I’m pretty sure I’ve said this before, but I really wasn’t interested in reading Captive Prince at first. I had to be coerced into giving it a shot, and I went in fully prepared to be stubborn about it. I was ready to write it off as another Anne Rice’s Sleeping Beauty type of Fantasy BDSM series, and I so was not interested.
Boy oh boy, did I have to eat crow when I finished the first book. This series is so far removed from ‘a random fantasy BDSM’ series, it’s almost embarrassing that I made such an assumption. Yes, Damen is a prince who has been sold as a pleasure slave. Yes, he is paraded around the castle nude. That’s pretty much where the similarities end. There is one sexual interaction in the entire book, and the rest of the story is about world building and court intrigue. It’s showing you how Vere feels about Akielos. It’s explaining why Laurent hates Damianos so much. It’s setting up for what happens in Prince’s Gambit and Kings Rising.
I never expected to find another love story to rival Outlander in my heart, but Laurent and Damen come damn close. This is a trilogy that I happily reread every year. It’s a series that, when away from the characters for too long, I begin to miss – almost like I’m homesick.
When Him started going around on Goodreads, I remember feeling immediately annoyed. I’d recently read The Understatement of the Year by Sarina Bowen, and I couldn’t help feeling like the synopsis was regurgitated. Both Him and UotY are both about hockey players who were best friends as kids, but an encounter of a certain type ended that friendship and they haven’t spoken in years. Then, they’re suddenly forced (through hockey) to interact with each other again. Sure, the synopsis details are slightly different. The names are different, but the main plot is almost identical. It may have bothered me less if it was a new author, but it was another Sarina Bowen. Still, despite my reservations I decided to read it because everyone was saying how amazing it was.
And now it’s my favorite contemporary romance!
There are similarities. Yes, the surface premise is the same. However, the differences are in more than just the details. There’s something about Wes and Jamie that’s more than a romance. Reading their story I actually feel like they are best friends first. Wes can’t live without Jamie in his life, and hell yeah he wants it romantically, but if he couldn’t have that he would have been perfectly happy to just be best friends. His need for Jamie’s companionship was stronger than his need for Jamie sexually, and I really think that’s why this duology means so much to me. It’s a hot read, but it’s also heartwarming. You can feel their admiration for each other first, their connection, and everything else is secondary.
They are the perfect best friends to lovers story.