Green but for a Season
It was a little bit of a shock to jump back into the story at this point after having read Kings Rising. I also had to struggle a little bit to remember exactly where within Prince’s Gambit this story takes place. We get to see young Laurent in this story as well, as Jord’s perspective takes us back to when Auguste was Crown Prince and the years after his death when Jord is recruited to Laurent’s Prince’s Guard. Laurent at fifteen isn’t the same as Laurent at twenty, but you can see the development of his skills in politics and survival within the court.
There was a lot less of Jord and Aimeric than I’d expected, which I’m ok with because it left more time for Laurent. It’s a decent story, but there needed to be more for it to really bring extra to the table of the already sumptuous feast that is Prince’s Gambit.
The Summer Palace
First off, far too short. I know it’s a short story, but I’m coming off a book hangover after Kings Rising and definitely needed more than thirty pages. That being said, it was pretty adorable. I really enjoyed seeing how Laurent could be without the constant, nagging fear of his uncle. The Regent and Kastor are dead, and though politics haven’t really been established fully or settled, it brings a level of peace. There is no looking over shoulders for enemies, no machinations to worry about, just the joy of being with each other. While I definitely think there’s a lot more that needs to be delved into, Summer Palace is a story about healing. Damen and Laurent address some of the longstanding issues between them; acknowledge, accept, heal, love.
The story was simple and sweet in a way that we haven’t had in this trilogy simply due to the circumstances involved. I am hoping that Laurent’s abuse is addressed in the future short stories because so far it’s basically him having internal struggles with it and Damen saying nothing about it, but this story has them a lot more comfortable with one another so perhaps it’ll be a topic in the next.
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