According to the Introduction: "Maria Alberto [...] considers the heretofore unusual but increasingly common course of publication of that bestselling series, from LiveJournal posts to more formal self-publishing, eventually to prestige traditional publishing. Alberto in particular examines the ways the story grew from the highly interactive seeds of fanfiction and its own 'slash' genre - and how the sometimes conflicting expectations of romance and 'slash' readers jostle" (11).
My project here is not to conflate, or even to compare, romance as a genre with slash as a maybe-genre, given both the longstanding critical conversation surrounding this comparison as well as the ways in which attempting such assessments can inadvertently reify the stigmas surrounding women's authorship and reading practices more generally, let alone fanfiction and romance specifically [...]. However, the Captive Prince series also offers a great deal to consider on the other side of this phenomenon: that in which both reading communities and "slash writers themselves actively debate and theorize their practices" (Willis 298). In this essay, then, I will explore how the Captive Prince series draws from the modes, conventions, and networks of original slash - itself already a contentious term - and examine how this has impacted both the series' own production and readers' impressions of it. (217-218)
original slash stories such as Captive Prince drew from a selection of character types, relationship dynamics, and story arcs, not repurposing them so much as operating under the expectation that readers would recognize them as a part of a "slash-aware" (Fanlore) tradition. And, as I explore next, Pacat's Captive Prince series does this while also reaching romance-focused reading communities who could enjoy the erotica, characters, or other aspects of the books without necessarily recognizing or engaging with the various underlying traditions of original slash. (221)
one of the largest and longest-running controversies surrounding the Captive Prince series is its treatment of slavery. Sexual slavery is the main premise of the first book, which leans heavily into Damen's experiences not only as a slave, but also specifically a pleasure slave, of the man who is at once his enemy and his "master." Throughout the first book of the series Laurent instigates, or at least permits, nonconsensual sexual encounters between Damen and other men [...]. Moreover, Damen is often described as having darker skin than Laurent, and many readers were quick to point out how this evokes discomfiting associations with the transatlantic slave trade in addition to the first book's already polemical focus on sexual slavery. (223)