. (I put the book down and WEPT at that part.) Her role in KR took that book to a special, special level.

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If we could magically convince C.S. Pacat to write an epilogue, what would you want to see?

Sara: Um, I’m SO hoping that short story she’s writing IS an epilogue! I would go into a full on fangirl fit if it was some kind of Daddy Damen/Papa Laurent scene. I want them to get a kid so baaaaaaaad.

Vilma: I just want to see them be badass, happy kings together… SO MUCH TOGETHERNESS! And they should totally have a kid Sara, yes, because they need heirs.

Lo: I’m sorry, I am a pig and I need to see Laurent on top. It was hinted at in KR, when they talked about it, and let me be clear: I AM HERE FOR IT.

Victoria: CONCUR WITH LO. Um, also with Sara. And Vilma. Basically just give me more.

Sarah: ALL OF THE ABOVE. Especially seeing them as parents. MY HEAAART.

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For the poor souls that have yet to read these amazing books, describe the series in three words.

Sara: Three words?? THREE? — I thought about just leaving that as my answer, ha, but that feels like cheating, so: “Slow burn yumminess.”

Vilma: Brilliant. Epic. Tension.

Lo: Perfectly paced brilliance.

Victoria: Dynamic. Rich. Stunning.

Sarah: Lush. Brutal. Unparalleled.

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Thank you Sara, Lo, Victoria and Sarah for having
some fun with me and agreeing to this interview!

Reading Order

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9 Comments:


  1. skyline1210 said:

    An awesome interview 😀 I’m a huge fan of Captive Prince trilogy myself <3

    Reply

    1. VBB Post author said:

      Thank you so much! Yes, it’s so fantastic! Hope more people pick it up!

      Reply

      1. skyline1210 said:

        Yeah it’s a shame a series like this one is not known and read by everyone. Like… EVERYone. After Cut & Run series this one blew my mind again.

        Reply

  2. Yvette B. said:

    Great interview!!! I love this trilogy soooo much! I always get super excited when other people discover this awesomeness ☺️. Definitely one of my favorite series.

    Reply

  3. Yvette B. said:

    I’m soooo with Victoria on the favorite scene questions. The tavern scene!!!! That whole scene was amazing. Laurent playing the pet, them sharing a room and opening up, them escaping and running across roofs, Laurent loving the chance and laughing!!!??? I was in love lol.

    Reply

  4. Laura Lovejoy Brunk said:

    I am alllmoosst done with book 3 and im sooo in love with this series ! I want more…it cant end !!!

    Reply

  5. Shelly C. said:

    I am so in love with this book chat!! The authors conveyed my exact feelings about the series. I am nearly done with book 2 & am chomping at the bits to get to book 3!!! I have told all my book friends this series is a MUST!!! Thank you, Vilma & authors for discussing this book & spreading the word. ❤️

    Reply

  6. Helen Scheuerer said:

    What an amazing idea to have all four of these incredibly talented women speak about Pascat’s equally amazing trilogy. Loved this post so, so much (fantastic, insightful questions too).

    I thought the Captive Prince series was phenomenal. As the authors above touched on, her use of tension, in every sense of the word, was flawless. The books were filled with so many raw and heart-wrenching moments.

    Can’t wait to see what C.S. Pascat does next.

    Thanks again for such a great post!

    – Helen S.

    Reply

  7. Hana said:

    Aaaah, I have to agree with everyone that it never felt like just “one scene” when Laurent fell for Damen. Now, I’m sure there was a turning point and when I reread the whole series for the third time I’m going to definitely look out for that moment.

    I mean, that moment he fell in love doesn’t /have to/ be same moment he fell in romantic love. It could have been a moment when Laurent’s view and perspective of Damen just changed completely. Auguste was the one Laurent loved the most until Damen, and his only reference, so for Laurent to compare Damen’s qualities as being similar Auguste is pretty significant. Perhaps when Laurent realized that?.

    There was so many moments when Laurent just scrutinizes Damen for a lengthy amount of time in Prince Gambit– it’s so hard to say for sure! I’m so deathly curious for the scene she has in mind. I feel like something understated would suit Laurent completely.

    I just love Captive Prince so, so much, okay. Great discussion!

    //and this is a very late comment and i apologize

    Reply

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