So I dropped this book after reading the kindle preview in my browser, even though I'd bought it. Then Lena's review came by, and I was all like "yes, exactly that".
And then somebody else said, "give it a chance".
So I did.
And you know what? My earlier issues still stand - the slavery, the beatings...NOT FOR ME.
But as I've mentioned elsewhere on this site, I have mild OCD; not finishing a book feels like an itch I can't scratch...so I kept on reading.
Verdict: Captive Prince grows past its almost fanfiction-like beginnings. The writing becomes smooth, a white chocolate mocha from Second Cup (gods I miss Canada sometimes), and it flows past.
The writing is excellent. The characterization - written from a ESFJ Damianos's POV, looking at the INTJ Laurant, the enigma - rings true. I usually write from the opposite perspective, INTJ looking out, so it's fascinating to see the other side of the coin. It will not satisfy many NT or some NF type readers - the intuitive understanding of the world is baffled when it has to live inside a sensate mind.
The sexual overtones and undertones were perhaps too much for a mainstream Fantasy reader, and too little for an Erotica reader. Nevertheless, the nonsexual tension between the characters was taut, a harp-string that could be plucked at will to make serious music.
In terms of a wider theme...I get the feeling the plot, the world, the characters' moral compass - the author was figuring this out as they went (an artifact of the chapter-by-chapter posting?), and the book doesn't really *know* what it is. Descriptions are excellent - pictures made in mind's eye, well done, author.
In the end, if this had been something I picked up on a bookshelf somewhere, I'd end up giving it 3.5 stars, rounded down to 3 here. But the extra star comes from the fact that there is so much crap in this genre that Captive Prince shows up like the Riders of Rohan, pennants fluttering in a cleansing breeze...
I moved on to Book 2.