Midnight's Reviews > Kings Rising

Kings Rising by C.S. Pacat
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did not like it
bookshelves: 2016

After reading this final installment, I didn't feel like writing a review because I realized I had very little nice to say about it. The writing itself is great, as far as style goes and there was not a moment where I felt bored. It sure kept me at the edge of my seat, however, not in a good way. Most of the book, I've found myself frustrated, hastily reading to reach a point where my hopes would be fulfilled and I could go, "Yes! Finally justice!" Alas, that moment never came. I have to say, this book disappointed me on several levels, the characters, the action (some scenes), the anti-climatic ending…I've broken up my review into sections, but I will only cover the big moments, there's a lot of minor moments and things I omit, because then this would be a novel. If you loved the book, don't read further. I am aware that I'm in the minority and most people seem to love the book, but this is just my opinion and I'm not here to argue with anyone, so if you disagree, good for you but whatever.

The Regent
There's a lot to say about the Regent but for me, one of the major things that I've hated throughout the series and hoped would be shattered in this book is his Mary-Sue-esque quality. It's as though nobody can outsmart him, he is always two-five steps ahead of everyone, can predict nearly everything, keep everyone so afraid of him that nobody ever dares question him. He simply seems unstoppable and almighty, because no matter what L&D do, they can't even catch up to him, nevermind keeping the pace. They never once are on equal footing with him. I find that unbelievable. It worked, to an extent, in the first two books, but in this book I expected them to finally outmaneuver him. He doesn't seem to have any weaknesses, doesn't make any true mistakes that would cost him and have dire consequences. The Council doesn't once (except in the end) question him, they believe his every word or pretend to. He was never the King, so he never should've had even half the power he attained and the fact that not even these supposedly smart council members seemed to realize it or have the guts to question it or attempt to hear Laurent's side instead of blindly believing the Regent. There was no real opposition, no attempts on his life, no rebellion or anything. There was only ever Laurent, having to fight for what is rightfully his and go it alone. Nobody truly supported, no one seemed to notice the abuse, and the rest of what the Regent did, and nobody seemed to care. The Regent is elevated to some all powerful mastermind, and even the "mistakes" (never true ones) he makes seem calculated in by him. In the end, it was some minor character's bringing him down in an almost casual "just passing through" way. Laurent and Damen, even united, never once were a real threat to him and had zero chance to defeat him.

The whole situation with Govart is hard to believe as well. Who is Govart? Some random soldier, a nobody, what's his word worth? Nothing. Some letter written by another random and now dead soldier also means zilch. So what stopped the Regent from simply killing Govart? Nothing. Yet for some mysterious reason he not only let him live, but also gave into his demands to an extent.

It's like Laurent becomes a whole new character in this book. He suddenly stops being smart and going with his head, and runs with his emotions and heart instead, especially at Kingsmeet. He is ready to beg and die for a guy that he's hated for years, for a guy that killed his brother and destroyed his life. And he doesn't even care about it anymore. He easily jokes around with Damen about his possible interactions with Auguste, the hatred for Damen disappears lightning fast (in this book), hell, he even easily shrugs off years of abuse and eagerly dives into bed with Damen, with no flashbacks, or flinches caused by sudden memories, no triggers or anything. It's like parts of his memory had been been wiped and he is a whole new person with no awful baggage to surface at random moments. It's like, "Oh, you'd get on with my brother like a house on fire, I'm sure. I mean, if you hadn't killed him of course. But anyhow, he'd have liked you." Ummkay. In this book, he's no longer that smart, he's not careful, he takes stupid risks (like pretending to be Charls) and makes dumb, unnecessary sacrifices, not giving a damn about all the people he managed to rally behind him. He loses sight of priorities and jeopardizes everything he's worked so hard for, for what…love? Doubtful. It just doesn't make any sense.

Then there are the moments when his characters slides into Mary-Sue territory as well, like escaping from the cell and killing Govart, the Okton and him winning with zero explanation on how he can even do it all considering it's a foreign game he's mostly likely never tried before.

I expected Damen's character to develop and grow in this book, become stronger, not physically, but mentally. If he is supposed to rule, be the king, he needs to be less naive and be able to make tough decisions. He didn't show it here and in the baby-scene it's absolutely obvious that he is unable to do so, unable to go down to that cell and face Jokaste and tell her something like, "You know what, I don't care about some baby, there'll be others, but I need to fight for my people and kingdom here and now. Execute her." Instead he sends Laurent and then follows and listens in, like some coward. I felt like his character didn't really grow, he didn't mature or learn much from previous mistakes as evident when he offers to spare Kastor's life. In that moment, it's clear that Damen did not learn a damn thing and didn't change. He remains the ever naive fool. He doesn't even seem to clue in to the fact that Laurent's been abused, that or he doesn't care.

Then, there is the surrender. I don't buy it for a second. Damen is consistently portrayed as a fighter, a fighter that never gives up no matter the odds. He doesn't simply surrender especially when he knows it'll likely be his death and he has little chance of saving Laurent. I mean, he had to be absolutely brainless to think he had a shot in hell with his little speech about being proud to be Laurent's lover (like that means something?). I would've expected him to get into the palace through secret passages and make a diversion, like maybe setting it on fire to create chaos and have a chance of getting Laurent out of there or alt. finally killing the Regent. But nope, he surrenders. Probably gonna surrender when he's king and there's an enemy army standing at his gates, too. I mean why not. Seems like a solid plan. For all the time the author spent building up his character as a physically strong one, a warrior, etc. it didn't matter or play any real role in the end. He stood there like a lamb facing slaughter and he couldn't even dispose of Kastor on his own.

In this book, Jokaste was basically transformed into Laurent 2.0 with no clear reason. It made zero sense for her to be his female copy. I tried to find a possible explanation, but there was none and thus, the transformation seemed unnecessary and highly annoying. It made Damen seem shallow, and as though he only picked Laurent because he "fit the mold" not because he actually liked him for the person he is. Jokaste's character was also completely destroyed, suddenly she became a sorts of psychic hero sacrificing herself for Damen's life. She apparently could predict everything…and then that begs the question, if she could and was as smart as we are led to believe, why couldn't she attempt to change things up by having Kastor killed off somewhere or something. No, let's take the most complicated and all around horrible path! What. Again, makes no sense. And they let her escape, along with her half-royal bastard. Wonderful.

The baby-situation
First of all, this is such a tired, old cliche and I was disappointed to see it here. There's no need for soap-opera ploys in book like this. Knowing how treacherous and conniving Jokaste is, the fact that Damen would suddenly believe that the baby was his and that he would care that much about some baby he's never seen is unbelievable. In the other books iirc it was mentioned how he probably has a ton of children running around somewhere, and he clearly didn't care about them, so why would he care about this one. It wasn't believable at all that both of them would care so much for some random baby that might not even be Damen's that they'd basically throw away everything they'd worked so hard for and alter their plans to save it. The fates of two kingdoms/nations against that of one baby...well, the choice is obvious here.

Truly one of the worst scenes in the book was the one at Kingsmeet. First of all, there is no actual reason (that'd make sense) for them to even go there. But they still risk everything to go there, meet the Regent, be utterly humiliated by him and let Laurent be captured in some mad sacrifice for Damen. It's out of character for both of them, for Laurent as a strategist he had to keep check of priorities, and he didn't. He acted like a complete fool, even when drunk he was never that stupid or careless. Damen…a fighter, his abilities showcased several times and bordering on supernatural, and he fails to use the opportunity to snap the Regent in half, really? Instead he goes raving mad attacking others and let's himself be subdued, this after he almost single-handedly won the battle in the beginning of the book? And when he thought Laurent betrayed him, on top of that? Now, with the clear threat right in front of them, and Laurent there, he should've gone for the kill, but nope.

The Council
The Council seemed absolutely useless for most of the trilogy. I wonder why they had to be painted as some mindless fools who "had one job." They never seemed to question the Regent, they never seemed to even attempt to get through to Laurent, get to know him, hear his side, etc. and looking after him and helping him was their job. They were just there, for no apparent reason, than to suddenly and miraculously switch sides in the end. It made no sense for them to suddenly turn around, either. They had to have known that Laurent was abused, unless they were completely brain dead and blind, of course. No one cared. Then suddenly they hear about Aimeric and suddenly care? There had to be at least one person, smart enough and/or brave enough to oppose the Regent earlier or at least undermine his influence yet there was nobody. Their sudden shift in views seems to make no sense and there's no real explanation either. They might as well have thrown a damn coin to help them pick sides. Considering they are the ones to "save the day" I expected more believability.

The battle with Kastor
This is another scene where any semblance of realism got thrown out the window. Damen chases after Kastor, to kill him, as one would expect considering everything that went down. But no, Damen chased after him to offer to spare his life. Believability - zero. He should've just let him get away then. After everything that Kastor's done, Damen still has trouble finishing him off? I don't believe it, not for a second. Kastor is the man that 1. Damen barely even knows, 2. Killed his father, 3. Betrayed Damen, 4. Usurped the throne and 5. Conspired with the Regent. He attacks Damen with intention to kill, and yet Damen still can't retaliate. At this point, I wondered if Damen suffered great brain damage or something. Then, along comes Laurent, to save the day and manages to dispatch Kastor despite being tied up for hours prior and despite Kastor being stronger and more experienced. Wow. Plausibility, what's that.

The Ending
After building up the characters (L&D) in the first two books, showcasing their strength and intelligence to then go and end the book with them surviving thanks to sheer luck, well…If it weren't for a random happenstance, a chance of two minor character coming along and providing some poorly supported evidence and then, amazingly, the Council actually believing them, both Laurent and Damen would have been executed. I found it unbelievable for the two of them to make such great mistakes, after enduring hardships and working so hard to do away with the Regent. They hung by a very thin thread and only survived thanks to minor characters and a luck. To me, that is a ludicrous ending to this trilogy. It destroys them as characters and no amount of suspend disbelief can help it here. In this book, they are brought lower than low, humiliated on several occasion, going so far as to beg on their knees and they never get the chance to truly retaliate, there's never a chance for them to fight the Regent and defeat him. They never even get close to being on equal footing with him, nevermind winning. That was the biggest disappointment to me and made no sense. All this build up, all the sacrifices made, all the experience, all the hardships to result in such an anti-climatic end. A true shame.

The book could've done with an Epilogue, providing a glimpse at the aftermath and tying up some loose ends. I know there's a short story coming later, but that's different. The ending of this book seemed abrupt and uncertain, leaving too many questions. What it came down to was this, "By sheer luck, the main chars escaped execution and the bad guys were quickly killed. A true miracle! End of story." After waiting for years, I expected it to be better, I expected an epic fight, a grand finale, a true victory and justice served. Therefor, I am highly disappointed with this lukewarm, anti-climatic end, where some minor whatstheirnames characters come in to save the day, while the main characters are being utter fools with zero explanation for it.

/End of unpopular opinion. I loved the first two books, so it pains me to give this book only one star. Alas.
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Reading Progress

January 25, 2013 – Shelved
February 2, 2016 – Started Reading
February 2, 2016 – Finished Reading
February 4, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
February 16, 2016 – Shelved as: 2016

Comments Showing 1-20 of 20 (20 new)

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Midnight Evil Cat wrote: "Thank you for writing the review I wanted to but couldn't find the energy. Thank you, thank you.

The first two books led me to expect some sweeping action where Laurent (finally) outthinks his unc..."

Thanks! I agree with you, especially on the flatness of the characters, most of them felt one-dimensional and like caricatures, as with Makedon and others, they didn't have any layers to their personalities, no undertones. I felt nothing for them so that's why I didn't even bother mentioning most of them in m review. The Regent was an absolute evil which is also unrealistic, since no one is ever black&white, there should've been other sides to him shown but...Oh well.

message 2: by Mel (new) - rated it 3 stars

Mel You're not as alone as you think, Midnight! I agree with everything.

" [...] that is a ludicrous ending to this trilogy. It destroys them as characters and no amount of suspend disbelief can help it here.

This. This is the reason why I let my heart win out and not my brain when I read the last chapters. I could see all the things wrong with it, but I just wanted to like it and focus on the HEA, not wanting the characters or the series as a whole to be tainted.
I just made myself whistle past it. (Which was the hardest with the final Kastor scene).

message 3: by Mi (last edited Feb 05, 2016 03:34AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Mi Everything you said, especially about Laurent, Jokaste and the Kingsmeet.
I went from one dumbfounded moment to the next. Suddenly Laurent came to the conclusion that Jokaste was on Damen's side all along, and for some reason the Regent knew Laurent had already freed her. Sure.
According to the author during her live chat, the whole point of her creating Kingsmeet was so that the Regent could reveal to Damen about Laurent's abuse, at a place where Damen couldn't kill him. Huh.
So Loyse's evidence of Kastor and the Regent's treason didn't clear Laurent's name, well Paschal's evidence that the Regent killed Vere's King didn't prove Laurent's innocence either. But suddenly the council was siding with Laurent. Yeah right.

message 4: by Midnight (last edited Feb 05, 2016 04:19AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Midnight @Mel thanks! I wanted to love this book, but the more I looked at all the things that bothered me, the more I realized that I didn't even like it, nevermind love it. Unfortunately. There are simply too many things that don't add up for me to be able to gloss over them and still like it.

@Mi Well, I never got the impression that Damen ever realized a thing about the abuse, it didn't seem like it. If he had realized it at Kingsmeet, then it would've made even more sense for him to immediately kill the Regent then and there, and let's be real, no one could've stopped him if he'd really tried.

Loyse had no evidence, it was her word against that of her husband. Paschal's "evidence" consisted of some letters of a soldier, whom nobody knew and he was not even noble, so it has little actual value. Nicaise was only a child pet, who could be written off as being disgruntled with not getting something he wanted. There was literally no real evidence presented that could've actually swayed the Council, in any realistic way. It was miraculous that suddenly these seasoned politicians would all of a sudden be like, "Yep, he's evil. We see the light now. Sorry Laurent, our bad. We failed. Let's kill him now, then." Literally, what the hell was that. People like in that Council, wouldn't have so easily admitted to being so damn wrong, basically saying they are incompetent blind idiots, that or they knew everything and went along with treason against the late king and later, Laurent. Again. No.

message 5: by Mel (last edited Feb 05, 2016 06:45AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Mel Exactly. No hard evidence. Only a lot of he said/she said and loyalties swayed way too easily.

I normally get stuck on the problems but somehow I managed to like the ending, despite the absurdity and randomness.
But you and Jackeli08's review , made me change my rating.

Midnight @Mel I hated the ending, mostly because that ending (the two of them surrendering and nearly being executed because they didn't even bother fight) undermines the entire trilogy, not just this one book. Everything that she had build up, in terms of characters and plot lines, is shattered in the end of this book. Why then did they ever bother fighting the Regent to begin with, if they were gonna end up standing there before him completely outdone for the millionth time and facing death, without even putting up a real fight with the army they assembled. It ruins everything.

message 7: by Eva (new) - added it

Eva yes, i also wanted to see their army fight. i liked the development of fellowship and trust that pacat described in book 2.

message 8: by Mel (new) - rated it 3 stars

Mel It did feel anticlimactic because of all the work done in book 2 of the men preparing their troops. Turning an indisciplined and divided group of men into a unified army... just to ditch them halfway the story...I really would've like to see Laurent and Damen on the battlefield together.

I get that the Regent warrants more than physical force and I'm not opposed to a verbal resolution of the problem, like a trial, but not in the manner it was done here.

Laura I totally agree with your review!

Karen Great review Midnight! I completely agree with everything you said. This is a sad ending for what should have been a great trilogy.

message 11: by Heller (last edited Feb 08, 2016 02:39PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Heller Great review! I went into this one hoping for that wonderfully complex and devious brain of Laurent's would outthink and defeat his uncle. Disappointed that didn't happen.

message 12: by Afrika (new)

Afrika Huruman Finally another one star rating.The Charls thing was really dumb and risky and Lamen??!! Really?!

message 13: by Jenny (new)

Jenny I completely agree with your review. The worst part was the end when Damen was bleeding so much Laurent kept saying "that's a lot of blood" but they just sat there and talked about their future. Yes, please marry me (or whatever) even though I'm letting you bleed out here because I love you so much I want to gaze into your eyes... Of course by that point I was so sick of the whole thing I didn't care - just to be clear, if my brother did all that to me I might still love him but I would definitely kill him. Come on. The author could have made a great scene even if she didn't turn Damen into a weakling fool - why did she take the easy way out? And that's definitely what it was, the easy way. The whole plot was the easy way. She really lost her writing skill in this one.

Froosch OMG i totally agree with your review! The kingsmeet scene is the worst!! Damen turned into a foolish teenager instead of a great warrior with experiences. I had to skip the pages coz i can't take how bad the whole scene was.
What happen to my two favorite characters??!?

message 15: by Connie (new) - added it

Connie Cat Nice review. Agree completely. Utter disappointment. Blah.

Rizza Lyn agree! i've been waiting years for the third book, and i feel that all the emotional investment i put in is kind of wasted.

message 17: by Eva (new) - added it

Eva that's exactly how i felt after reading the book. book 1+2 were witty and smart. i was so excited to read book 3. but it is so dull in comparison that it ruined the series for me.

Julia *this is going to be full of spoilers, be warned*

Everything you said, I can't do nothing but agree with it. I felt frustrated when reading this book almost throughout the whole process (which took me one evening and a sleepless night). It was never boring, but it was tough to get through with it in its own way. Many times over I found myself questioning "does this even make sense? Or am I just too dump to get their behavior?"
I loved the first two books, I have to admit my expectations were through the roof for this one, too. I'm pretty unsure how to rate it now.

At least since the middle of the second book I was convinced that Damen knew about the abuse. I mean, I realized when laurent revealed in the first one that Nicaise was in fact his uncle's pet. And I felt like it probably took me too long to get it, because I had noticed the hints before that, but I just hadnt Been able to make sense of them until then.
Yet, Damen seemed pretty smart to me (In 1&2). Not the kind of manipulative-smart that the antagonists kept displaying- because he at least has honor and an upright personality, but surely not dump, being a good strategist and leader, and watching Laurent nonstop. How is it even possible that he didn't know??? Plus, in the second book, he started to be so careful with Laurent, noticing his reactions and behavior everytime. I was convinced he knew and just didn't want to mention it in front of Laurent, maybe not to hurt him. Well, I'm going to deny to myself that he needed 3books to get it.. (Having fucked him several times already)

About Laurent, I agree to everything you said. No need to repeat it. Plus, it might only be me, but I found his sudden going back to damen-aversity during the first 200 pages somewhat hard to understand. I mean, first he hated him, legit; then he got to know him, and either
1) developed honest feelings for him despite the past
- then, why would he suddenly backstap him? (Taking Delpha from damens friend, the incident with the wiping of the 10 captives,..)
Laurent has to have known that he had Damen practically in his hand after book 2. He could've just asked Damen for more help, right? Why force him like this?
Plus, it didn't make much sense for Damon to protect Laurent all the way as much as he did, just to leave him at the border, when it was obvious the fight against the uncle wasn't won. Leaving him would practically mean Lauren's death sentence, and Damen should have known this.

2) he played him, used him all the way, only to reveal his true nature when he had enough manipulative political power over Damon that he didn't need to continue his act.
- then, why did he go back to loving Damen so much as to sacrifice his LIFE for his brothers killer? What the actual fuck??

3) being hateful in the beginning of book 3 was the actual act, a last attempt to restore or guard his personal borders.
- well. Fucking Damen in 2 seemed like a thought through decision. Fucking him twice also makes it hard to believe that he regretted it afterwards. Right? So, what made him change his mind?

3) he loved him but just never could *trust* completely
- so, how could they fuck with Laurents past at hand? How could Laurent do this with *him* out of everyone? Nobody else ever, but his brothers killer. Let him close like this, to his own body. When he couldn't trust enough to speak honestly about what had happened when he was hold prisoner (which would not have hurt any of them srly) or to trust him enough to ask him to stay at his side for a little more? I mean, after giving Damen his body, how could it be possibly worse to give him the truth...I mean...ugh, I'm just confused..

I'll happily listen to anyone who explains this to me.

On with it. I would've liked if the author had emphasized Laurents childhood story with being left alone without parents and brother and left with his uncle more. I would just have made sense to use it more, Damen being the first and only to break Laurents walls. Just a few more sentences to give more insight into his mind, especially in the more intimate scenes. More descriptions of hesitancy or fear or confusion or having trouble to trust would have made it rounder for me (not saying it was bad, just would've liked a little more of that)

The outcome of the trial didn't make sense. Others have already spoke their minds about it. I simply agree. How could it be neat like that. If I were Laurent, I would execute the council right at the spot. Useless bastards. Srly, they had ONE FUCKING JOB, and they didn't fail it out of personal ambitions or anything likely, but due to their devastating incompetence. It is laughable.

The ending. I won't even complain. After the second book it would've broken my heart seeing them separated. But to be honest my love for Laurent took a huge blow from the third. I suddenly saw myself on damens side, just wishing him to get out of all this happily and unharmed. Laurents bitchy act srly hurt my feelings, althoug it might be ridiculous, but no kidding. How he treated Damen there after stating in the second book "I would not treat you like that again", I was just pissed. It was not right to play Damen like that. No matter what he did. Damen didn't deserve treatment like that after he stood with Laurent through everything WITHOUT asking anything back but his freedom (which he could have taken by himself anyday during their travel) I can understand that Laurent was left in a predicament, but to the hell with this bitchy act towards the only person who stood by you. UGH. I'm already angry again. However, what I was going to say, I was still happy about them ending up together, but the happiness got tainted by me losing some of my faith in Laurents honesty and loyalty. Damen didn't lose faith, but I did. The phase of him being a bitch just after Damen risking everything for him without a "thanks", "I'm sorry" or whatsoever took too long for me to just get over it. Oddly enough, him offering his life for Damen's seemed too shallow for that the way it happened.

Jokaste. It's a funny fact, how Laurent and jokaste basically seem to be twins (or clones), being of different nationality which, as stated, usually differ in appearance. But how come Damen lost faith in jokaste like he did, but hardly ever doubted Laurents intentions? I feel pity for her now, being distrusted for saving damens life. Then again, why didn't she tell Damen the truth when they met again? Maybe I just don't get these people, but it seems like she was lying for the hell of it.

The Kingsmeet. Dumb. Boring. Cliche. Duh.

The non existing epilogue. Was strongly needed but denied. No nice round end here. What a pity. Will she ever write a forth one?

Belen you know what? I loved this book, but I agree 90% of what you said. especially about L&D changing dramatically to the point where they don't even seem themselves. and Laurents fast recovery of, (probably) years, of child abuse.
even so I don't think it deserves 1 star maybe as a minimum it deserves 2 stars (not trying to change your opinion though) just giving my own :)
thanks for making me realize some flaws I didn't see before btw.

Valentina Garcia I like this book, but I agree with some things that you wrote, except the points about Jokaste and The battle with Kastor.
In the first point, I always feel that Jokaste is like Laurent, manipulator and calculator, since one of the conversation of Damien and Laurent, when Damien speak about his relation and her betrayal and Laurent answer something like "the strong men aren't easy to manipulate".

Also, the battle with Kastor, in this part of the book I can understand the doubt of Damien, because after all, Kastor is his big brother and it is so difficult accept that your own blood can do something like that. And I believe the autor wrote the moment of Laurent killing Kastor for do something like "Both kill the each other´s brother".
For the last, I need a epilogue too, when I finished it I stay like "this is all?"

Pds: Excuse me my misspelling, I don't manage this language very well, I still learning. Thank you very much.

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