REVIEW: Prince For Sale by Caroline Gibson

David Thomen is Earth’s premier scientist, and he wants to be alone with his inventions, his money, and his PTSD. Instead, a mute, starving, alien slave is dropped in his lap. Not just any alien slave – the leader of Earth’s first alien invasion, defeated by David’s technology.

Vell was a prince, a conqueror, a warrior-mage. Now, he is bound by a magical slave-collar that forces him to debase himself for the gratification of his master. On Earth, he finally finds someone who can see the torment behind his submission. Someone who may be willing to give him his freedom, his dignity, or even just a hot meal.


Warnings: Dubcon, sex slavery, past abuse

Category: M/M

Prince For Sale is fairly cheesy, but pretty fun fuck-or-die romantic slavefic. It’s got a lot of elements of hurt/comfort, skews pretty dubcon, and is high on the melodrama. It involves an alien mage prince, an earth scientist, and explores a lot of the past trauma and abuse of the titular character. David is the main character, who managed to defeat Vell’s alien invasion, but never in his wildest dreams thought that the defunct prince would land on his doorstep enslaved by an alien collar that doesn’t let him speak or eat without “servicing” him first. If he doesn’t want to watch his fallen enemy slowly starve to death on his floor, he’s going to have to get more intimate with him than he feels comfortable.

WRITING
The plot, such that it is, is a little threadbare. The real plot is more to do with the development of the relationship between Vell and David, rather than any of the politics going on between aliens offworld and crops up here and there. David having to figure out what he needs to do to keep Vell from dying, Vell’s traumas and broken persona and how David slowly helps him to recover, all of that is more central to the narrative than anything else. Its an interpersonal drama more than anything else, and for what it is, it certainly kept me reading.

EMOTIONAL ENGAGEMENT
This book shines the most in character investment. The author is clearly very invested in these two characters and their emotional development, and that care translates very well to the reader. Since the story is as character driven as it is, it’s biggest asset is in the way that the reader connects with them. I really came to feel for both David and Vell and the situation that they were thrown into, and thought that they had a lot of chemistry together once they were able to start communicating. The moment they first are able to exchange words breaks a dam of sorts that allows for a lot of nuance in their interactions that was a joy to read.


WORLDBUILDING
There’s not a lot of worldbuilding until the story leaves Earth. The political schemes of the aliens and the trade rituals on the alien world are interesting, though I would have liked to see more of the alien worlds that Vell and his brother are more familiar with. As it stands, the alien world is really only there as an excuse to up the drama and angst between Vell and his brother and David, and the bulk of the story takes place mostly in David’s home.

STEAMINESS
The smut is very satisfying to read and probably, aside from the aforementioned emotional character connection, the biggest draw of the story. There is smut aplenty once David realizes that in order for Vell to survive the slave collar he has keep pushing their sexual encounters. It’s a dubcon extravaganza, that fuck-or-die trope wherein both parties are at the mercy of an outside force that is making them have sex, which always creates for good steamy emotional confusion and angst on both sides. It’s softer fare than other kink books I’ve read but if dubcon is more your speed than non, this could be right up your alley.

All in all this is a light reading, popcorn novel, and while it’s no grand sweeping epic, it does deliver on exactly what it promises: hot sex, interesting emotional roller coasters, and cheesy romance.

 

 

 

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