My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I know who you are, Damianos
Satisfying end to an enjoyable trilogy.
Most of the time with finales I either find them overwhelming or underwhelming. Kings Rising fits in the middle of that, where everything that you, as a reader, want to happen happens.
We begin, literally, exactly where we are left at the end of Prince’s Gambit with Nikandros and his men in Ravenel discovering their King is alive, much to the surprise of the Veretian’s who believed Damen was a bed slave. You are then thrust immediately into the war between the rightful heirs to Akielos and Vere and their dastardly usurpers.
This is something I have definitely liked over the course of the trilogy. The fact that the books follow straight on from each other. There is no time jump so there’s no need to take time explaining what has happened in between books. It allows the narrative to have more fluidity and doesn’t stop the momentum from book to book.
Laurent’s character development is very admirable. If someone had told me after I read Captive Prince that he would become a very likeable character and have many redeeming qualities I would not have believed them. It feels as thought the real slow burn of the trilogy was Laurent developing as a character. The way C.S. Pacat gradually brings him along and slowly reveals elements of his past to the reader make you empathise with him. She creates a character that you can’t help but detest but then slowly begins to strip him back and take the armour of almost. It is an incredibly compelling and constant progression.
The trilogy as a whole feels like a constantly moving jigsaw puzzle. You read the first and assume you know all the facts. But then, you read the second and find all the pieces have moved. Finally, the third and final instalment comes in and just knocks the pieces off all together and makes something new. Pacat never reveals anything at once, she keeps you in a constant state of revelation and bewilderment.
Something I found surprising was the banter. Damen doesn’t have to pretend to be a slave anymore, he can answer back and be demanding. This caused very casual, yet amusing moments of humour and cheeky wit.
As I have said, finales do concern me somewhat but with Kings Rising you find yourself longing for the close encounters. The sweet and gentle moments yet, you still had the need to see the villains bested. Pacat gave it all. There was not as much bloody violence as I was expecting, which does mean that anticipation of deadly battles and fighting is missing slightly. This book definitely focuses more of the politics. It is very proper but that doesn’t make it any less viscous.
In all, it was satisfying. You get what you want in the end but it wasn’t what you were expecting to want at the beginning of the trilogy. It is all about the journey to get there. The rearranging jigsaw puzzle that makes this trilogy.
I definitely give the trilogy a solid 3 in rating. I may be slightly old-fashioned in the way that I prefer things to be antagonist vs protagonist. I like the villains to be present to feel them there. I didn’t get that feel with these books. I do think that is because the villainy was very in-between the lines rather than outright. You know it’s there but its subtle. I just needed more.
As I have previously said in my Prince’s Gambit review I am not madly in love with it but I do find it enjoyable. The trinity is certainly held together by the relationship and progression between Damen and Laurent. Their slow burn along with the steady release of information makes this trilogy for me.