Book Review: The Summer Palace by C.S. Pacat

Guys, we need to talk about this book–this epilogue to the freaking fantastic Captive Prince series. It was so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so good. Everything I had been hoping and waiting for. I got up at 5:50am this morning so I could read this beauty that I had pre-ordered. Boy was I NOT disappointed.

Pacat’s writing is gorgeous. Honestly, it’s truly a work of art. I could practically taste the summer palace atmosphere on my tongue when reading her prose. And Damen. Laurent. OMGOISDLKJFSOIEWRRRRR.

Let me back up. If you haven’t read The Captive Prince, The Prince’s Gambit, or Kings Rising, stop every single thing you’re doing right now and go read those books. You won’t be sorry. The series is one of my top favorites of all time and I’m willing to bet it will be one of yours. What follows will include spoilers, so you’ve been warned.

This epilogue picks up (most likely) several months after the end of Kings Rising. Damen’s stomach wound has healed, Laurent has done an admirable job shoring up their kingdoms and their cultures are beginning to mix. Damen arrives at the Summer Palace to find Laurent waiting for him–Laurent having been waiting breathlessly and watching the road for Damen’s arrival.

What follows is a beautiful dance of memory and touch and gossamer feelings. Fluff. Lots and lots of precious, adorable, much-needed fluff after the rip-your-heart-out ride that was the main series. Everything in this short story felt needful and necessary. Each word, each remembered incident, each moment. Some of my favorite quotes were:

“Are you courting me?” said Damen. He felt foolish with happiness. He knew courtship was new to Laurent, didn’t know why it felt so new to himself. “I haven’t done this before,” said Laurent.


Having made the decision to let Damen in, Laurent had not gone back on it. When the walls went back up, it was with Damen inside them.


It was so close to his own thoughts– that everything he knew was gone, but that this was here in its place, this one bright thing.

TEARS. I mean, come on. How can you read those and not stumble over yourself to get to this book???

It was such a sweet, glorious ending to such an incredible series. It showed so much tenderness and care between Damen and Laurent that I was left speechless. These two have been through so much together and it was a joy to see them able to heal and relax together after such a hard journey.

I am very much looking forward to the next short story to come our way and to more of C.S. Pacat’s work in general.

In case you’re interested, my review of The Captive Prince series.


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